Dulcimer Music Theory 101

Summer, 2020, Syllabus

Instructor Information

Instructor Email Office Location & Hours
Mark A. Wade, DMA Mark's Email Address 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

  • Tonal Harmony, 6 th Edition by Kostka & Payne (this edition came out in 2009 and I chose it because it is readily available used and as a PDF at very affordable prices). Just the text book – NOT the workbook.
  • It may be handy to google “music staff” or “grand staff” and print a few pages of blank music staff.
  • We will be using Zoom. You will need to download the latest version of the Zoom software or app if you are using a tablet or iPad. If you are on a laptop or desktop, you can use Zoom without the app on your browser.

Course Schedule

Week Topic Reading Exercises
Week 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
Week 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
Week 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
Week 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

  • www.musictheory.net
  • Have your book and something to write notes and solve problems on.
  • You may want to have your instrument nearby to help you visualize at times.
  • You may want to have multiple monitors or devices if you plan to use handouts as PDFs. Otherwise, make plans to print handouts.



A non-refundable $125 registration fee is required to secure your spot in the class. Checks are welcome, mailed to the address on my contact page. Workshop seats are limited to only 30 maximum. After you register, Mark will email you instructions within a few days.

Use the following form to pay for your registeration online: