Theories & Histories

The principal objective of the Theories and Histories concentration is to provide music students with a common foundation in music theory, history and literature. This concentration prepares students to be well-rounded practical musicians who are able to apply skills and knowledge to performance, composition, teaching, or research. Music theory is a highly interdisciplinary field, linking diverse academic areas including history, composition, performance practice, technology, and philosophy. Emphasis is toward the mastery of the tonal system through acquiring proficiency with various styles, musicianship skills, and the ability to analyze tonal music. Music history provides students with a comprehensive study of all periods of music, paying special regard to the development of musical form and style.

Theory and history classes present a broad cultural perspective, embracing the repertory of Western music from the Middle Ages to the present – as well as American music, popular music, jazz, and an introduction to ethnomusicology and world music. Students are introduced to a variety of research methods and scholarly approaches, including source studies, stylistic development, and critical writing.

As scholarship and performance are not mutually exclusive, all music majors are required to declare and study a major instrument, and perform two jury reviews every year. Students are encouraged to take part in the diverse performance opportunities available to enrich their understanding of the music they are studying.

For information about the Theories and Histories concentration, contact Professor Mark Zaki.