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The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts

Undergraduate Minor in Music Theory

Giacinto Scelsi, String Quartet No. 4, spectrogram 5-10min 0-2000Hz showing grad

CalArts' Minor in Music Theory is intended for undergraduate students who wish to receive advanced training and accreditation in Music Theory as a supplement to their Major, with applications to the analysis and creation of music in concert, film, popular, jazz, electronic, Western, non-Western, historical, contemporary and experimental styles.

Students who complete the Minor in Music Theory will have deeply engaged with an array of theoretical and analytical approaches applicable to music of diverse historical, stylistic and cultural origins. We believe that such conceptual breadth and flexibility are needed by musicians who want to understand and creatively participate in our contemporary Western musical culture, which increasingly encompasses an unprecedentedly diverse confluence of different styles and aesthetics.

Today’s practicing musicians must increasingly be prepared to wear multiple stylistic “hats”, to move between aesthetic perspectives with ease, and to commit to ongoing independent learning throughout their careers. The diverse expertise of our music faculty permits CalArts’ School of Music to offer a Music Theory Minor that can provide the sort of multi-faceted conceptual support that is necessary for a lifetime of musical engagement and learning within a diverse and rapidly evolving musical environment.

Learning Goals

The Minor in Music Theory aims to develop competencies in the following topic areas.

  • Advanced Applied Forms & Techniques: A practical knowledge of advanced Western musical techniques applicable in traditional, contemporary concert, and popular contexts.
  • Analysis of Contemporary Repertoire: A broad awareness of the diverse technical procedures that have appeared in Western art music since 1900.
  • Non-Western Musical Theory & Applications: Conceptual knowledge and creative application of non-Western music theory.
  • Musical Acoustics and Psychoacoustics: Understanding of physical and psychological principles relevant to musical production and perception.

Prerequisites to the Minor

Students are eligible to formally declare pursuit of the Minor at the Music Office if they have fulfilled all of the following prerequisites by means of placement examination or course completion with a grade of P or HP.

MT101B    Introduction to Tonal Theory B
MT202      Post-Tonal Theory
MT200C    Musicianship Skills: Tonal Forms C

Curriculum Requirements for the Minor

The Minor in Music Theory is awarded to undergraduate students who have formally declared their intention to pursue it before graduation and who have completed all of the course requirements for the Minor in accordance with CalArts’ Course Catalog. Earned course credits can count simultaneously towards the requirements of the Major and the Minor.

For further information about the Minor in Music Theory, please contact the Core Curriculum Coordinator in the Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts.

Last edited by pfraser on Sep 15, 2014
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