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A major component of any college curriculum in music is a course introducing the first-year student to music theory, a subject that comprises the musical materials and procedures of the Common Practice period. Such a course may bear a variety of titles (Basic Musicianship, Elementary Theory, Harmony and Dictation, Structure of Music, etc). It may emphasize one aspect of music, such as harmony; more often, however, it integrates aspects of melody, harmony, texture, rhythm, form, musical analysis, elementary composition, and to some extent, history and style. Musicianship skills such as dictation and other listening skills, sight-singing, and keyboard harmony are considered an important part of the theory course, although they may be taught as separate classes.
The student's ability to read and write musical notation is fundamental to such a course. It is also assumed that the student has acquired (or is acquiring) at least basic performance skills in voice or on an instrument.