Areas of Study

Music Theory

Music Theory is the study of musical structure. We learn how to construct music in historic and contemporary styles; how to deconstruct it through analysis and analytical modeling; and how to understand it through hermeneutic and historically informed interpretation. The music theory faculty at UofT is known for its strengths in Schenkerian analysis, musical form, theories of rhythm and meter, nineteenth-century music, and the music of the Second Viennese School.

All undergraduate students build musical fluency through two years of core courses in music theory, musicianship, and other skills. At the advanced undergraduate level, Music Theory features a variety of specialized courses, offering students the possibility to graduate with a major in Music History and Theory within the Mus.Bac. program. This major is designed with considerable flexibility to accommodate students’ individual interests: our students can elect to specialize in either Music History or Music Theory, or design a general major drawing from both areas. Another option is to combine this major with a minor in Composition.

At the graduate level, the combination of scholarly excellence, the intimate scale of the program, and the close ties to Musicology and Ethnomusicology make for a vibrant, friendly, and intellectually engaging environment that attracts top-level students pursuing the course-intensive MA and the research-oriented PhD in music theory. Graduate students also benefit from the regular presence of guest speakers, be it at the biweekly colloquium series, graduate student roundtables, or special events such as the annual Form Forum. All graduate students in music theory are supported by UofT’s generous standard funding package and have the opportunity to gain professional experience through teaching and research assistantships.

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