Table of Contents

  1. Inclusivity in Learning
    1. Community Values
  2. Instructor Information
    1. One-on-one appointments
    2. Tutoring
  3. Course Information
    1. Meetings
    2. Learning Objectives
    3. Course Materials
  4. Grading
  5. Attendance
  6. Assignments
    1. Digital submission of assignments: how to scan
    2. Daily Homework (not for a grade)
    3. Composition projects
  7. Course Overview
    1. Brief Calendar
    2. Important Dates
  8. Mason Policies
    1. Honor Code
    2. ChatGPT and other AI tools
    3. Title IX
    4. Privacy

Inclusivity in Learning

Your success in this class is important to me. We will all need accommodations because we all learn differently. If there are aspects of this course that prevent you from learning or exclude you, please let me know as soon as possible. Together we’ll develop strategies to meet both your needs and the requirements of the course.

I encourage you to visit Disability Services to determine how you could improve your learning as well. If you need official accommodations, you have a right to have these met. If you have a documented learning disability or other condition that may affect academic performance you should: 1) make sure this documentation is on file with Disability Services (SUB I, Rm. 4205; 993-2474; to determine the accommodations you need; and 2) talk with me to discuss your accommodation needs.

Community Values

Adopted by Mason School of Music faculty on August 17, 2022

I am committed to being respectful

I am committed to respecting the personhood of all community members across sociocultural identities, social status, and affiliation in the Dewberry School of Music, CVPA, and at Mason. This includes using community members’ preferred names and pronouns. I am committed to respecting others’ artistic professionalism with open and timely communication and input on decision-making whenever appropriate. This atmosphere of respect applies both in-person and across digital media platforms.

I am committed to being an active participant

I am committed to participating as actively as I can and will communicate when something is taking away my attention. I understand that active participation may look different for each community member and I trust that each member is showing up to the best of their capacity.

I am committed to using “I” statements and hearing “I” statements

I am committed to speaking from my own experience and feelings by using “I” statements rather than generalizing. (I think, I feel, I believe.) I am committed to practicing hearing the experiences of historically and institutionally marginalized community members individually. And seeing each community member as individuals who represent themselves and not the whole socio-cultural groups to which they belong.

I am committed to practicing empathy

I am committed to appreciating how others may be feeling and thinking. Practicing empathy also means considering how internal and external context, such as societal issues, affects how community members may show up.

I am committed to acknowledging intent, and addressing impact

Not all harm that is experienced comes from an intentionally harmful place, often bias-based harm is rooted in stereotypes and prejudice formed through socialization. This doesn’t mean that the harm feels any less hurtful. I am committed to acknowledging the harm intentional or unintentional, tending to the hurt person, and working to prevent future harm. I recognize that there is both burden and value in the contribution of community members with historically marginalized identities.

I am committed to acknowledging the liveliness of language

Language and the way we engage with language are contextual and constantly evolving. Our community includes individuals with various cultural identities, ethnic and racial identities, religions, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and intersecting backgrounds. Having sensitivity to language is essential in cultivating the conditions of inclusion for all community members. As an example, “guys” is often used in addressing groups of people however the phrase is not gender-neutral and may feel exclusionary to some non-binary members in our community (recommended replacements, folks, y’all, everyone).

I am committed to being okay with agreeing and disagreeing respectfully and challenging my assumptions

I am committed to the practice of separating the point of view or statement with which I disagree from the person when actively engaging in moments of disagreement. I am committed to the practice of calling in (suspending judgment without shame) instead of calling out (shaming). I will lead with curiosity, listen to understand, and ask for clarity. I recognize that meeting people where they are, requires each of us to do the internal work to challenge our assumptions and build self-awareness of our socialization that is connected to those assumptions.

I am committed to seeking harmony

While I will do my best to show up for and with other, I understand that there may be moments of disharmony. I am committed to self-reflection and concern for others and being an instrument of positive change. When moments of discord, dissent, or disagreement happen, I am committed to doing the individual internal work for the co-creation of peace.

Instructor Information

Name: Dr. Lavengood (she/her), pronounced “LAY-ven-good”
Office: deLaski Performing Arts Building (PAB) A-421 
Communication: I will answer emails within 24 hours. I am also happy to use Teams to chat with you one-on-one.

One-on-one appointments

  • You may drop in without an appointment during my office hours:
    • Tuesdays, 1:00–2:30
    • Wednesdays, 1:30–2:30
  • If you like, you can book time with me to let me know that you’ll be coming.
  • If you want to meet virtually instead of in-person, please book in advance so I know to be online.
  • If you are not available during my office hours, email me to schedule a special appointment time.


If you need extra help, download this semester’s tutor information and reach out to one of the tutors I have designated for this course.

Course Information


There are two back-to-back sections, both of which meet on Tuesdays/Thursdays in MTB 2018:

  • 9:00–10:15 AM
  • 10:30–11:45 AM

If you have to miss class, you are welcome to attend the other class if that time works better for you. (But please regularly attend the class you’re registered for!)

