Music Theory is an intellectually challenging and vibrant discipline, with close ties to history, philosophy, psychology, and other fields. The University of Alabama School of Music offers programs of study leading to the B.M. and M.M. degrees in Music Theory, with curricula designed to prepare the student for college teaching and to provide the background and skills necessary for active and productive scholarship in this increasingly diverse field. Combining the strengths and resources of a full-fledged school of music and a major research university, and offering a full range of relevant courses from Schenker to set theory, we provide an exciting and supportive environment in which to work.
Our School of Music faculty of fifty full-time instructors boasts some of the finest teachers, scholars, and performers in the country. In addition, every year our Endowed Chair in Music and other programs bring to the School distinguished visiting faculty from around the world. In recent years visiting scholars and artists have included Harrison Birtwistle, Barry Brooke, Stephen Dembski, Ross Lee Finney, John Harbison, Hubert Howe, Andrew Imbrie, Andrew Mead, Wilfred Mellers, Robert Morgan, Bruno Nettl, Gottfried Wagner, Peter Westergaard, and Charles Wuorinen. Visitors for the 2003-2004 academic year include Tristan Murail, William Rothstein, Joseph N. Straus, and Carl Schachter.
For information on courses in music theory for undergraduates, please see the School of Music section of the University’s undergraduate catalog.
For information on courses in music theory for graduate students, please see the School of Music section of the University’s graduate catalog and the School of Music Graduate Handbook, which also contains specific course requirements for the M.M. in music theory.
Information is available on the graduate diagnostic examination in music theory, which is required of all incoming students in any graduate program in music. Comprehensive examinations, which include a music theory section, are required of all graduate students before they can be admitted to candidacy.
Composition and Theory
The theory curriculum offers a full spectrum of studies in traditional and twentieth-century music. Classes are small, and individual instruction is available.
The electronic studios offer representative technology for analog and digital synthesis, sampling, MIDI, and music printing.
The School of Music Endowed Chair in Composition and Theory is filled every third year. Endowed Chairholders have included Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Charles Wuorinen, John Harbison, Andrew Imbrie, Ross Lee Finney, Peter Westergaard, and Hubert S. Howe, Jr.
The University of Alabama Contemporary Ensemble is overseen by the Department of Composition and Theory. For more information on this ensemble click here.
Theory and Composition Faculty:
- Craig First, D.M. Northwestern University, Professor of Composition and Theory, Composition/Theory area coordinator,
- Amir Zaheri, M.M. Georgia State University, Director of Contemporary Ensemble, Instructor of Composition and Theory
- Stephen Peles, Ph.D. Princeton University, Associate Professor of Composition and Theory
- Thomas Robinson Ph.D., The City University of New York, Assistant Professor of Theory