Music Theory Research Paper
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Music Theory Research Paper

Music Theory Analytical Paper Submission Guidelines

(MMus - Music Theory, DMA - All Programs, Ph.D - Music Education)

These guidelines may be revised and will be updated accordingly

As part of the application process, students applying to certain graduate programs at The Hartt School must submit a music academic paper, either a music history research paper or a music theory analytical paper. The purpose of the music academic paper is to demonstrate the student's skills to write a document at the standards required for graduate music study. Students who submit a music theory analytical paper must meet specific standards and guidelines. It is important for the applicant to observe the following criteria for writing and submitting a music theory analytical paper.

  1. The purpose of the music academic paper application requirement at The Hartt School is to provide evidence of the student’s ability to organize and present musical findings and observations in an acceptable, comprehensible written format.
  1. Writing about Music: An Introductory Guide by Richard J. Wingell, 4th edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009 is suggested for reference. This widely-used guide is a concise book providing detailed information for the organization and writing of music academic papers. For the preparation and use of either footnotes or endnotes and a bibliography in a music academic paper, students are encouraged to consult and follow the information given in A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations by K. Turabian, W. Booth, G. Colomb, J. Williams; 8th edition, University of Chicago Press, 2013.
  1. The subject of a music theory analytical paper must be related to an established analytical procedure (e.g., formal analysis, linear-reductive analysis, pitch-class set-theory analysis) and should be an analysis of music from the general classical repertoire. An analytical paper on a non- classical-related subject will be considered if it clearly demonstrates comparable analytical skills and exhibits independent synthesis of ideas. An analytical paper should be written in such a way that it is understandable to readers beyond those immediately associated with the topic area. It is not the purpose of an academic analytical paper to impart to the reader one’s idiosyncratic musical preferences, tastes, or biases.
  1. Suitable writing in formal papers is termed academic style. Academic style is objective, unbiased, specific, and is supported by evidence. Speculation, when supported by fact and logic, can be an interesting component within an analytical paper and may be included. The analytical paper, nevertheless, must use proper grammar, correct spelling, and punctuation. The use of coined words, colloquialisms, and artificial terminology are to be avoided.
  1. The analytical paper must have a title page giving the name of the student, the title of the paper, and the date of completion. If the paper was written as partial fulfillment of a course requirement, the name of the course, school, and instructor must be indicated. Papers submitted with or without the instructor's corrections are acceptable.

  1. The paper should be of sufficient length to present the purpose, observations, and conclusions of the analysis. All pages must be appropriately numbered. All text of the paper must be generated by word processor using appropriate margins, spacing, and font.
  1. An analytical paper does not require footnotes or endnotes and a bibliography. However, if footnotes or endnotes are used, they must be in an acceptable academic format and must be consecutively numbered, and placed at the bottom of the page as footnotes or at the end of the paper as endnotes (see 2. above). Likewise, if a bibliography is included, it must be in an acceptable academic format and must clearly indicate books, editions, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and periodical literature, and may include references to recordings, interviews, and websites (also see 2. above).

The paper must clearly demonstrate evidence of original analysis, synthesis, or interpretation. Papers directly or indirectly exhibiting plagiarism will be rejected. The paper must make frequent references to musical passages and must include appropriate musical examples or a musical score. Musical examples must be clearly prepared, numbered, and cited.

Revised 03-23-2016