Music Theory

At Queen's School of Music we believe that music theory provides a key to unlock some of the mysteries of music.

One of the purposes of music theory is to illuminate the structure and language of the music we love to perform and listen to, so that we may communicate with like-minded people who share the same passion, as well as intensify our understanding and appreciation of music.

Students at the School of Music receive a solid foundation in music theory and analysis. The requirement for all Bachelor of Music students to take three years of core music theory reflects our understanding of theory as fundamental to the study of music from every perspective - compositional, educational, musicological, and performance. Through this series of three courses students gain a thorough understanding of harmony, counterpoint, musical form and linear analysis. These courses prepare students for further studies in music theory, as well as providing an invaluable theoretical understanding to students who wish to specialize in other areas of music.

Upper-year theory option courses explore the most recent developments in theory and analysis. Analytical and writing skills are developed in such courses as modal and tonal counterpoint, Schenkerian theory and analysis, and the analysis of twentieth-century music. Other offerings in this area include seminar courses devoted to theoretical issues and analytical studies focused on the music of specific composers.

Our best students in theory and analysis frequently choose to develop their skills further by engaging in an in-depth research study into a specific topic, supervised by a member of the faculty. The excellent preparation in music theory gained by students at Queen's School of Music has led several graduates to successfully complete post-graduate programs in theory at other universities in North America.

Faculty members who teach theory and analysis at the School of Music are actively engaged in research, much of it devoted to music of the twentieth-century. Our faculty regularly make presentations at conferences and publish in the leading music theory journals.