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Department of Music Theory


The Department of Music Theory is distinguished by the range of achievement in scholarship of both the faculty and students and by the broad diversity of approach which is fostered. One of the guiding principles of the department is that music theory does not stand alone as a discipline.


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Faculty members are active as composers, performers, and interdisciplinary scholars in such areas as philosophy, psychology, and critical studies. Students explore cognate fields such as art history, literature, philosophy, linguistics, and psychology to advance inquiry in the field of music theory. Areas of scholarly interest represented by faculty members and in course offerings include theories of musical experience, as well as post-tonal theory, Schenkerian theory, twelve-tone theory, transformational theory, theories of style, gender, jazz, popular music, and the study of the compositional process.

For a profile of the department, read Explorations in Music Theory: From Beethoven to Brahms to the Beatles, written by Walter Everett.




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On Friday, November 17, 2017, Dr. René Rusch will read an invited paper entitled ""Historical Hermeneutics Revisited: Schubert's Biography, Music Analysis, and the Narrative Impulse" at Michigan State University's College of Music.

Arlington, Virginia, site of the upcoming meeting of the Society for Music Theory
The Department of Music Theory at the Society for Music Theory

The Department of Music Theory will be well-represented at the upcoming meeting of the Society for Music Theory in Arlington, Virginia (November 2-5, 2017).     more

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Walter Everett, professor of music theory, will be presenting his paper, "Command and Surrender in Patti Smith's 'Land'," to the Women in the Creative Arts conference at Australian National University in Canberra, on 12 August, 2017. This work is drawn from his projected book on sex and gender in rock music, co-authored with Katie Kapurch (assistant professor of English at Texas State University, San Marcos).


Front row: Patricia Hall, Nathan Martin, René Rusch, Ramon Satyendra, Áine Heneghan, Wayne Petty (Chair), Marion A. Guck. Back Row: Aleksandra Vojcic, Walter Everett, Karen Fournier, Kevin E. Korsyn, Somangshu Mukherji.
Prof. Petty and first-year students interpret a musical situationKevin Korsyn's view of crises in current musical research and its institutionsPatricia Hall's guide to working with 20th-century manuscripts, co-edited with Friedemann SallisProf. Fournier illustrates a few usages of V7 inversionsPatricia Hall's award-winning examination of Berg's sketches for LuluProf. Vojcic prepares her students for a listening experienceThe first volume of Walter Everett's two-book set on the Beatles' musicPh.D. students Haley Beverburg and David HeetderksA collection of essays on rock music edited by Walter EverettProf. Everett and his first-year students consider possible hearings
"In the music theorist, the imaginative eloquence of the artist combines with the rigors of mathematical proof in advancing a variety of ways of thinking about all matters musical."
Walter Everett, Professor of Music Theory

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower