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Guidelines: Comprehensive Examination in Music Theory

General Goals Demonstrate theoretical and analytical competence required to: 1. 2. 3. 4. Understand tonal and post-tonal musical structures and organization Provide the foundation to fulfill a productive role on a college or university faculty Foster continuous development of musicianship skills Promote intellectual curiosity and life-long learning

Doctoral Preliminary Examination Goals in Music Theory I. Tonal Theory A. Harmony and Form
Demonstrate thorough understanding of traditional tonal harmony and form

B. II.

Demonstrate basic understanding of Schenkerian theory/analysis

Post-tonal Theory and Analysis Demonstrate basic understanding of post-tonal theory/analysis Other Dimensions of Music Theory Demonstrate familiarity with one or more additional approaches to music theory/analysis, such as: 1. Analysis and performance 2. Theories of pedagogy 3. Theories of rhythm/meter/time 4. Theories of drama and narrative 5. Theories of influence 6. Implication/Realization 7. Transformational grammars 8. Semiotics 9. Grundgestalt theories (basic shape) Implications for performance (if applicable)



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usually centered on literature from the students primary area of study. 4. frame a specific question or set of questions to be answered by the project. The presentations may be scheduled on a graduate student colloquium or in some other venture. The student will make a brief presentation (c. the project director will notify the Director of Graduate Studies that the theory comprehensive examination has been successfully completed.FOR STUDENTS WHO CHOOSE TO DO TWO PAPERS AND ENTERED THE PROGRAM BEFORE JANUARY 1. When the second project has been finished. The proposal should define the scope of the project. The final proposal will serve as a contract for the project. if preliminary. in part. 2. Students may begin the projects any time after their first theory course. Within the two projects. explain why the topic is of interest. and cite specific. 5. 2 Updated 9/3/09 . 6. a member of the theory faculty. evidence from the music to support your argument. 2. and at least one item from the list of “other dimensions” are required. Each project should culminate in a formal analytical paper that articulates insights gained through the process of studying the work. outline of the paper and working bibliography (3 pages max. Doctoral Comprehensive Examinations in Music Theory: Writing Expectations Proposal 1. form. A proposal for each project will be negotiated between the student. The final product will be measured. 2008 Assessment through Projects 1.). The project may not be a term paper presented for a class but may be related to or a substantial extension of such a paper as agreed to by the theory professor and major professor. The paper should be of typical term paper length (not to exceed 25 pages excluding examples). 20 minutes) based on the paper in a public forum. 7. post-tonal analytical techniques. Students will complete two projects. one post-tonal and the other either tonal or pre-tonal. and the major professor from the student’s graduate committee. Prepare a brief formal proposal. against this proposal. 3. linear approaches.

