Dulcimer Music Theory 101

Summer, 2020, Syllabus

Instructor Information


Mark A. Wade, DMA


See my contact page.

Office Location & Hours

Zoom, 7:30-8:45 PM Eastern,
Thurs: June 11, 18, 25, & July 2
Office Hours Tuesdays 7-8 PM

General Information


This course is designed to teach applied music theory to mountain and hammered dulcimer players. In this class, we will learn the inner workings of music, deepen our understanding of the elements of music, notation, intervals, scales, meter, tonal harmony, diatonic chords, inversions. We will be using standard notation on a music staff in treble & bass clefs and relating concepts back to our dulcimers. You do not need to be a good sight-reader and some may want a cheat sheet handy for reference. By using dulcimer-friendly keys for the applications, theory will be applicable and accessible. We will also encounter unfriendly keys for comprehension, but not for applications. Tuition for the four 75 minute sessions and four 60 minute office hours: $125.

Expectations and Goals

As we meet weekly, we will review past concepts, and build on them into the next area. There will be time for interactive questions and answers, as well as discussions and hands-on learning– all from the comfort of your home. Mark will provide handouts and other supplemental materials as needed. Assignments are optional, but are a valuable tool to learn the material and practice new concepts. We may not get to all the topics above. Our goal is learning for mastery. Whatever material isn’t completed in this unit will continue into Music Theory 102.


This is a 4 week class commitment that meets weekly for 75 minutes with optional office hours on Tuesdays for 60 minutes. Your tuition holds your space for all 4 sessions. There is no penalty for missing a session, but no refund will be provided. Mark cannot guarantee a recording for missed classes.

Course Materials

Required Materials

Course Schedule

Week Topic Reading Exercises
1 Elements of Pitch: Notation, major & minor scales, key signatures, scale degree names, intervals, augmented and diminished intervals, inversion of intervals, consonant and dissonant intervals. Pg. 3 - 25 Checkpoints, Self-Tests
2 Elements of Rhythm: Durational symbols, beat, tempo, meter, division of beat, simple time signatures, compound time signatures, grouplets, and beams. Pg. 27 - 40 Checkpoints, Self-Tests
3 Triads and 7th Chords: triads, seventh chords, inversion of chords, inversion symbols and figured bass, lead-sheet notation and symbols, recognizing chords in various textures. Pg. 41 - 57 Checkpoints, Self-Tests
4 Diatonic Chords: Minor scales, diatonic triads in major and minor keys, diatonic seventh chords in major and minor keys Pg. 59 - 70 Checkpoints, Self-Tests

Optional Materials




Use my contact page to email me with any questions you might have.