Jump to page content Jump to navigation

College Board

AP Central

AP Teacher Communities
AP Exams & College Enrollment
AP Annual 2015 Conference July 22-25, 2015
Click here to visit the SpringBoard Microsite
AP Exam Reader
Print Page
Home > AP Courses and Exams > AP Exam Information > The AP Music Theory Exam

The AP Music Theory Exam

Exam Overview

AP MUSIC THEORY EXAM: 3 HOURS

The AP Music Theory Exam evaluates students' understanding of musical structure and compositional procedures through recorded and notated examples. Listening skills are emphasized, particularly those involving recognition and comprehension of melodic and rhythmic patterns, harmonic functions, small forms, and compositional techniques. Most of the musical examples are from standard repertoire; some examples of contemporary, jazz, vernacular music, or music beyond the Western tradition are included for testing basic concepts.

The exam requires fluency in reading musical notation and a strong grounding in music fundamentals, terminology, and analysis.

Preparing Student-Response CDs
When burning each student's MP3 file to the provided student-response CD, be sure to select Data Disc or Data CD (not "Audio Disc" or "Audio CD") in the preferences of your CD-burning application. Do not use applications such as Windows Media Player or iTunes versions that only allow burning audio discs or CDs.

Format of Assessment

Section I: Multiple Choice | 75 Questions | ~ 80 Minutes | 45% of Exam Score

  • Questions based on aural stimuli
  • Questions not based on aural stimuli
  • Discrete questions
  • Questions in sets

Section II: Free Response | 9 Exercises | ~ 80 Minutes | 55% of Exam Score

  • Melodic and Harmonic Dictation
  • Part Writing from Roman Numerals and Figured Bass
  • Composition of a Bass Line
  • Sight-Singing

Multiple-Choice Questions

For sample multiple-choice questions, refer to the Course Description.

Free-Response Questions

Free-Response Questions 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 1999-2003


2014: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions
Theory Questions

Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics
Sample Responses Q1
Sample Responses Q2
Sample Responses Q3
Sample Responses Q4
Sample Responses Q5
Sample Responses Q6
Sample Responses Q7
Score Distributions
Sight-Singing Questions

Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines Sight-Singing
Commentary Q1


Sight-Singing
Commentary Q2


Sight-Singing Samples
 
Theory Audio Prompts



2013: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions
Theory Questions

Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics
Sample Responses Q1
Sample Responses Q2
Sample Responses Q3
Sample Responses Q4
Sample Responses Q5
Sample Responses Q6
Sample Responses Q7
Score Distributions
Sight-Singing Questions

Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines Sight-Singing
Commentary Q1


Sight-Singing
Commentary Q2


Sight-Singing Samples
 
Theory Audio Prompts



2012: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions
Theory Questions

Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics
Sample Responses Q1
Sample Responses Q2
Sample Responses Q3
Sample Responses Q4
Sample Responses Q5
Sample Responses Q6
Sample Responses Q7
Score Distributions
Sight-Singing Questions

Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines Sight-Singing
Commentary Q1


Sight-Singing
Commentary Q2


Sight-Singing Samples
 
Theory Audio Prompts



2011: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions
Theory Questions

Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics
Sample Responses Q1
Sample Responses Q2
Sample Responses Q3
Sample Responses Q4
Sample Responses Q5
Sample Responses Q6
Sample Responses Q7
Score Distributions
Sight-Singing Questions

Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines Sight-Singing
Commentary Q1


Sight-Singing
Commentary Q2


Sight-Singing Samples
 
Theory Audio Prompts



2010: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions
Theory Questions

Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics
Sample Responses Q1
Sample Responses Q2
Sample Responses Q3
Sample Responses Q4
Sample Responses Q5
Sample Responses Q6
Sample Responses Q7
Score Distributions
Sight-Singing Questions

Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines Sight-Singing
Commentary Q1


Sight-Singing
Commentary Q2


Sight-Singing Samples
Theory Audio Prompts



2009: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Grade Distributions
Theory Questions

Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics
Sample Responses Q1
Sample Responses Q2
Sample Responses Q3
Sample Responses Q4
Sample Responses Q5
Sample Responses Q6
Sample Responses Q7
Grade Distributions
Sight-Singing Questions

Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines Sight-Singing Commentary Q1

Sight-Singing Commentary Q2

Sight-Singing Samples
Theory Audio Prompts



2008: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Grade Distributions
Theory Questions Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics

Sample Responses Q1
Sample Responses Q2
Sample Responses Q3
Sample Responses Q4
Sample Responses Q5
Sample Responses Q6
Sample Responses Q7
Grade Distributions
Sight-Singing Questions Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines

Sight-Singing Commentary Q1 

Sight-Singing Commentary Q2

Sight-Singing Samples

Theory Audio Prompts


2007: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Grade Distributions
Theory Questions Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics
Sample Responses Q1
Sample Responses Q2
Sample Responses Q3
Sample Responses Q4
Sample Responses Q5
Sample Responses Q6
Sample Responses Q7
Grade Distributions
Sight-Singing Questions Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines Sight-Singing Commentary Q1

Sight-Singing Commentary Q2

Sight-Singing Samples
Theory Audio Prompts      


2006: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Grade Distributions
Theory Questions Theory Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics
Sample Responses Q1
Sample Responses Q2
Sample Responses Q3
Sample Responses Q4
Sample Responses Q5
Sample Responses Q6
Sample Responses Q7
Grade Distributions
Sight-Singing Questions Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines Sight-Singing Samples Q1
Sight-Singing Samples Q2

Audio Samples
 
Theory Audio Prompts


2005: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples Grade Distributions
Theory Questions Theory Scoring Guidelines

Scoring Commentary

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics
Sample Responses Grade Distributions
Sight-Singing Questions Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines Music Theory Audio Samples: 2005  
Theory Audio Prompts      


2004: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples Grade Distributions
Theory Questions Theory Scoring Guidelines

Scoring Commentary

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics
Sample Responses Q1
Sample Responses Q2
Sample Responses Q3
Sample Responses Q4
Sample Responses Q5
Sample Responses Q6
Sample Responses Q7
Grade Distributions
Sight-Singing Questions Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines Music Theory Audio Samples: 2004  
Theory Audio Prompts      


2003: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples Grade Distributions
Theory Questions Theory Scoring Guidelines

Scoring Commentary

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics
Sample Responses Q1
Sample Responses Q2
Sample Responses Q3
Sample Responses Q4
Sample Responses Q5
Sample Responses Q6
Sample Responses Q7
Grade Distributions
Sight-Singing Questions Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines Music Theory Audio Samples: 2003  
Theory Audio Prompts      


More About Music Theory

Are You a Student?

See Also...



  ABOUT MY AP CENTRAL
    Course and Email Newsletter Preferences
  AP COURSES AND EXAMS
    Course Home Pages
    Course Descriptions
    The Course Audit
    Teachers' Resources
    Exam Calendar and Fees
    Exam Information
  PRE-AP
    SpringBoard®
  AP COMMUNITY
    About Electronic Discussion Groups
    Become an AP Exam Reader

Back to top