The IMPOSSIBLE Music Theory Quiz

The IMPOSSIBLE Music Theory Quiz

background photo via Wikimedia Commons

Music theory – one of mankind’s greatest achievements – ranges from the simple to uber difficult. 

WITHOUT Google Searching, can you answer the questions on this IMPOSSIBLE music theory quiz?

Sure, we won’t be surprised if you get a few right, however getting all 10 right truly means your study of music is unparalleled.

Let’s get into it: 10 extremely difficult music theory questions only geniuses can answer correctly.

This is a timed quiz. You will be given 30 seconds per question. Are you ready?


In the chord D Major 7 ♯11 ♭13, what is the ♭13?

Correct! Wrong!

The flat 13 is the same pitch as the flat 6, so if you flat the sixth note of the D major scale, you get B♭!

What is the retrograde inversion 0 of the following tone row: G-C-A♭-B-A-B♭-E-F-E♭-D-F♯-C♯

Stravinsky, far left, became a 12-tone composer in his later years: Wikimedia Commons
Correct! Wrong!

To get the retrograde inversion zero, you have to start with the last note of the original row, then invert the intervals going backwards!

Which of the following is a French Augmented-Sixth Chord?

Correct! Wrong!

The french augmented sixth chord is comprised of a major 3rd, a major 2nd, and then another major 3rd, so the only possible answer here is G-B-C♯-E♯

What is the interval between C double sharp and D (Ascending, like in the picture above)?

Correct! Wrong!

Think about it like this: the interval from a C to a D is a major 2nd. C to D♭ is a minor 2nd, and C to D double flat is a diminished 2nd. Thus, C double sharp to D double sharp is a major 2nd, C double sharp to D♯ is a minor 2nd, and C double sharp to D is a diminished 2nd. Only geniuses know that, though

In Schenkerian analysis, what is the ursatz?

Correct! Wrong!

Schenkerian analysis is all about structure, and the ursatz - or fundamental structure - is the core of Schenkerian analysis!

What are the EXACT notes of the original Tristan Chord?

Correct! Wrong!

The famous "Tristan" chord is a half-diminished 7th chord. However, ALL of the answer options are half-diminished 7th chords! The EXACT Tristan chord contains the notes F-B-D#-G#

In the key of G Major, what is the negative harmony equivalent of D7?

Correct! Wrong!

Negative harmony is a term coined by theorist Ernst Levy in his book "A Theory of Harmony." Negative harmony functions on an axis, which is the perfect fifth. In the key of G Major, the perfect fifth above G is D. Thus, a mirror point exists right in the middle of G to D, which is a note between B♭ and B. The mirror, in G Major, works like this: B mirrors B♭, C mirrors A, C♯ mirrors G♯, and so on. In this case, the mirror of D7 is as follows: D is G, F♯ is E♭, A is C, and C is A. Thus, the notes are A-C-E♭-G, which spells out an A half-diminished 7th chord! Big brain

What modern mode is the equivalent of the Hypomixolydian mode, except the last note of the scale is different?

Correct! Wrong!

The notes of the Hypomixolydian and the Dorian modes are the same! OMG! Both D hypomixolydian and D Dorian are: D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D

Which of the following instruments does NOT transpose?

Correct! Wrong!

Harpsichords don't transpose!

In the key of A Major, what are the notes of the Neapolitan Sixth Chord?

Correct! Wrong!

To get a Neapolitan Sixth Chord, create a major triad on the flatted 2nd scale degree, then arrange it into first inversion. Here, that would be a first inversion B♭-D-F

The IMPOSSIBLE Music Theory Quiz

If you want to be a music theory wizard, you gotta get studying! I mean...who DOESN'T know what a Hypomixolydian scale is? Once you've studied up, take the quiz again. (photo via Wikimedia Commons:
You are DECENT at advanced music theory

You may know your Tristan chord, but I'm guessing you better brush up on some negative harmony or 12-tone row permutations. Try again, if you want to be a genius.
TUMBS UP: Excellence at Music Theory

You have achieved EXCELLENCE in music theory. Nice job! You really know your stuff. But, you are not a genius grandmaster! Retake the quiz to get a perfect score this time.
HOLD ON NOW! You, my friend, are a TRUE GENIUS of music!

GENIUS LEVEL UNLOCKED! You are a true genius of classical music. Congratulations on getting a PERFECT score on one of the hardest music theory quizzes in the WORLD. Take a screenshot of this and share it with your friends - you are the REAL DEAL! (photo via Wikimedia Commons:

Classical Music Team

YES Classical Music is one of the leading sources for classical music news, reviews, and opinion online!

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