Elementary Aural Skills Placement Examination

This examination tests general knowledge and skills in the area of aural skills. The actual exam must be completed within 30 minutes and will be graded with PASS or FAIL. For this practice exam, you may play each example as many times as you wish. In the actual exam each passage will only be played five times. Click the “Play Example” button to hear the audio. Download and print the sample answer sheet to mark your answers. After you have completed each example, click the “Reveal Answer” button to check your work.

General Study Suggestions

  • Horvit, Koozin, Nelson. Music for Ear Training, 2nd edition. Thomson Schirmer, 2005. (includes accompanying workbook and CD rom for dictation). This is a very useful resource, and can provide direct practice for dictation via the CD rom. Certain exercises allow the answers to be revealed so that you can check your progress.
  • Ottman, Robert W. Music for Sight Singing, 6th edition. Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004.
  • Lars, Edlund. Modus Novus: Studies in Reading Atonal Melodies. Nordiska musikfhorlaget, 1964.


Melodic Dictation

Notate as precisely as possible the rhythm and pitch of the melody played. Before the example begins, you will hear a I-IV-V-I progression to establish the key. The starting pitch has been given.

Aural1a 1 Play Example 1 Reveal Answer 1


Harmonic Dictation

A progression of chords in 4-part style will be played. Notate the soprano line and the bass line, and give a complete Roman-Numeral analysis, including chord quality, inversion, and labeling of non-harmonic tones, if any. Before the example begins, you will hear an arpeggiation of the first chord. The starting soprano and bass notes have been given.

aural2a Play Example 2 Reveal Answer 2


Atonal Fragments

Three separate atonal fragments will be played (5 listenings each). Notate the precise pitches of each. The starting pitch of each fragment
has been given.

Aural3a 1 Play Example 3 Reveal Answer 3
aural4a Play Example 4 Reveal Answer 4
Aural5a 1 Play Example 5 Reveal Answer 5