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    An introduction to the theory of music, including notation and the foundations of key, harmony and tonality.

    Music is a language, and like any other language, it has a way of being written down with correct spelling, punctuation and all those fun grammatical things that languages have. This paper introduces you to the dots and squiggles of music notation and what they mean and sound like, in a step-by-step process. Sure, you can enjoy music simply by listening to it, but if you want to perform or create music, or gain a deeper understanding, you will need to know how and why different sounds work together to create music.

    About this paper

    Paper title Introduction to Music
    Subject Music
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,173.30
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    MUSI 101
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music
    (i) MUSI191 cannot be credited to a degree if MUSI101 has already been passed. (ii) Students who are not fluent in the reading of music should enrol in MUSI191 in their first semester.
    If you are not fluent in reading music or have little or no experience of music theory (or both), you should take MUSI 191 in your first semester.

    Note: MUSI 191 cannot be credited to a degree if MUSI 101 has already been passed. However, it is quite possible to credit both papers to your degree as long as you pass MUSI 191 before you pass MUSI 101.

    Teaching staff

    Paper Co-ordinator: Dr Madeleine Parkins-Craig

    Teaching Staff:
    Dr Madeleine Parkins-Craig
    Professor Peter Adams

    Teaching Arrangements
    Three 50-minute lectures and one 50-minute tutorial per week.

    Textbooks are not required for this paper, but it might be helpful for you to have a reference book of your own. We recommend the following:

    • Eric Taylor, The AB Guide to Music Theory, Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, 1989.
    • Joseph N. Straus, Elements of Music, 3rd Edition, Sydney: Pearson, 2012.
    Course outline

    Please contact the School of Performing Arts office ( for a copy of the most recent paper profile.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Lifelong learning, Communication, Information literacy, Self-motivation.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes
    Please contact the School of Performing Arts Office for a copy of the most recent paper profile.


    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Monday 15:00-15:50 9-13, 15-22
    Tuesday 14:00-15:50 9-13, 15-22


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    Attend one stream from
    A1 Wednesday 16:00-16:50 10-13, 15-22
    A2 Thursday 11:00-11:50 10-13, 15-16, 18-22
    A3 Thursday 12:00-12:50 10-13, 15-16, 18-22
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