AP Music Theory is an advanced course offered in high school that focuses on the study of music theory. It is designed to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the fundamental concepts and principles of music. The course covers a wide range of topics including melody, harmony, rhythm, form, notation, and musical analysis.

Musical Fundamentals

The course begins by introducing students to the fundamentals of music such as pitch, rhythm, and meter. Students learn how to read sheet music and identify different types of notes and rests. They also learn about scales and modes and how they are used in musical composition.


The study of harmony is a major focus of AP Music Theory. Students learn about chord progressions, cadences, and harmonic analysis. They also learn how to identify different types of chords such as major, minor, augmented, diminished, and seventh chords.

Musical Form

Another important aspect of AP Music Theory is the study of musical form. Students learn about different types of musical forms such as binary, ternary, rondo, sonata-allegro, and theme and variations. They also learn about the principles of repetition, contrast, and variation.


Musical analysis is a critical component of AP Music Theory. Students learn how to analyze music using various techniques such as Roman numeral analysis and chord labeling. They also analyze musical compositions from different periods such as Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary.

Exam Format

The AP Music Theory exam consists of two sections – multiple-choice questions and free-response questions. The multiple-choice section includes 75 questions that cover various topics such as fundamentals of music theory, melody writing techniques, harmonic analysis skills etc. The free-response section includes four tasks: two melodic dictations (one for rhythm only, the other for melody and rhythm), a harmonic dictation, and a composition task.


In conclusion, AP Music Theory is an advanced course that provides students with a deep understanding of the principles and concepts of music theory. It covers a wide range of topics including musical fundamentals, harmony, form, and analysis.

The course is challenging but rewarding for students who are passionate about music. With proper preparation and study, students can succeed in the AP Music Theory exam and gain valuable knowledge that will prepare them for further studies in music.