Life Stuff, Musical Experiences

The Pain in my Neck

Yes. The Graduate Diagnostic Exams that have been the figurative pain in my neck have turned into the literal pain in my neck. I took the exams this morning/afternoon and I’m still decompressing. All in all, I think it went as well as it could have. Let’s start from the very beginning…

*dream-state music*

It all started at 6:45am when my alarm went off. I guess technically it actually started before that. I had a hard time going to sleep. All I kept thinking about was “okay, the Florentine Camerata was…” and “Liszt created the symphonic poem genre…” and “Verdi was the king of Italian opera…” it was nonstop the entire evening. Eventually, I did fall asleep. Then at 2:30am I hear this huge crash and I wake up thinking my apartment is getting broken into. Don’t worry, it’s not. I know you’re frightened. Solstice likes to hide up on the high shelf in my closet and apparently when she was trying to jump down, she also took the mirror that is hanging on the wall with her. I got up, checked the house, and got back into bed. Turned Golden Girls back on and tried to go back to sleep…but this time it was much worse. I could not go back to sleep no matter what I did.

Side note: I don’t have a clock in my bedroom because when I stress out, I can’t sleep and when I can’t sleep, looking at the clock and watching the minutes, half-hours, and hours tick by does not help at all. So when I moved, I decided to take the clock out of my room. I figure, if I need to know what time it is, I can look at my phone. 

I check my phone at it saaaaays…

Ugh…I have to get up in three hours. I don’t remember how long it took me to go back to sleep. I know I went through at least two Golden Girls episodes. Eventually, I did fall back asleep and when my alarm went off at 6:45am, I was wide awake. I got up, took a shower, and reviewed the standard musical forms. Afterwards I made myself a delicious breakfast of cereal and milk!

Fast forward to 9:00am – theory diagnostic exam. I feel okay about it. At this point, there’s not much I can do anyways. If I don’t know it by now then I need to take the remedial class.

I get the test, breathe in and out, check out the first page and heave a huge sigh of relief. I can totally do this. The first page is chord resolution. You’re given the key and a chord – you have to figure out what the chord is, what it’s function in the given key is, how it should resolve, and then resolve the chord with correct voice leading.


Second section was figured bass realization. With some review the last couple of days, I remembered how to do that. Figured bass is confusing at times. But the examples that they gave us as a review were harder than the example on the entrance exam. We had to analyze and realize the figured bass, and then write 4-part harmonies with correct part-writing.


The next page was a list of musical forms that we had to diagram. We were supposed to diagram the tonal structure of the form and the big-picture structure of the form. Is it two-part or three-part, etc. Since I reviewed those in the shower earlier that morning…


The analysis came. It was a one-page, four-part example. We were given the first and last chords and we had to analyze everything in between. It was played for us three times. During the listenings, I tried to mark unusual chords, modulations, and cadences. It was a very strange musical example. I’m not quite sure what it was. I know it was some sort of string piece. Not sure if it was a string quartet or what. I felt pretty good about the analysis. Analysis and form analysis are two of my favorite theory things to do so I was right in my comfort zone with that!

Plus after talking with some of the other first-years, we had the similar analyses, and we all had the same weird chords. I think there’s a chance I didn’t get the next to last chord on the analysis. Other than that…


Last, but not least, was a form analysis. We were given a 1 1/2 page musical example and we had to figure out the form of the piece. We had to mark cadences, figure out where the A and B sections were, and then tell what form the whole piece was in. We also got to listen to that example three times. It was a really nice piano piece. I’m not really sure who it was by or what it was exactly. The first listening, I marked all of the authentic cadences. The second listening, I marked all of the modulations, and the third listening, I marked any half-cadences or cadences that I thought were there so I could go back and analyze to see if they truly were there or if it was just in my head/ears. After a quick analysis of all the cadence points, I felt that I had found all of them. I marked where all the sections were, said what form the piece was in, and was pretty confident about most of it!

All in all? I think I did okay on the theory portion!

I know this was a lot to read so I’ll tell you about the history portion tomorrow! And I’ll find out around noon tomorrow whether I passed the exams. So for those of you who sent good vibes to the gods of diagnostic exams, now send good vibes to the gods who are grading my diagnostic exams. And if you are the god who is grading my diagnostic exam, I make fabulous chocolate chip cookies.

Oh yeah! And I got my student ID today! Notice at the bottom it says “grad” … that’s cause I’m a graduate student! Hell yeah :)

It's not a terrible picture, but let's not draw attention to I just did...

Until tomorrow, fellow BFs!


3 thoughts on “The Pain in my Neck”

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