4. Students are therefore expected to compile a bibliography of published literature relating to their project.” you might focus on how (1) melodic and (2) rhythmic jests play out in identifiable patterns throughout the movement. Explain and synthesize your observations about the music. By doing this. if your project is on “Musical Ambiguity in the First Movement of Brahms’s Horn Trio. begins with a bm6 chord followed by a C#Mm7 is of little interest unless you can explain why it is important: “The harmonies open the song lead us to believe it will be in F# minor. Avoid simply describing the music. they should only include relevant portions of the score. Use good judgment if you provide a historical background or other context for the compositions you discuss. you will probably want to include Benjamin Britten’s relationship with Peter Pears in your project on “Musical Encodings of Homosexuality in Peter Grimes. can be useful for conveying a large amount of information in a concise form. telling your readers that the song “Im wunderschonen Monat mai. For example.6 not only bring welcome relief from the unstable harmonic oscillations of mm. Op. graphs. Rather than glossing over a multitude of issues.” 2. charts. you will also avoid the trap of “blow-by-blow” analysis. but is that really relevant to your discussion of his Prelude a l’Apres-midi d’un faune? On the other hand. but also reveal the brighter key area in conjunction with the opening text about ‘the beautiful month of May’. rather than going through the movement measure by measure. rather than going through the movement chronologically. 1-5.” 3 Updated 9/3/09 .” from Schumann’s Dichterliebe. You must explain them in your written text. etc. Scholarly research involves dialog with others. which typically makes for excruciatingly dull reading. What should the reader observe about them specifically? What point(s) in your argument do they illustrate or support? All musical examples. etc. 3. 40. You cannot possibly say everything there is to say about a given piece. whether in person or through written responses to published work. Focus your project on one or two key questions or issues. unless such description is necessary to your argument. Debussy may have won the Prix de Rome in 1884. strengthen your arguments by going into as much detail as possible on just a few well-chosen issues. Thus the unexpected move to E major m. Similarly.” you might organize your paper around manifestations of (1) rhythmic and (2) harmonic ambiguity. All sources paraphrased or quoted directly must be appropriately cited in notes as well as in the bibliography. should include an example number. 6. they also require explanation in your written text. and a brief identifying caption. Thus. Tables.5 and the subsequent cadence on A major in m. referred to in the text. In addition. Musical examples are not self-explanatory.Music Analytical/Theoretical Writing 1. 5. and to incorporate and discuss relevant portions. for a project on “Musical Humor in the Second Movement of Beethoven’s Sonata for Piano and Violin in G Major. tables. Does the coda of a Mozart symphony neatly encapsulate all of the features you feel are important in the rest of the movement? Consider beginning your discussion with the coda and referring back to other relevant points in the work.

Resources For additional information on writing about music. Writing About Music: A Style Sheet from the Editors of 19th-century Music (Berkely: University of California Press. General Timelines for Completing Projects Fall Semester 1. Meter. Theses. Evaluation Procedures 1. Analysis of Contemporary Music (3) fall. Modern French Masters. see Kate Turabian. Form. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers. Stravinsky. Students may not begin the evaluation process until the first graduate theory course has been completed. Bartok. 6th ed. Course Recommendations Analytical Techniques for Post-Tonal Music **MTHC 732 Intro. refer to D. Students may not begin the second project until the first one has been completed. Exceptions will be considered by petition to the division of Music Theory and Composition. 3. Kern Holoman. MTHC strongly encourages and welcomes the major professor’s participation throughout the projects. OR **MTHC 733 Advanced Analysis of Contemporary Music (3) spring Tonal: Forms and Linear Techniques **MTHC 801 Analytical Techniques: OR **MTHC 820 Schenkerian Analysis (3) spring Other Graduate-Level Courses MTHC 778 MTHC 789 History of Music Theory (3) spring Seminar in: Special Topics (recent topics have included Rhythm. 2. For bibliographic information. and Dissertations. Gender and Theory. Shostakovich. 1988). 2. Project to be completed by the end of finals week. 1996). Proposal to be completed and approved by October 15. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Major professor involvement is necessary for proposal (contract) negotiation. 4 Updated 9/3/09 . Analysis and Performance) (3) spring Pedagogy of Music Theory MTHC 830 ** Recommended for students with little or no experience in the subject matter.

