Theory and Composition

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The program in composition, music history and theory aims to develop the aural skills needed by all musicians, to provide the necessary theoretical knowledge for the continuing study and performance of music, to develop analytical and esthetic understanding of music forms and styles, and to foster the creative impulse in music.

Required musicianship and historiography courses, Contemporary Trends, Music Since 1900, and elective theory and music history courses form the core of undergraduate study. All baccalaureate candidates must elect an additional music history course and a level I theory course; Bachelor of Music candidates, must also elect a level II theory course. All theory electives are defined as level I or level II under course descriptions.

Incoming undergraduates take placement tests and may be required to take Introduction to Musicianship before beginning the core sequence of studies in musicianship. Exemption from and credit for required college-level courses may be earned by passing examinations administered by the department. These examinations are intended for entering freshmen and transfer students only.

Incoming undergraduates who hold scores of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement Examination in Music Theory will receive credit by examination for TH141, Musicianship I.

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Theory and music history electives

Elective courses provide students with opportunities to apply their skills to specific areas of inquiry after satisfying specific prerequisites. The core requirements for Bachelor of Music students include one music history elective and two music theory electives. Bachelor of Music students may meet the theory requirement by taking one level I elective (preferably after completing TH142 and before taking TH241) and one level II elective, or else by taking two level II electives. The core requirements for Bachelor of Arts in Music students include only one music theory level I elective. Level I theory electives include TH237, 251, 422, 521, and 534. Level II theory electives include TH252, 350, 431, 432, 433, 523, and 533.

Music Computing Center

Westminster maintains a music computing facility in which students can compose, orchestrate, and print their compositions in publishable quality using computers interfaced with sampler/synthesizers as well as sequencing and music printing software.