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Music theory is a vital component in the education of musicians. Music theory instruction in The Hartt School provides students majoring in music, dance, and theatre with experiences in perceiving, analyzing, and performing music. The core music theory and ear training curriculum for undergraduates is two to five semesters of music theory with two to six semesters of ear training. Kodaly instruction is used for all levels of ear training at The Hartt School.
Applicants for the Bachelor of Music in music theory usually have preparatory training in music theory and performance. The BMus degree requires 137.5 credits which can be completed in eight full-time semesters. Music theory majors follow a carefully planned curriculum under the supervision of a faculty member of the music theory department. The undergraduate music theory program includes tonal harmony, tonal analysis, modern techniques, tonal counterpoint, modal counterpoint, keyboard harmony, score reading, orchestration and music theory pedagogy. An essay is completed during the senior year. The essay topic is selected by the student and is supervised by a faculty member of the music theory department. Music theory may be elected as either an independent major or as part of a double major degree program, such as theory and performance. Undergraduate music theory majors are required to maintain an overall grade point average of "B-" throughout their degree program.
Diverse areas of musicianship and scholarship are represented by the faculty, curriculum, and activities of the music theory department. Fields of faculty research include Kodaly instruction, Schenkerian analysis, contemporary music, film music, international music, popular music, and theory pedagogy. Graduate seminars in theory have included the music of Bartok, the Beatles, Brahms, Chopin, Debussy, Mozart, Stravinsky, Varese, and Wagner. The Hartt Music Theory Forum was established in 1988 for musicians and scholars to visit The Hartt School to share their theoretical ideas and research with students, faculty, and the community. Forum speakers have included James Baker, Elaine Barkin, Richard Bass, Benjamin Boretz, Charles Burkhart, Scott Burnham, Robert Cogan, Mark De Voto, Allen Forte, Marion Guck, All Keiler, Joel Lester, Robert Morgan, Dorothy Payne, Lee Rothfarb, Carl Schachter, Janet Schmalfeldt, Deborah Stein, and Robert W. Wason.