Related Field in Music Theory

Related Field in Music Theory

Entrance requirements
Doctoral students wishing to select music theory as related field must submit a formal application to the area. This application consists of three items:

* a cover letter including contact information

* an analysis paper that the student wrote for a past music theory class

* a personal statement (300-500 words) addressing theoretical/analytical interests and goals

These materials must be sent to the coordinator of music theory ( Area faculty will then evaluate the application and issue a formal decision of acceptance or rejection. A student has not been admitted to the related field program until this decision is officially communicated to him or her.

Course Work

Classes taken as a result of the placement examinations may not be counted toward the degree in the related field, as electives, or in the music theory component. The classes used to fulfill the music theory component may not be duplicated in the related field (if music theory is the related field of choice).

Required: 12 hours selected from


The related field professor will select two pieces representative of the standard repertoire. The pieces may involve original notation; they may be in full score (symphonic movements of moderate length).

Candidates will write an analytical essay on one of these pieces and should begin with a clear thesis, in which they indicate the purpose and the analytical approach of the essay. The essay should continue by addressing (at least briefly) salient large-scale issues of form and structure.

Candidates may then decide whether to write about large-scale matters, or whether to narrow down their discussion to particularly rich passages. The essay’s analytical discourse must be supported by precise evidence in the form of musical examples, diagrams, and/or sketches. If relevant to the work, the candidate might address extra musical elements such as word-painting, poetic ideas, narrativity, rhetoric, and aesthetics, being careful to ground such elements firmly in the immediate details of the work at hand. A conclusion should provide a clear overview of the results and significance of the essay’s thesis.