Music History & Literature Exam

The online Music History and Literature Exam is an actual diagnostic exam that the student completes online and submits for evaluation. It is to be taken by all graduate students at the Thornton School of Music before their initial advisement. Its purpose is to let you know of areas of strength and weakness in your preparation for graduate study, and you are strongly advised to remedy areas of weakness by taking appropriate MUHL classes. The examination is divided into six parts corresponding to the six principal eras of Western musical history (Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque Period, Classical Period, Romantic Period, Music since 1900).   Each part is graded separately. You must complete all six parts before your advisement.
The examination is based on materials covered in three semesters of undergraduate Music History and Literature (MUHL 231, 232, 233) at the USC Thornton School of Music. The exam is a multiple-choice format, with some questions in each part involving listening examples and scores (listening examples do not necessarily correspond to score excerpts on the exam). Review Suggestions: Grout and Palisca, A History of Western Music; Weiss and Taruskin, Music in the Western World; and Simms and Wright, Music in Western Civilization.

Please do not use any outside sources of information while taking this exam. The results are purely for your own information.

Some questions use ancillary Adobe Acrobat and RealMedia files. Please confirm that your browser has the appropriate software installed by viewing this Score Example (.pdf) and listening to this Musical Excerpt (.rm). If you have trouble with either of these files, download and install the current versions of Adobe Reader and RealPlayer before you begin the exam.

Taking the Exam

Once your official admission to graduate study at USC has been approved, you will receive an email from Thornton Student Affairs informing you that you are authorized to take the exam. At that time, click the link below to begin. Please note that there are a total of six 20-question exams. You may take them in any order you wish, but you can only take each exam once, and you must complete all six before your advisement.

The exam is administered through the USC Blackboard system and you must log into the system to begin the exam. When you click the link below, you will be presented with a login screen. Supply your USC Username and Password in the appropriate fields, click the Login button, and you will be taken into the exam. If you are new to USC and/or have not logged into your student computer account, you will need to activate your account first.