The Department of Music Theory offers courses ranging from elementary classes in music fundamentals to doctoral seminars in topics of current research. Undergraduate programs in the Jacobs School of Music require several semesters of core courses in music theory and aural skills; additional specialized and advanced courses are available as electives. Our most popular graduate course offerings include analytical techniques for tonal and post-tonal music, Schenkerian analysis, counterpoint, and music theory pedagogy.
Eclectic in their interests, the music theory faculty are recognized nationally and internationally as leaders in their areas of research, which represent diverse fields from the traditional to the experimental.
The MM and PhD programs in music theory feature rigorous standards of scholarship and musicianship, blending state-of-the-art academic research with innovative pedagogy. Our students' experience is enhanced by the rich musical life of one of the world's finest music schools, coupled with the scholarly resources of a first-class university.
Associate Instructorships in music theory are available to theory majors and other qualified graduate students. The extensive teaching experience gained through the AI position is a major strength of our program and contributes to the excellent success rates that our alumni enjoy on the job market. The large majority of our graduates obtain teaching positions in major universities, liberal-arts colleges, and schools of music.
Our students and faculty maintain a strong record of publications, conference presentations, performances, and other accomplishments. The scholarly life of the department includes the Music Theory Colloquium Series, at which students, faculty, and guests regularly present their research, and the Robert Samels Visiting Scholar Program, featuring residencies by several distinguished visitors each year.
Membership in the Graduate Theory Association is open to all graduate students with an interest in music theory. The GTA functions as a small scholarly society, presenting an annual research symposium, but also as a professional-development group and a social organization with the purpose of promoting collegiality within the music theory community at IU. Students also may choose to be involved with the Indiana Theory Review, a peer-reviewed scholarly journal produced entirely by students.
The music theory department congratulates alumnus Mitchell Ohriner (MM 2007, PhD 2011), winner of the Society for Music Theory's Emerging Scholar Award for 2013, for his article "Grouping Hierarchy and Trajectories of Pacing in Performances of Chopin's Mazurkas," published in Music Theory Online in 2012.