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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.       

Preparing to be a Music Major

The EKU School of Music does not currently have a placement exam for Music Theory. All incoming majors and minors will be enrolled in Beginning Theory I (MUS 181). Although this course includes a review of the fundamentals of music, it is highly recommended that incoming students make every effort to familiarize themselves with the basic materials of music before beginning their university studies.

In order be ready for university-level studies, 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:

MusicTheory.net - 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 designed to cover 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.

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