Music Theory

Music Theory faculty member teaches a class in front of a white board

CCM's music theory programs focus on various musical elements and how they work together to create unique compositions.

Our world-renowned faculty — who come from diverse backgrounds and specialize in every era and style from Antiquity to the present — combine rigorous academic training with opportunities for specialization in a variety of areas, helping students learn through hands-on approaches, one-on-one advising, guest lectures and semesterly seminars/colloquium that encourage intelligent discussions between peers.

At the same time, the flexibility of the curriculum and the required cognate (for doctoral students) allow them the opportunity to explore particular fields of interest — whether they be in performance, musicology or composition — to broaden their horizons and gain greater knowledge of the music they are studying. CCM Theory's position within one of the United States' top music programs also means access to acclaimed instrumental/vocal teachers and students, guaranteeing high quality feedback and interaction.

Headshot of James N Bennett

James N Bennett

Headshot of David Carson Berry

David Carson Berry

Professor of Music Theory

513-556-9503

Headshot of Steven Joel Cahn

Steven Joel Cahn

Professor of Music Theory

513-556-7820

Headshot of Soo Kyung Chung

Soo Kyung Chung

Adjunct Instructor of Music Theory

Headshot of C. Catherine Losada

C. Catherine Losada

Professor of Music Theory

513-556-9567

Headshot of Samuel Y. Ng

Samuel Y. Ng

Associate Professor of Music Theory

513-556-9502

Headshot of Miguel A. Roig-Francoli

Miguel A. Roig-Francoli

Distinguished Teaching Professor of Music Theory and Composition

513-556-1821

Headshot of Christopher M Segall

Christopher M Segall

Associate Professor of Music Theory

513-556-6251

CCM's graduate admissions process begins on September 1 for entrance in the following year's fall semester. All application materials must be submitted on or before December 1 to be considered for specific scholarship awards. Visit the CCM Admissions website for additional application instructions.

Pre-screening and Interview Requirements

Pre-screening

Applicants must submit the required pre-screening materials via getacceptd.com/ccm on or before December 1 in order to be considered for admissions and invited for an audition.

Pre-screening Requirements

  • Submit two papers on analytical or theoretical topics  
  • Professional Resume 
  • CV or Bio 

Additional Information

  • Prospective students who hold master’s degrees in other areas of music should apply for the MM in theory
  • The prerequisite for the PhD in music (music theory emphasis) is a master’s degree in music theory
  • Applicants should demonstrate keyboard facility, good musicianship skills and commitment to the discipline
  • For more information about the Music Theory program, contact Professor Chris Segall

Interview

More information on interviews coming soon.

New Graduate Assistants teach theory and musicianship courses in the core undergraduate program.

  • Written diagnostic test: the 40-minute written diagnostic test covers undergraduate level concepts and skills in tonal harmony and voice leading. If deemed qualified by this test, applicants will be scheduled for the skills assessment and teaching demonstration. This will most likely be available online for applicants to take during a specified time frame prior to the audition.
  • If deemed qualified by this test, during one of the 2020 CCM Audition Weekends — January 16th, 23rd or February 13th — you will be scheduled for a musicianship interview as a well as a practice teaching demonstration with the theory faculty.
  • Musicianship skills assessment: the 15-minute musicianship skills assessment will test sight-singing, rhythm and keyboard skills
  • A teaching demonstration: the 10-minute teaching demonstration, applicants will deliver a mock lesson introducing the Neapolitan sixth as if to a sophomore “student” audience (a faculty interviewer). Applicants are responsible for preparing all aspects of their teaching demonstration (lecture, illustrations, musical examples) in advance.
  • Applicants are urged to consult Miguel A. Roig-Francoli’s Harmony in Context, 3rd ed., in preparation for the teaching demonstration.
  • Applicants who apply for a Theory Teaching Assistantship will be considered for admission and other types of financial assistance even if they do not yet meet the requirements for a TA.

For additional information, contact Professor Steven Cahn.

The master's program is designed to provide a comprehensive course of study in music theory and analysis as well as related subject areas. A candidate is expected to acquire a broad knowledge of music theory and will be introduced to the issues, concepts, and methods pertinent to the field of study. Determination of a candidate's specific responsibilities will be made by an academic adviser and the director of graduate studies. The MM in music theory helps students acquire competence in the broad range of endeavors characteristic of music theory including:

  • Research
  • Writing
  • Conference paper presentations
  • Writing and Publishing a Master's Thesis
  • Teaching

To accomplish these goals, students will also need to develop the requisite skills in musicianship, languages, etc. Determination of a student's specific responsibilities will be made by a principal adviser, cognate adviser and director of graduate studies.