B465 M9 1989] Cone. 1978. New Haven: Yale University Press. 2. Classical Form: A Theory of Formal Functions for the Instrumental Music of Haydn. 1990. New York: Oxford University Press. [ML 60 . A Guide to Schenkerian Analysis. Project to be completed by the end of finals week. 3.C37 1998] Spencer. Joseph. 1973. Reprinted by Waveland Press. Leonard B. Mozart.M616 E95] Rhythm. Christopher. Edward. [MT6 N248 G8 1992] Set Theory And Post-Tonal Analysis Forte. New York: Schirmer.S96 1990] Analysis And Performance Berry. [MT 40 . Meter as Rhythm. Musical Structure and Musical Performance. A Practical Approach to the Study of Form in Music. NJ: Prentice-Hall.S968 F7] Straus. Shaping Time. Meter. Proposal to be completed by June 15. [MT 6 . Doctoral Comprehensive Exams in Music Theory: Reading List Form Caplin. 1968. Neumeyer. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1998. Englewood Cliffs. Schenker Cadwallader and Gagné. [MT 58 . David and Susan Tepping. Musical Form and Musical Performance. David. Englewood Cliffs. [ML 3850 . 1995. 2. 1992.H37 1997] 5 Updated 9/3/09 . New York: Oxford University Press. [MT 58 . 1988. [ML437 . New York: Oxford University Press. Wallace. 1998. Peter and Peter Tempko. Project to be completed by the last day of summer session. New York: Norton. Introduction to Post-Tonal Theory.E67 1995] Hasty. Analysis of Tonal Music: A Schenkerian Approach. Summer Session 1. and Beethoven. William. 1989. Englewood Cliffs. Proposal to be completed and approved by March 15. 1992. [MT 100 . Introduction to The Harmonic Organization of the Rite of Spring. NJ: Prentice-Hall.Spring Semester 1.C65] Implication-Realization Model Meyer. NJ: Prentice-Hall. Allen. Students wishing to conduct a project over the summer must enroll for at least 1 credit with the project director. Explaining Music: Essays and Explorations. and Time Epstein. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1997.

rev. I62] Newcomb. Cambridge.’” Music Analysis 16/1: 5-44. NJ: Princeton University Press. “Music as a Narrative. MA: MIT Press. Chicago. Fred and Ray Jackendoff. 1990. MA: Harvard University Press Korsyn. Joseph. Feminine Endings: Music. Carolyn. Berkely: University of California press. [ML 3877 . Harrison. Naomi. Phrase Rhythm in Tonal Music. 1994. 1991. ed. 1988. Thomas. Remaking the Past. Princeton: Princeton University Press. New York: Schirmer Books. 1983. Cambridge. V. [ML 3838. 1991. Fred Everett.N55] Philosophy and Music Clifton. 1987. Compositional Theory in the Eighteenth Century. 1989. “Schumann and Late Eighteenth-Century Narrative Strategies. Gender McClary. 1991. Jonathan. [ML 82 . Anthony. History of Theory Lester. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Kevin. [MT 6 . Playing with Signs: A Semiotic Interpretation of Classic Music. [ML 1. 1992. [MT 6 . and Sexuality. Music as Heard: A Study in Applied Phenomenology. Peter. 1991. Musicology and Difference: Gender and Sexuality in Music Scholarship. Princeton. Sound and Semblance: Reflections on Musical Representation.Kramer.L36 G4 1983] Semiotics Agawu. University of Chicago Press. “Towards a New Poetics of Musical Influence. [ML 3800 . 1992. New Listening Strategies.A317 1991] Cumming.” Indiana Theory Review 12: 1-34. ed. Kofi. New Temporalities. Raymond. [ML 1 . Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.A2 1991] Maus. Gender. 1997.M96155] Monelle. Harmonic Function in Chromatic Music: A Renewed Dualist Theory and an Account of its Precedents. 1983. “The Subjectivities of ‘Ebarme Dich. Joel. Ruth. [ML 3838 . New Haven: Yale University Press. Unsung Voices: Opera and Musical Narrative in the Nineteenth Century. Philadelphia: Harwood Academic Publishers. 1993. Joseph. Daniel.” 19th-Century Music 11/2: 164-74. Influence Straus. General Linguistics Lerdhal. The Time of Music: New Meanings.C6 1983] Kivy. 1991.M38 1991] Solie. New York: Schirmer.” Musical Analysis 10/1-2: 3-72. [ML 3858. Linguistics and Semiotics in Music. A Generative Theory of Tonal Music.K695 1988] Rothstein. 1991.M96 1993] Drama and Narratology Abbate. 6 Updated 9/3/09 . Susan. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.