The NYSTCE Music test measures your knowledge according to the New York State Academic Standards. Success on this test indicates that you are qualified to teach music in the New York State public school system. The test content is drawn from these subareas: Music Theory (18% of the exam); Music Performance (25%); Listening Skills (25%); Music History and Culture (22%); and a Music History and Culture constructed-response question (10%). The test consists of approximately 90 multiple-choice questions and one constructed-response question.

NYSTCE Music Practice Questions

1. Which of the following is NOT a typical component of a string quartet?
A: Harp
B: Violin
C: Viola
D: Cello

2. Which of the following forms of music does NOT feature recitative?
A: Opera
B: Cantata
C: Chamber
D: Oratorio

3. Which of the following is the most common starting pitch at the beginning of a song?
A: Dominant
B: Tonic
C: Mediant
D: Subdominant

4. Which of the following musical styles features frequent tempo changes?
A: Jazz
B: Classical
C: Bluegrass
D: Rock and roll

5. What does the term tessitura mean?
A: High soprano
B: With speed
C: Mournful
D: Functional range

Answer Key

1. A. A typical string quartet consists of two violins, a viola, and a cello.
2. C. Recitative is a style in which text is spoken in rhythm, but with minimal attention to melody.
3. B. The tonic is the first note of a given scale.
4. A. The frequent metrical changes in a jazz composition give the composition its “swing.”
5. D. The tessitura of an instrument is the range of notes that is typically used by a singer, an instrument, or within a piece of music.