I was listening to some sample questions for the Advanced Placement Music Theory examination, given to high schoolers in the United States. I noticed that on a lot of the listening examples, especially the ones featuring piano, the listening track would be consistently one semitone lower than the notated answers. This throws me off when I'm trying to transcribe.

These samples are from 1998. Is this practice still followed in today's exam? Does anyone know why they would do this?

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    Maybe it's a 44100 vs 48000 Hz sampling rate error, or an error with tape speed when transferring from analog to digital. :) Let them know of the error. Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 14:31

1 Answer 1


I can't speak to past exams, but current exams will give everything at the correct pitch. Among other things, this prevents unduly confusing students with absolute pitch.

Within the curriculum, AP suggests their instructors include something they call "Tonality Switch," where students sing a major melody in minor, or switch from singing in scale degrees to in solfège, etc. But in all of these, the tonic pitch is kept constant.

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