Music Theory and Compostion at EKU

 Music Theory at EKU

Music Theory is a fascinating and diverse field of study that provides insights into the universal language that is music.  What qualities give the masterworks of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven their lasting appeal?  How is a great jazz ballad constructed?  What are the fundamental similarities between classical, jazz and popular music?  These are all questions the music theory student seeks to answer.  In addition to answering these large philosophical questions, music theory has many practical applications.  A greater understanding of how a piece works helps a musician to learn music faster, perform it better and teach it with more confidence.

EKU Theory Courses

Music theory studies are an essential part of the process of preparing for a career in music or music education.  All EKU Bachelor of Music degree programs include the four-semester theory sequence as well as one or more upper division courses such as Form and Analysis, Orchestration, Counterpoint and 20th-Century Analysis.  Music minors usually take one year of theory.  These courses are taught by experienced faculty who also active as composers and performers.  Music students at EKU can expect individual attention from our faculty and the availability of a department-sponsored music theory tutor.       

Music Theory Placement Exam

Some students entering college already have a solid knowledge of the fundamentals of music, while others have had little or no theoretical training.  In order to remedy this disparity in preparation and help students to better succeed in their studies, the EKU Music Department administers a Music Theory Placement Exam to all incoming students during orientation.  Depending on the results of this exam students will be advised to register for either MUS 181 - Basic Music Theory or MUS 102 - Intro to Music Fundamentals.

In order be ready for the placement exam, students should work on the following topics: reading music in both treble and bass clef, counting simple rhythmic patterns in common meters, major and minor scales, key signatures, major and minor triads, and intervals.

A study guide has been created to assist prospective music majors in their preparation for college-level study.

Additional resources include: - This free web site provides a series of tutorials in music theory as well as music trainers (flashcards) for practicing key signatures, triads and intervals.

MacGamut - This software program is used at EKU as a part of the aural skills component of the theory sequence.  It also has a written drill component that allows students to practice spelling chords, scales and intervals.  Students wishing to get a head start on their ear training skills may wish to purchase this inexpensive software.

If you any questions about Music Theory studies at EKU, contact Dr. Thomas Couvillon.

eku_music_theory_study_guide.pdf1.41 MB