PERF 1024 Music Theory and Songwriting

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 102770

Coordinator Hilary Maclean Opens in new window

Description This unit studies harmony and musical techniques used in a variety of styles, and applies these in the development of song-writing and composition skills. Keyboard and aural classes include practical musicianship training related to the lectures.

School Humanities & Comm Arts

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 2 10cp

Check your HECS Band contribution amount via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 1 subject

Pre-requisite(s) PERF 1001 OR
PERF 1015 OR
PERF 1001

Equivalent Subjects PERF 1004 - Composition Craft and Theory 2 LGYA 6571 - Music Craft and Theory 2 PERF 1002 - Composition Craft and Theory PERF 1017 - Songwriting and Music Theory

Assumed Knowledge

Students must have completed the prerequisite subject, or demonstrate an understanding of key signatures, intervals, triad chord structures, meter and rhythm, through a music theory screening test to be administered by the Subject Coordinator.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:
  1. Write a song using at least two contrasting sections
  2. Write a composition in an existing or original/free style
  3. Undertake harmonic analysis of music in different styles
  4. Harmonise a tonal melody
  5. Read and play simple melodies and harmony at the keyboard
  6. Notate from aural dictation: intervals, chords, inversions, rhythms, simple melodies and harmonic progressions
  7. Notate music with Finale or other notation software
  8. Those attending Art of Sound will be able to participate meaningfully in Art of Sound activities and projects, working with students across the Music program to develop collaborative, technical and performance skills.

Subject Content

Skills in style-composition, free composition and song-writing
Theoretical knowledge of modes and harmonic analysis of different styles of music
Skills in aural recognition of short melodic, harmonic and rhythmic dictations
Musicianship skills (keyboard, music reading and sight-singing)
Skills in Finale or other notation software


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Item Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
1. Two short answer in-class harmony tests 2. Two short answer in-class aural tests 1. 20 minutes each 2. 15 minutes each 30 N Individual
1.Two songwriting tasks 2.Two practical musicianship tests 1.a. Verse-chorus,32 bars 1.b. song form, 32 bars 2. 3 minutes each 40 N Individual
Co-ordinated examination 2 hours 30 N Individual
Attendance: Art of Sound Minimum 2 hrs per fortnight S/U Y Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • Harrison, Mark (2009) All about Music Theory: A Fun and Simple Guide to Understanding Music. Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard.

Teaching Periods

2022 Semester 2

Penrith (Kingswood)


Subject Contact Hilary Maclean Opens in new window

Attendance Requirements 80% attendance rate is imposed in all core subjects’ due to the nature of class activities that are aligned with subject assessments.

View timetable Opens in new window