Theory Exams


For theory sample questions click here

All the candidates for the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music (with the exception of the musicology applicants) are required to pass the theoretical subjects and solfege examinations.

Please note:

Theoretical exams for international students applying for undergraduate studies will include a written theory test and an oral ear-proficiency test and will take place near to their main subject exams, or a week before the first day of school.

Graduate students do not need to pass a theory exam to be admitted to the school. However, they are rquired to do a placement theory test a week before the first day of school.

The examinations require reading, singing and writing in treble and bass clef.

The examinations require skilled and fluent responses

1.      Written examination in Ear Training (Solfege)

          The following should be identified and written in the treble and bass clef:

          1)      Melodic and harmonic intervals

          2)      Triads and their inversions

          3)      Seventh-chords and their inversions:

  • major-major seventh-chord

  • minor-minor seventh-chord

  • major-minor seventh-chord (dominant 7th)

  • diminished-minor seventh-chord

  • minor-major seventh chord

  • augmented-major seventh chord

  • diminished-diminished seventh-chord

          4)      Identification of time signatures

          5)      One-part dictation

          6)      Rhythmic dictation

          7)      Two-part dictation

          8)      Harmonic dictation (including triads, seventh-chords, and their inversions)


2)     Aural Examination in Ear Training

          1)      Sight-singing of a given piece with modulations

          2)      Audial memory (the ability to memorize and sing the following):

                   a)      Short rhythmic phrases

                   b)      Short melodic phrases

                   c)      Intervals

                   d)      Triads and their inversions

                   e)      Seventh-chords and their inversions

                   f)       The singing of scales and modes in solfege


3)     Written Examination in Theory

          1)      Scales – construction and identification of scales, both major and minor (harmonic, melodic and natural)

          2)      Modes – construction and identification of modes (Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, and Locrian)

          3)      Intervals – construction and identification of intervals on any given note

          4)      Triads and their inversions – construction and identification of triads and                     their inversions (major, minor, diminished, and augmented)

          5)      Seventh-chords and their inversions – construction and identification of seventh-chords and their inversions:

  • major-minor seventh-chord
  • minor-minor seventh-chord
  • major-minor seventh-chord (dominant 7th)
  • diminished-minor seventh-chord
  • minor-major seventh chord
  • augmented-major seventh chord
  • diminished-diminished seventh-chord

          6)      Transposition

          7)      Written continuation of a given melody

          8)      Command of rhythmic values

          9)      Harmonization of a given soprano and bass using all chords and triads on every degree

          10)    Writing a simple harmonic progression according to a given sequence of degrees

          11)    Analyzing a short piece according to guiding questions

          12)    Defining/explaining a selection of basic musical terminology


Basic musical terminology

In preparation for your music studies, you will be expected to have a good command of some basic musical terms constantly in use in the various courses offered by The Buchmann-Mehta School of Music. A part of the written entrance examination in music theory will test your knowledge of the terms and notions in question. In this part of the examination, you will be requested to define/describe a selection of terms from a given list. Shortly, a complete list of the material you need to know will be uploaded to this website. Please feel free to download this list and use it for your preparation.

The music terminology you will be expected to know is divided into five categories:

1. Definition of basic terms in music theory, such as: rhythm, harmony, various            scales/modes etc.

2. Common symbols and signs used in music notation, such as: various clefs, fermata, repeat sign etc.

3. A selection of performance instructions, tempo and dynamic expressions, articulations and ornaments, such as: legato, crescendo, allegro, trill etc.

4. Standard music instruments and formations: various types of orchestras and choirs and the instruments/voices they consist of.

5. Common musical forms, such as: symphoney ,opera etc.


All required explanations and definitions may be found on the Oxford Music Online website at the following Internet address: . this website is accessible through all computer terminals on the Tel-Aviv University campus. please access the complete list of terms for the entrance examination through this link. All aspets of the written examination in Solfage and Theory require a command of reading, singing and writing in both the treble and bass clef.


4)     Listening Examination (music literature) – written:

In the examination, excerpts of ten pieces from the following repertoire will be heard. The applicant will be required to recognize during the examination:

          a)      The name of the work

          b)      The name of the composer

          c)      The style of the piece

          d)      The period

          e)      Instrumentation of the piece – vocal, orchestral, chamber (identifying the instruments)

          f)       Form and texture of the work (sonata, rondo, lied, a-b-a etc.; homophonic, polyphonic etc.)

          g)      Obvious elements, which distinguish the piece and the history of its composition


Listening repertoire:

1)            Bach                                 - Suite no. 2 in b minor for flute and orchestra        BWV 1067

2)            Bach                                 - Cantata no. 147

3)            Bartok                              - Concerto for orchestra (1944)

4)            Beethoven                       - Piano Concerto no. 5 "Emperor" op. 73

5)            Beethoven                       - String Quartet op. 59 no. 1 "Razumovsky"

6)            Beethoven                       - Symphony no. 8 in F major op. 93

7)            Berg                                 - Violin concerto

8)            Brahms                            - A German Requiem op. 45

9)            Brahms                            - Symphony no. 4 op. 98 in e minor

10)       Chopin                             - Piano Concerto no. 1 in e minor op. 11

11)        Debussy                           - “L’après midi d’un faune”

12)        Haydn                              - Symphony no. 104 in D major

13)        Mahler                             - Symphony no. 1 in D major

14)        Mendelssohn                  - Symphony no. 3 “Scotch” op. 56

15)        Mendelssohn                  - Violin Concerto in e minor, op. 64

16)        Mozart                             - Symphony no. 35 in D major "Haffner" K. 385

17)        Mozart                             - “The Magic Flute”

18)        Mozart                             - Great Mass in c minor K 427

19)        Prokofiev                        - Symphony no. 1 op. 25 “Classical”

20)       Schönberg                      - Pierrot Lunaire (first song)

21)        Schubert                         - String Quintet in C major D 956

22)       Schubert                          - Symphony no. 9 in C major “Great”, D. 944

23)       Schumann                       - Symphony no. 1 “Spring” op. 38

24)       Stravinsky                       - “Rite of Spring”, ballet (1913)

25)       Wagner                           - Prelude and Liebestod from “Tristan und Isolde”


5)     Piano placement examination (keyboard proficiency)

All candidates, whose major instrument is not the piano, must prepare three works from the following repertoire (or works of similar difficulty):


          1)      Bach – Inventions for two voices or symphonies (three voices)

          2)      An easy sonata (first movement or second and third movement) by Haydn, Mozart or Beethoven.

          3)      A Romantic work (19th century), or a work from the 20th century (example: Mendelssohn – Song without Words, Schumann – op. 68, Tchaikovsky – op. 39, Kabalevsky – op. 27, Bartok – Microcosm III, II, Debussy – Preludes, Scriabin – Preludes)


                   Students who do not pass the piano placement examination before commencing their studies at the School of Music are required to take the test until the end of

                   their first year. Composition and Conducting candidates: Until the end of their first year of studies,students will have to take their placement test on the above list.According to achievement the student will either be awarded an "exempt" grade or will have to take lessons in keyboard proficiency. a student,who has taken lessons will be required to take an additional test at the end of the second year if studies. Lessons in Keyboard proficiency will be given under the auspices of the music school.


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