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RCM Grade II Rudiments of Music

1. Notation
2. Major and Minor Scales
3. Other Scales and Modes
4. Intervals
5. Chords
6. Cadences and Melody Writing
7. Time
8. Naming the Key, Transposition, and Detecting Errors
9. Score Types
10. Terms, Signs, and Abbreviations
1. Notation
a) Things to Know:
- Reading notes on a staff in the treble, bass, alto, and tenor clefs
(including ledger lines, and correct note stem placement)
-Simple time values (e.g. whole note, half note, etc.), and their
relationship to eachother
-Tones, Semitones, and Accidentals (including double sharps, and
double flats)
b) Things to watch out for:
-Placement of stems and dots!
-The difference between diatonic semitones and chromatic semitones
can get confusing; remember that 'Diatonic' means "two toned."
2. Major and Minor Scales
a) Things to know:
-Semitone and wholetone pattern in major and minor scales
-Key signatures and key signature placement in the different clefs
-The technical names of the degrees of the scale (tonic, supertonic,
mediant, subdominant, dominant, submediant, leading note)
-Minor scales: Natural, Harmonic, and Melodic
-Relative Keys
b) Things to watch out for:
-these concepts all overlap on the actual exam so you could be asked
to write a G-sharp melodic minor scale, ascending, and descending,
starting on the mediant, using a correct key signature
3. Other Scales and Modes
a) Things to know:

-Chromatic scales, with accidentals and key signatures
-Whole tone scales
-Blues scales (the intervals: tonic, minor 3rd, perfect 4th, diminished
5th/augmented 4th, perfect 5th, minor 7th, perfect octave)
-Pentatonic scales
-Modes: Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, and Mixolydian, with accidentals and
key signatures
b) Things to watch out for:
-remember that a chromatic scale has sharps ascending, and flats
-whole tone scales require six different letter names, must start and
end on the same letter name, and that all steps between notes are
major 2nds, except for one which is a diminished 3rd
-just play the black keys on a piano if you have access to get a good
sense of a pentatonic scale
-although there are other modes, the RCM only requires that you know
what they are; only the Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, and Mixolydian modes
do you need to write answers for on the exam (or at least that's how it
was when I did it)
4. Intervals
a) Things to know:
-Type: Harmonic or Melodic (e.g. sounded together or separately)
-Size: The number of letter names in the interval
-Quality: Major, Minor, Perfect, Diminished, and Augmented.
-Inverted Intervals
-Finding the scales containing a given interval, or finding the number of
a certain interval in a given scale
b) Things to watch out for:
-There are MANY unusual intervals, and special cases to watch out for:
The Unison (you cant make a unison diminished), Illogical Keys (e.g. Esharp; mentally change the key and remove intervals, then replace
them, this can be mentally confusing), The Inverted Augmented
-Finding the scales containing a given interval can be incredibly time
consuming if not done properly; there are many ways to speed up the
proccess that people have developed that will make your life a lot
5. Chords
a) Things to know:

-Triads, using accidentals and key signatures
-Chords in different technical interval positions (e.g. a G major triad is
the dominant triad of the key of C major)
-Major, Minor, Diminished, Augmented, and Dominant 7th Chords
-Chortal chords, polychords, and clusters
-Inversions: Root position, 1st inversion, 2nd inversion
-Open and closed chords
b) Things to watch out for:
-again, many of the concepts get intertwined and you may be required
to name the root, quality, position, key, and technical degree of a single
chord, or you may be required to write an open dominant 7th chord in
2nd inversion in a certain key, or using accidentals
-take a look through a church hymn book to get a better sense of open
chords. Very often the SATB 2:2 chorale structure is the easiest to
visualize and figure out mentally
6. Cadences and Melody Writing
a) Things to know:
-Cadences: Perfect, Plagal, and Imperfect
-How to write cadences
-Inserting cadences in major and minor melodies
b) Things to watch out for:
-there are many methods for writing cadences, and most people
usually develop their own unique style of figuring out how to do it
-again, looking in songbooks of any sort and finding where cadences
exist can be very helpful. Usually theory students are also musicians,
and finding pieces without cadences is nearly impossible
7. Time
a) Things to know:
-Simple and compound duple, triple, quadruple time, and the
accompanying stress patterns (e.g. in simple 3/4 time, the stress
pattern is strong, weak, weak like a waltz)
-Proper musical notation (i.e. placement of rests, notes, and barlines)
-Hybrid Time (e.g. 5/4, or 4/3, or in rare, and usually unwelcome
instances 3/10)
b) Things to watch out for:
-The timing for Rudiments II is extremely mathematical, and once the
basic concepts are understood, the formula can be applied to many
cases: there aren't very many things here to watch out for

8. Naming the Key, Transposition, and Detecting Errors
a) Things to know:
-How to find the key of a given melody. Things to consider: The key
signature, accidentals, the final note, the opening notes, "triads"
-How to transpose a melody (into tenor and alto clefs too...sorry!)
-Concert pitch, and transpositional instruments
-Detecting errors in music. Things to consider: clef position, key
signature position, time signature position, bar lines (these are actually
common in real music), double bar lines, stem and dot placement, note
and rest placement in reference to time signature, incomplete
measures at the beginning and the complementary incomplete
measure at the end, slur and tie shapes, musical term spelling, melodic
issues that logically do not work (e.g. incorrect accidentals)
b) Things to watch out for:
-The hardest part of identifying mistakes is not identifying them but
correcting them
-This is where a musician's intuition benefits him or her (i.e. knowing
from experience when something doesn't "look right" is the most
powerful tool here)
9. Score Types
a) Things to know:
-Different types of score layouts: Pianoforte, Organ, Orchestral, Vocal,
Short Score, Open Score, Modern Vocal Score, and String Quartet
-How to rewrite scores into other types of scores
b) Things to watch out for:
-Be sure to copy out details very precisely; missing a simple
"Allegretto" at the top of the score can cost unnecessary marks on the
-The orchesatral, short, and open scores require the use of tenor, and
alto clefs not used in the other more common types