Music Theory

MYS Theory and Composition Program

2022-2023 Music Theory Registration will be available soon!

Goal: A theory sequence that utilizes historical and modern compositional practices to encourage more musicians to discover their own musical voice.

Classes offered:

Year 1: Music literacy and creativity
Year 2: Tonal composition
Year 3: Modern composition
Year 4: World traditions of composition

Class Descriptions:

Year 1: Music Literacy and Creativity

First year in-person classes are about establishing a baseline musical literacy including basic concepts of notation, rhythm, intervals, triads, and scales, with an emphasis on group composition exercises to encourage creative autonomy as well as build music literacy.

Year 2: Tonal Composition

Second year focuses on composing with chord structures, including and beyond standard cadential progressions, such as added note chords, quartal/quintal harmonies and clusters. A wider variety of scales (chromatic, pentatonic, whole tone, modes) will also be introduced.

Year 3: Modern Composition

Third year will focus on a small core of 20th century repertoire to be studied in depth and explore post-tonal and experimental composing techniques. Composition exercises to explore non-standard scales, polyrhythms, mixed meters and graphic notation.

Year 4: World Traditions of Composition

Fourth year will put the orchestra in a greater world context. Students will learn about different international ensemble traditions, and analyze musical styles associated with them, including Arabic and Indian classical music, Chinese bamboo and silk ensemble, Congolese soukous, and Indonesian gamelan. Students will work on composition exercises that utilize aspects of these musical traditions.