The School of Music offers a comprehensive course of study in music theory, instructing music students from all areas in all stages of their academic career, undergraduate through doctoral. In theory classes, music students delve beneath a surface appreciation of performance to gain deeper insight into the underlying design of a piece of music. In combination with the knowledge and skill development students receive in their history, composition and performance classes, this theoretical understanding ensures the success of graduating music students.


In addition to the general theory classes required of all undergraduate music majors, the school offers a bachelor’s degree in music theory that allows students to complete a special research project under the tutelage of a faculty mentor.

The master’s degree in music theory lays a foundation for further graduate study for students interested in pursuing a university teaching career. Small class sizes and seminar formats allow students ample opportunities for collaborative discussion that strengthens analytical skills. From studies in form and Schenkerian analysis to post-tonal topics, our courses are geared toward current research that addresses important developments in the music theory field. Students take an intensive seminar in music theory pedagogy in preparation for a faculty-supervised student teaching experience of entry-level theory courses. Graduates leave well-prepared to enter a competitive PhD program.

Theory Area faculty speak about their research and theory-related topics as part of the school's Fridays w/Faculty lecture series and also invite academics from other universities to speak on special topics.


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Spring 2021 Senior Theory Electives:

MUSC 4560 (Baroque Counterpoint & Analysis) - Dr. Luke Dahn

MUSC 4565 (Special Topics in Music Theory- Scales: Ancient, Modern, Global, Experimental) - Dr. Paul Sherrill

Spring 2021 Graduate Seminar Offerings:

MUSC 6520 (20th-/21st-Century Analysis I) - Dr. Manuela Meier

MUSC 6536 (History of Western Music Theory) - Dr. Paul Sherrill

MUSC 6550 (Advanced Formal Procedures of the 18th- & 19th-Centuries I) - Dr. Michael Chikinda

Last Updated: 12/7/20