The Hartt School

Music Theory

The Music Theory program at The Hartt School is designed to prepare you for graduate studies, teaching, or a research career. Our students study tonal harmony, tonal analysis, modern techniques, tonal counterpoint, modal counterpoint, keyboard harmony, score reading, orchestration, and music theory pedagogy.

The diverse backgrounds of Hartt’s Music Theory faculty allow theory majors to approach music from multiple angles, gain appreciation and respect for varied perspectives, and ultimately shape an intellectual approach to music theory that best suits them. 

Degrees Offered

  • Bachelor of Music
  • Music Theory Minor
  • Master of Music
  • Doctoral Minor

Bachelor of Music

Degree Requirements

Applicants for the Bachelor of Music in music theory usually have preparatory training in music theory and performance. The degree requires 137.5 credits, which can be completed in eight full-time semesters. The core music theory and ear training curriculum for undergraduates is two to five semesters of music theory with two to six semesters of ear training. Kodaly instruction is used for all levels of ear training at The Hartt School.

Music theory majors follow a carefully planned curriculum under the supervision of a faculty member of the music theory department. The undergraduate music theory program includes tonal harmony, tonal analysis, modern techniques, tonal counterpoint, modal counterpoint, keyboard harmony, score reading, orchestration, and music theory pedagogy. An essay is completed during the senior year. The essay topic is selected by the student and is supervised by a faculty member of the music theory department. Music theory is available as a single major or can be pursued as a minor while in pursuit of another major. Undergraduate music theory majors are required to maintain an overall grade point average of "B-" throughout their degree program.

Admission and Audition Requirements

The music theory interview provides an opportunity for the applicant to discuss the program and a career in music theory. The interview also allows the faculty member to evaluate the applicant's background and training in music theory. During the interview, the applicant will be asked to verbally analyze the melody, harmony, and form of an excerpt from a Beethoven piano sonata. The applicant will also be asked to demonstrate their keyboard skills by: 1. harmonizing several phrases from a Bach chorale tune and 2. score reading several phrases of a Bach chorale in open score using soprano, alto, tenor and bass clefs.

Applicants are also required to audition on a classical or jazz instrument or voice. The audition ensures that the applicant is at a performance level sufficient to participate in Hartt ensembles, an essential component of the Bachelor of Music in Music Theory program. Learn more about the audition requirements.

Applicants are encouraged to interview in person with a Hartt music theory faculty member on a scheduled audition day. Telephone interviews are not permitted. Skype interviews will be arranged if the applicant is able to comply with the requirements for the Skype interview.

Master of Music

Degree Requirements

The Master of Music (MM) degree in music theory is designed to prepare students for a teaching or research career in music theory. Applicants to the program usually have an undergraduate degree in music theory or its equivalent. Graduate music theory majors follow a four-semester curriculum of 36 credits. It includes instruction in modern analysis, Schenkerian analysis, history of music theory, and seminars in music theory and music history. An important feature of the curriculum is the flexibility in elective course work appropriate to the interests and needs of the student. A Master’s thesis serves as the capstone.

Admission and Audition Requirements

The music theory interview provides an opportunity for the applicant to discuss the program and a career in music theory. The interview also allows the faculty member to evaluate the applicant's background and training in music theory. During the interview, the applicant will be asked to verbally analyze the melody, harmony, and form of an excerpt from a Beethoven piano sonata. The applicant will also be asked to demonstrate their keyboard skills by: 1. harmonizing several phrases from a Bach chorale tune and 2. score reading several phrases of a Bach chorale in open score using soprano, alto, tenor and bass clefs.

Applicants are to submit two research papers with their application.

Applicants are encouraged to interview in person with a Hartt music theory faculty member on a scheduled audition day. Telephone interviews are not permitted. Skype interviews will be arranged if the applicant is able to comply with the requirements for the Skype interview. All new, incoming graduate students will take placement exams during the week of orientation to determine the appropriate course of study and whether subject review courses are necessary.

Music Theory Minor

The undergraduate minor in music theory is open to all Hartt bachelor of music students who wish to broaden their experience in music theory. Students must complete 18 credits within the minor.

To complete this minor, the student must register for a letter grade for all course counting toward the minor and must receive a "C" or better in each course.

The student is also required to register for the Music Theory Colloquium and participate in the annual department of music theory review.

The student must secure approval, through an interview, from the music theory department chair. The change of major form must be completed to add the minor and requires the signature of the student’s advisor, music theory chair, and Academic Studies division director.

Doctoral Minor

Hartt DMA and Ph.D. students who wish to broaden their experiences in music theory may apply for admission to the doctoral minor. Since all of the courses in the doctoral music theory minor are offered during alternate years, it is imperative that students apply for the program by contacting the chair for music theory at the beginning of their doctoral studies.

Music Theory Faculty

Diverse areas of musicianship and scholarship are represented by the faculty, curriculum, and activities of the music theory department. Fields of faculty research include Kodaly instruction, Schenkerian analysis, contemporary music, film music, international music, popular music, and theory pedagogy. Graduate seminars in theory have included the music of Bartok, the Beatles, Brahms, Chopin, Debussy, Mozart, Stravinsky, Varese, and Wagner.

Music Theory Faculty & Staff

Patrick Miller
Associate Professor of Music Theory; Chair, Music Theory; Director, Academic Studies Division
Music Theory
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Akane Mori
Associate Professor of Music Theory
Music Theory
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Michael Jude Schiano
Associate Professor of Music Theory
Music Theory
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Kathryn Swanson
Artist Teacher
Music Theory
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Gabor Virágh
Associate Professor of Music Theory
Music Theory
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Katalin Viragh
Artist Teacher
Music Theory
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