School of Music

Return to School of Music, degree requirement details.

Music Theory and Composition

Robert Maggio, Chairperson

FACULTY: Nelson, Rimple, Rozin, Silverman, Stiefel


Symbol: MTC

014 Basic Dictation and Sight Singing (2) A preparatory course for music majors emphasizing basic aural perception and sight-singing skills needed for effective music study.

110 Making Music (3) What makes music? This course for nonmusic majors explores music’s fundamental elements, the creative process, and techniques for songwriting and analysis. Students will learn notation of rhythm, melody, and harmony in musical styles from a variety of cultures and settings. The course includes hands-on learning experiences in basic musicianship, group performance, and composition, and develops skills necessary for further musical studies. Previous experience reading music is helpful but not required. Satisfies the general education arts requirement. Required for the music minor.

111 The Developing Musician (3) A continuation of MTC 110, this course further explores music fundamentals, focusing on refining listening skills, examining creative approaches, and investigating diverse musical forms. Required for the music minor. PREREQ: MTC 110.

112 Theory of Music I (3) Introduction to music theory; the materials of music. Analysis and creative activity.

113 Theory of Music II (3) Form; motive; cadence; phrase; melody. Analysis and creative activity. PREREQ: MTC 112, with a grade of C- or better.

114 Aural Activities I (2) Development of basic hearing skills, chiefly through sight singing and dictation activities based on the subject matter of MTC 112.

115 Aural Activities II (2) Continued development of basic hearing skills. PREREQ: MTC 112 and 114, with a grade of C- or better in both.

171 Popular Music Songwriting and Recording (3) In-depth study and composition of popular music. PREREQ: MTC 113.

212 Theory of Music III (3) Harmony and counterpoint; dissonance; voice motion; harmonic progression; modulation; texture. Analysis and creative activity. PREREQ: MTC 113, with a grade of C- or better.

213 Theory of Music IV (3) In-depth analysis of specific styles, genres, and forms; compositional style studies. PREREQ: MTC 212.

214 Aural Activities III (2) Material of advanced difficulty involving chromatic alteration, foreign modulation, and intricate rhythms. PREREQ: MTC 113 and 115, with a grade of C- or better.

215 Aural Activities IV (2) Continuation of MTC 214 and activities involving nontonal music. PREREQ: MTC 212 and 214.

261 Fundamentals of Jazz (2) A basic course in jazz theory.

312 Composition I (3) Creative writing in the forms, styles, and media best suited to the capabilities and needs of the student. PREREQ: MTC 212.

313 Composition II (3) Further application of MTC 312, stressing contemporary techniques. PREREQ: MTC 312.

341 Orchestration (3) The orchestra; use of instruments individually and in combination. PREREQ: MTC 212.

342 Music Analysis (3) An overview of major trends in music analysis applied to a variety of musical styles. Addresses how analysis informs composition, performance, scholarship, and pedagogy. PREREQ: MTC 212.

344  Counterpoint I (3) The contrapuntal techniques of 16th century music including canonic imitation, motet, fantasy, and madrigal. PREREQ: MTC 212.

345  Counterpoint II (3) The contrapuntal techniques of 18th century music including chorale prelude, invention, canon, and fugue. PREREQ: MTC 212.

346 Techniques of Early 20th-Century Music (3) A study of compositional techniques in representative vocal and instrumental works of the first two decades of the century.

361 Jazz Harmony and Arranging I (3) A basic course in jazz/popular harmony and arranging techniques, including contemporary chord symbols and terminology, and basic voicing for brass, reed, and rhythm sections.
This course may be taken again for credit.

362 Jazz Harmony and Arranging II (3) An intermediate course in jazz/popular harmony and arranging techniques, including more advanced harmonic techniques. Writing for strings, woodwinds, and electronic instruments is introduced.
This course may be taken again for credit.

364 Performance Practices in Contemporary Music (3) Technical problems of understanding new notation (e.g., graphic, proportional, multiphonics, microtones, metric modulation, asymmetrical rhythm groupings, prose scores, etc.) and facility in performing scores that include these techniques. PREREQ: MTC 213 or permission of instructor.

412 Composition III (3) Composition in larger forms. Open to composition majors only. PREREQ: MTC 313.

413 Composition IV (3) Advanced composition involving major projects in a contemporary idiom. PREREQ: MTC 412.

415 Serialism and Atonality (3) Compositional procedures and theoretical concepts in atonal and serial works of Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Bartok, Stravinsky, and more recent composers. PREREQ: MTC 213.

416 Jazz Practices (2-3) Jazz history, writing, and performance. Survey of basic jazz literature; fundamental techniques in arranging and improvising. PREREQ: MTC 213 or equivalent.

417 Computer Music I (3) Materials and techniques of computer music. Laboratory experience in the composition of computer music. PREREQ: MTC 312 or permission of instructor.

418 Composition V (3) Advanced composition lessons for theory/composition majors. PREREQ: MTC 413.

450 Acoustics of Music (3) The study of sound; its production, transmission, and reception. Musical instruments, the acoustics of rooms, and the physical basis of scales.

479 Seminar in Music Theory/ Composition (3) Special topics in specialized areas of music theory and composition.
This course may be taken again for credit.

481 Independent Study (1)
This course may be taken again for credit.

482 Independent Study (2)
This course may be taken again for credit.

483 Independent Study (3)
This course may be taken again for credit.