The PhD program in music theory is designed to provide a comprehensive course of study in the theory, literature, and philosophy of music and related subject areas. As opposed to the MM program, the coursework for the PhD program is made up of rotating specialized seminars that offer in-depth coverage of specific areas of interest. Students are expected to acquire competence in the broad range of endeavors characteristic of music theory, including:

  • Research
  • Writing
  • Conference paper presentations
  • Writing and Publishing a Doctoral Dissertation
  • Teaching ability to demonstrate intellectual breadth through the completion of a significant program of study in a secondary field (cognate).

To accomplish these goals, students will also need to develop the requisite skills in musicianship, languages, etc. Determination of a student's specific responsibilities will be made by a principal adviser, cognate adviser, and director of graduate studies.

Students enrolled in a doctoral program at CCM are expected to demonstrate intellectual breadth through the completion of a significant program of study in a secondary field (cognate). 

Cognate in Musicology/Music History

The music history cognate will consist of three graduate-level MUHS topics courses or seminars (at least 9 semester hours at the 6000, 8000, or 9000 level). The student should consult with a musicology faculty member whose specialty is in an area of the student’s interest. If the faculty member agrees, they will become the student’s cognate advisor and will help the student draw up a suitable plan of study according to the following guidelines:

  • At least one of the courses must be an 8000- or 9000-level course.
  • Courses in ethnomusicology may be included if appropriate to the area of specialization
  • The following courses may not be used for cognate hours:
    • Any courses being used to fulfill the student’s degree requirement in music history
    • Any courses being used as substitution for a DMA document.

The cognate advisor will participate on the committee for the student's final oral examination. 


Cognate in Music Theory

The music theory cognate (12 credit hours) consists of three required courses (9 credit hours) and one graduate-level elective (3 credit hours). The cognate aims to provide students with a solid grounding in advanced tonal and post-tonal analysis, theory pedagogy and another practical/theoretical area depending on the student’s interest. Applicants will be interviewed by the cognate advisor (a member of the music theory faculty) to discuss their experience and interest in music theory. Approval will be granted to students with sufficient background and proficiency in analytical and/or theoretical studies in music at the bachelor’s and master’s levels.

Required Music Theory Cognate Courses (9 credit hours)

  • Pedagogy of Theory (THRY 7015) 3 (offered in the Fall every year)
  • Set Theory I (THRY 8011) 3 (offered in the Fall every other year)
  • Schenkerian Analysis I (THRY 8015) 3 (offered in the Fall every other year, in alternation with Set Theory 1)

Cognate electives (3 credit hours)

Students may choose any one course from the following list of graduate-level courses:

  • Advanced Musicianship (THRY 6015)
  • 16th-Century Counterpoint (THRY 6001)
  • 18th-Century Counterpoint (THRY 6005)
  • Special Topics (THRY 6060)
  • Tonal Theory (THRY 7020)
  • Readings in Music Theory (THRY 7050)
  • Advanced Topics in Analysis (THRY 8001)
  • Set Theory 2 (THRY 8012)   
  • Schenkerian Analysis 2 (THRY 8016)
  • Introduction to Aesthetics (THRY 9001)
  • History of Theory 1: Antiquity to 1600 (THRY 9011)
  • History of Theory 2: 1600 to present (THRY 9012)
  • Rhythm and Meter (THRY 9050)
  • Seminar in Analysis (THRY 9082)
  • Seminar in Music Theory (THRY 9081)

Cognate in Ethnomusicology

Students enrolled in a doctoral program at CCM are expected to demonstrate intellectual breadth through the completion of a significant program of study in a secondary field (cognate). 

Requirements (9-15 credits)*:

  • 3 credits: Theory and Historiography in Ethnomusicology (required)
  • 1-3 credits: World Music Lab(s)
  • 3-6 credits: Electives in ethnomusicology or related discipline(s) in consultation with Professor Stefan Fiol and Professor Scott Linford.

* The following courses may not be used for cognate credits:

  1. Any courses being used to fulfill the student’s degree requirement in music history
  2. Any courses being used as substitution for a DMA thesis

The cognate advisor will participate on the committee for the student's final oral examination. 



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