Music: Theory

All prospective undergraduate music majors must audition on an instrument or voice and be accepted into Mead Witter School of Music at the music major level (200 level) of performance study according to standard admission procedures. For students desiring to major in music theory, subsequent private lessons are not required and may only be available as space permits in individual studios. All prospective majors in the School of Music must pass a placement examination before enrolling in MUSIC 121 Musica Practica 1/MUSIC 171 Musica Practica: Aural Skills 1. Contact the undergraduate music office (5561 Mosse Humanities; 608-263-5986) for more information.

Students must complete MUSIC 121/MUSIC 171 and MUSIC 122 Musica Practica 2/MUSIC 172 Musica Practica: Aural Skills 2 before their petition to major in music theory can be considered, but should apply no later than the semester after completing MUSIC 122/MUSIC 172. The petition must consist of:

  1. a written request to the chair of the Music Theory Area outlining reasons for wanting to declare a major in music theory;
  2. a selection of papers and other written assignments completed for MUSIC 121 and MUSIC 122.

The area will decide whether to admit students to the major on the basis of grades in MUSIC 121/MUSIC 171 and MUSIC 122/MUSIC 172, cumulative grade point average (GPA), samples of written prose, and letters of application. The admission decision is based on multiple factors; no minimum GPA will guarantee admission to the music theory major. However, the Area does expect that a serious applicant would have attained a minimum GPA of 3.250 in the following areas:

  1. MUSIC 121/MUSIC 171 and MUSIC 122/MUSIC 172;
  2. other music courses;
  3. UW–Madison cumulative GPA.

As with admission to all majors within the Mead Witter School of Music, the music theory area faculty have the final authority to accept or deny a petition for admission. All majors will be assigned a faculty advisor within the area. Students accepted to the music theory major will be eligible to formally declare the major after they have completed the second year of the core music curriculum with a high quality of work as described above. After formal declaration of the major, students must maintain a grade of C or better in each subsequent music course taken.

Transfer students with sophomore standing or above who would like to petition for admission to the music theory major should submit:

  1. a written request to the Area chair outlining reasons for wanting to declare a major in music theory;
  2. a detailed description of previous coursework in music theory, including a dossier of course syllabi, assignments, examinations, etc.;
  3. an unofficial transcript or other verification of course grades; and
  4. samples of written prose, preferably from music courses.

Music: Theory Option Requirements

Transfer students should contact the Area chair to discuss their own particular situations. Criteria for admission to and retention in the major are the same as outlined in the previous paragraph.

Music Courses in Music Theory
MUSIC 121
MUSIC 171
Musica Practica 1
and Musica Practica: Aural Skills 1 (prerequisite course requirements)
4
MUSIC 122
MUSIC 172
Musica Practica 2
and Musica Practica: Aural Skills 2 (prerequisite course requirements)
4
MUSIC 221
MUSIC 271
Musica Practica 3
and Musica Practica: Aural Skills 3
4
MUSIC 222
MUSIC 272
Musica Practica 4
and Musica Practica: Aural Skills 4
4
Music Courses in Advanced-level Music Theory
Select 6 credits at the 400 level or above6
Music Courses in Music History
MUSIC 211 Survey of the History of Western Music3
MUSIC 212 Survey of the History of Western Music3
Select two of the following:
Music Cultures of the World: Africa, Europe, the Americas
Musical Cultures of the World
Musical Cultures of the World
Music of S.E. Asia: Tradition, Innovation, Politics, and Religion
Seminar: Cultural Study of Music
Survey of Music in the Middle Ages
Survey of Music in the Renaissance
Survey of Music in the Baroque Era
Survey of Music in the Classic Era
Survey of Music in the Romantic Era
Survey of Music in the Twentieth Century
Music in the United States
Seminar in Global Popular Music
Historical Performance Practices
Survey of Opera
Music Course for Senior Capstone Paper
MUSIC 499 Directed Study3
Music Electives Courses
Select 3 credits in music electives3
Music Course in Piano
Complete the following course or pass proficiency exam:
MUS PERF 102 Beginning Class Piano2
Total Credits36

Residence & Quality of Work

2.000 GPA in all MUSIC, MUS PERF and major courses

15 credits in MUSIC and/or MUS PERF, taken on campus

Courses that count toward this requirement are:

Music (660) Courses
MUSIC 40 Wind Ensemble1
MUSIC 41 Concert Band1
MUSIC 50 Concert Choir1
MUSIC 52 Women's Chorus1
MUSIC 53 Choral Union1
MUSIC 55 Masters' Singers1
MUSIC 61 Chamber Orchestra1
MUSIC 62 University Symphony Orchestra1
MUSIC 211 Survey of the History of Western Music3
MUSIC 212 Survey of the History of Western Music3
MUSIC 221 Musica Practica 33
MUSIC 222 Musica Practica 43
MUSIC 256 University Opera1-2
MUSIC 262 Jazz Ensemble1
MUSIC 265 Ensemble-Woodwind1
MUSIC 266 Black Music Ensemble1
MUSIC 267 Ensemble-Brass1
MUSIC 268 Ensemble-Percussion1
MUSIC 269 Ensemble-String1
MUSIC 270 Ensemble-Guitar1
MUSIC 271 Musica Practica: Aural Skills 31
MUSIC 272 Musica Practica: Aural Skills 41
MUSIC 273 Contemporary Chamber Ensemble1
MUSIC 319 Topics in Music and Ethnicity in the United States3
MUSIC 331 Jazz Improvisation3
MUSIC 332 Jazz Improvisation3
MUSIC 340 Pedagogy1-2
MUSIC 345 Practicum in String Pedagogy2
MUSIC 361 Non-Western Music Performance-Study Groups1
MUSIC/​AFROAMER  400 Music Cultures of the World: Africa, Europe, the Americas3
MUSIC/​FOLKLORE  401 Musical Cultures of the World3
MUSIC/​FOLKLORE  402 Musical Cultures of the World3
MUSIC/​FOLKLORE  404 Music of S.E. Asia: Tradition, Innovation, Politics, and Religion3
MUSIC 411 Survey of Music in the Middle Ages3
MUSIC 412 Survey of Music in the Renaissance3
MUSIC 413 Survey of Music in the Baroque Era3
MUSIC 414 Survey of Music in the Classic Era3
MUSIC 415 Survey of Music in the Romantic Era3
MUSIC 416 Survey of Music in the Twentieth Century3
MUSIC 419 Music in the United States3
MUSIC 461 Collegium Musicum1
MUSIC 467 Language Diction for Singing I2
MUSIC 468 Language Diction for Singing II2
MUSIC 497 Special Topics in Music1-3
MUSIC 499 Directed Study1-3
500 level and above
Music Performance (664)
MUS PERF 342 Piano Accompanying Lab1
MUS PERF 347 Third Year Composition3
MUS PERF 348 Third Year Composition3
400 level and above