Learning Objectives

  • Students will label and recognize musical elements using set theory terminology, topic theory, leitmotivic analysis, and other 20th-/21st-century compositional approaches.
  • Students will articulate the impact of analytical interpretations on performance practice.
  • Students will compose music using specific music-theoretical concepts.

Course Materials


  • Internet access for Open Music Theory, Blackboard, etc.
  • A three-ring binder for homework packets
  • Staff paper, pens, pencils, etc.
  • MuseScore or another notation program like Dorico, Sibelius, or Finale (I do not recommend NoteFlight or Flat). I still find MuseScore 4 quite buggy, and I personally use MuseScore 3 instead.

Smartphones, tablets, and computers are welcome in the classroom since you need them to access the textbook.


Your grade in this course will be based solely on three composition projects that correspond to the three main units in our course. Compositions get progressively more involved, so each is worth progressively more than the last, as follows:

  1. Set theory: 20 points
  2. Debussy-style: 30 points
  3. Music and Media: 50 points

Letter grades are given as follows:

Percentage/Points Letter Grade
93–100% A
90–92% A–
87–89% B+
83–86% B
80–82% B–
77–79% C+
73–76% C
70–72% C–
60–69% D
0–59% F


I have no attendance policy. However, studies show that attendance directly correlates to grades. You will be best served by attending class regularly. 

Please do not come to class if you feel at all sick or have been exposed to someone with COVID. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me to figure out the best way for you to keep up with class while you are gone, and/or send a message on Teams to connect with other students for a copy of their class notes.

I am unable to offer virtual access to the class. If you want to keep up with coursework, you should do the readings and homework as indicated on the course website.


Digital submission of assignments: how to scan

I am very fussy about scanned documents. Whenever you are sending me a scan, please send it in .pdf format, all combined into a single .pdf, in black-and-white (not color or grayscale). I have tutorials on how to create scans—it’s simple and a good skill to learn. 

Daily Homework (not for a grade)

  • You will have homework daily. 
  • Homework is assigned via the course website
  • Homework is not required and does not contribute to your grade. Instead the homework is a way for you to check your understanding of a topic. 
  • If you want feedback on your homework, you may turn it in for me to look over.
  • You can email me homework if you won’t be in class (not projects, though—please always submit those on Blackboard).

Composition projects

  • About the projects: Three model compositions are used to demonstrate your understanding of the theory concepts we learn in this class. View project instructions.
  • Prep work: Projects have preparatory assignments that are designed to help you succeed in your graded submission. These assignments are especially important to complete, even though they are still not counted toward your final grade.
  • Submitting, revising, and earning a grade: Each project will be graded and returned; next, you are given the option to revise or expand as directed and submit a second version. The two grades are averaged for your total grade. All revisions are given a “best by” date, one week after the original due date. If you wait longer than this to submit, that’s okay, but I might not grade it promptly.
  • Late work: If you need to submit a project late, discuss this with me, ideally before the due date. Be aware that I may not be able to give feedback for revisions in a timely manner if you submit late, especially if we didn’t discuss in advance.
  • Composition creativity and following instructions (or not): I give a lot of restrictions on composition assignments because these are meant to test your ability to apply theory concepts, rather than to test your creativity. If you are excited to compose and want to do things more in your own way instead, that’s great and I look forward to hearing it! But I need you to still fulfill the requirements of the assignment. So if you choose to deliberately do something other than what I’ve asked you to do, submit additional commentary in which you self-evaluate against the grading rubric. Explain how you have achieved each of the objectives of the assignment.

Course Overview

Brief Calendar

The following course outline is a general overview of how I anticipate the class will progress. For a detailed list of topics and assignments, see the course website.

Weeks Unit Composition Projects
1–4 Atonality Set Theory composition project
5–9 Triadic Post-Tonality Debussy-style composition project
10–15 Music and Media Final project

Important Dates

Mason Policies

Honor Code

Mason is an honor code university. Read the honor code.

ChatGPT and other AI tools

Please be thoughtful if you choose to use AI tools. Basically, it’s okay with me if you use AI to generate anything that isn’t evaluated in a rubric (e.g., lyrics for a song, character development in the media project), as those things are outside the learning objectives of the course.

But I do not want you to use AI in your analytical writing (beyond things like grammar checking). AI tools cannot perform music analysis and the results will not be satisfactory anyway.

If you are unsure whether a use of AI is okay, you can always ask me directly.

If you use AI as part of your projects in any capacity, explain how you used it in your analysis. Failure to do so constitutes a violation of academic integrity.

Title IX

As a faculty member and designated “Responsible Employee,” I am required to report all disclosures of sexual assault, interpersonal violence, and stalking to Mason’s Title IX Coordinator per university policy 1412. If you wish to speak with someone confidentially, please contact the Student Support and Advocacy Center (703-380-1434), Counseling and Psychological Services (703-993-2380), Student Health Services, or Mason’s Title IX Coordinator (703-993-8730; 


Students must use their MasonLive email account to receive important University information, including communications related to this class. I will not respond to messages sent from or send messages to a non-Mason email address.