Music theory is concerned with how music works, and uses analysis to identify musical relationships, structures, and the procedures composers follow in the process of creating music. In seeking a deeper understanding of music, theorists employ analytic methods and modes of inquiry similar to those used in other disciplines, such as language study, literary criticism, mathematics, and psychology.
Whereas some study of music theory is required for all music majors, those with an emphasis in theory at the undergraduate level combine studies in performance, history, and other subjects with upper-level courses in music analysis and related topics. Advanced study in theory is useful for performers, conductors, composers, and other musicians who seek to elevate the level of their artistry.
At the graduate level, degrees in music theory are typically directed towards acquiring college-level teaching positions and producing scholarly work. Graduate degrees offered in UConn’s Department of Music include the Master of Arts degree in music theory and a joint theory-history Ph.D. degree. For further information on these programs, consult the Handbook for Graduate Music Students.