Contact Info
Phone: 610-436-2739
Fax: 610-436-2873

Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Music Theory, History and Composition is to provide an environment that promotes excellence and diversity in our students' preparation for careers in music theory, music history and composition as scholars, teachers, creative artists and performers.

The department is committed to providing the finest instruction in music theory, history and musicianship to students in all degree programs in the School of Music, as mandated by the National Association of Schools of Music. Additionally, the department serves undergraduate music minors and non-music degree programs as indicated by the focus of general education studies, particularly in the discipline of music history.

The Bachelor of Music degree in Music Theory and Composition provides students with an opportunity to pursue theoretical and compositional studies at the undergraduate level to a depth beyond what is expected of students in other undergraduate music programs. The ability to compose music and prepare it for performance, understand a variety of historic and contemporary styles, analyze music, and the write cogently about the subject in preparation for graduate level studies are primary goals of the program.

At the graduate level, the mission of the department is to prepare the students for admission to doctoral programs at other institutions, to prepare the student for college-level teaching in the area of music theory, history and/or composition, to provide an alternative for students desiring to obtain permanent certification, to provide requisite course work for students in other music programs, and to help prepare students for occupational opportunities in related musical fields such as music editorship and publishing, music librarianship, music journalism and criticism, and music merchandising and marketing.


  • Composition Technique
    An MTC major should compose music that is expressive, demonstrating the proper techniques in, and related to, the production of a professional-level composition.
  • Presentation of live composition.
    New works presented by live performers should be well-prepared, demonstrating a high level of individual preparation through engaging in proper rehearsal and performance techniques with collaborating performers.
  • Electro-acoustic presentation.
    New electro-acoustic works should demonstrate skill at preparing and executing works that rely on technology.
  • Score preparation.
    A musical score should preferably be typeset, and should in all cases be clear, complete, free of errors, and should show attention to detail.
  • Career preparation.
    An MTC major should be made aware of career-path options (graduate study, professional opportunities, etc.) that follow earning the MTC B. Mus. degree.
  • Independent projects.
    An MTC major should develop independent projects that reflect personal engagement with composition and music theory topics and contribute to self-directed growth.
  • Writing about music.
    An MTC major should write analytic papers that are clear and compelling, with proper use of terminology and conventions of musical writing.
  • Musical analysis.
    An MTC major should write analytic papers that display critical listening and thinking skills, and demonstrate knowledge of diverse approaches to music theory and analysis.
  • Information Literacy.
    Students should pursue academic research on musical topics and demonstrate familiarity with standard sources.


  • Music History minors will demonstrate understanding of the literature, genres, forms, styles, and technical vocabulary of Western art music and of the development of musical style within a broader humanistic and cultural context.
  • Music History minors will demonstrate competency in aural and written analysis of musical form and style.
  • Music History minors will demonstrate the ability to recognize and explain the significance of specific aspects of music style in a manner surpassing description and subjective reaction.
  • Music History minors will demonstrate the ability to associate musical examples with values concerning social and artistic conventions.
  • Music History minors will demonstrate the ability to associate musical and artistic examples with specific stylistic periods, regional traditions, and individual artists and formulate observations based on those understandings.
  • Music History minors will demonstrate familiarity with basic research tools of music history.
  • Graduate students in music history will demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the genres, styles, and forms of Western music within an historical context.
  • Graduate students music history will demonstrate facility in utilizing analytical techniques with respect to musical style and form.
  • Graduate students in music history will demonstrate familiarity with the methods and materials of independent research in musicology, including bibliographical and writing skills.
  • Graduate students in music history will demonstrate the ability to design and carry out a significant project of independent research.
  • Graduate students in music history will demonstrate a basic reading knowledge of at least one foreign language.