Areas of Study

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Composition and Theory (MUTH) Classes

Please note that not all courses are offered every semester. This listing is not considered authoritative. Please visit Access.SMU for authoritative course offerings including meeting times, professor, and more.

MUTH 1129, 1130: Musicianship I and II
Beginning studies in solfeggio, melodic and harmonic dictation. Must be taken in sequence. Fall and spring terms. Corequisites: MUTH 1229, 1230. 

MUTH 1229, 1230: Music Theory I, II
Rudiments (notation, clefs, key signatures, intervals, scales, modes), diatonic and chromatic harmony, figured bass, part-writing, analysis. Must be taken in sequence. Fall and spring terms. Corequisites: MUTH 1129, 1130. 

MUTH 1301: Fundamentals of Music Theory
A survey-level course for nonmusic majors or minors covering the fundamentals of tonal music. Topics include the recognition; writing; basic aural realization; and use of pitch, rhythm, meter, chords, scales, key signatures, melody, and harmony in tonal music. The class format is lecture and discussion with in-class application through rhythmic reading and singing.

MUTH 2129, 2130: Musicianship III, IV
Continuation of Musicianship I and II. Solfeggio, melodic and harmonic dictation employing chromaticism, 20th-century materials. Must be taken in sequence. Fall and spring terms. Prerequisites: MUTH 1130, 1230. Corequisites: MUTH 2229, 2230. 

MUTH 2229, 2230: Music Theory III, IV
Continuation of Theory I and II covering the Romantic and 20th-century repertoires. Emphasis on traditional harmonization exercises, beginning studies in musical form, and introduction to current analytical methods. Must be taken in sequence. Fall and spring terms. Prerequisites: MUTH 1130, 1230. Corequisites: MUTH 2129, 2130.

MUTH 3117: Songwriting Lab
Guided work-shopping of songs through group sharing and comprehensive application of information provided in MUTH 3217. Corequisite: MUTH 3217 or permission of instructor. 

MUTH 3200, 3300: Private Composition
Individual study with the composition faculty and regularly scheduled seminars with faculty and visiting guests. Fall and spring terms. Prerequisite: Admission to the composition degree program.

MUTH 3217: Songwriting
Development of songwriting knowledge and skills, including essential components of a song, basic song forms, multiple approaches to starting and completing songs, recording basics, and related aspects of music law. Corequisite: MUTH 3117. 

MUTH 3350: Form and Analysis
Study of musical form through examples from pre-tonal and tonal literatures. Prerequisites: MUTH 2130, 2230. 

MUTH 4184, 4284, 4384: Directed Studies in Music Theory
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

MUTH 4190, 4290, 4390: Directed Studies in Music Composition
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

MUTH 4300: Analysis of Contemporary Music
Detailed analysis of recent music written in a variety of styles and using diverse techniques. The course will also explore early 20th-century antecedents of more recent music. Analysis and discussion will be supported by readings from theoretical articles and composers’ writings. Prerequisites: MUTH 2129, 2130, and 2229, 2230.

MUTH 4310: Introduction to Electro-Acoustic Music
This course covers historical and emerging concepts and techniques of composing, performing, and listening to both fixed and interactive electro-acoustic music via lectures and laboratory projects. Topics include basic acoustics, hardware and software tools for the generation, processing, and reproduction of musical sound, and the history and literature of electronically generated music. Students will complete individual and collaborative projects applying their studies to the recording, creation and performance of both fixed and real-time interactive creative projects. Prerequisite: MUTH 2130, 2230 or consent of instructor.

MUTH 4311: Topics in Electro-Acoustic Music
Advanced investigation into a variety of topics in electro-acoustic music and technology-related musical art forms. Topics are announced each term the course is offered and may include film music, MIDIstration, real-time interactive performance using MAX/MSP/JITTER, algorithmic composition, and technology-related interdisciplinary collaboration. Repeatable. Prerequisite: MUTH 4310/6310, MSA 3310, or permission of instructor. 

MUTH 5325: Class Composition
A composition course for non-composition majors. Topics include notational practices, contemporary and traditional approaches to composition through study of model works from the literature, in-class presentation, reading,  and critique of projects, and professional standards for the creation and distribution of scores, parts, and recordings of compositions and arrangements. Prerequisite: MUTH 2130, 2230 or permission of instructor. Restricted to Music Majors.

MUTH 5330: Instrumentation and Arranging
An overview of the ranges and performing characteristics of orchestral/band instruments and vocalists, with practical application via scoring and arranging for a variety of small instrumental and vocal ensembles. Prerequisites: MUTH 2130, 2230. 

MUTH 5360: Advanced Orchestration
The practical fundamentals and more advanced techniques of orchestration are explored through a series of scoring projects for a variety of ensembles. Prerequisites: MUTH 5330 or permission of instructor. 

MUTH 5370: Survey of Counterpoint
Through exercises in analysis and composition, this course provides a study of contrapuntal techniques from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, with emphasis on traditional modal and tonal styles. 

MUTH 6010: Keyboard Skills
A review of basic score reading, keyboard harmony, sight reading and figured-bass realization for graduate students who are studying music theory or composition and who require additional competency in these areas.

MUTH 6023, 6124: Graduate Theory Review
Intensive remedial work in aural perception and/or music theory based on the results of the Graduate Music Theory Diagnostic Examination.

MUTH 6125: Graduate Theory Review
Required of students needing to attain 13–17 competencies in music theory or aural skills as determined by the theory placement exam.

MUTH 6181: Thesis in Composition
Culminating research/creative project for music composition majors. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

MUTH 6184, 6284, 6384: Directed Studies in Theory
A close collaboration between a faculty member and an advanced student who conducts a rigorous project that goes beyond the experience available in current course offerings.Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

MUTH 6190, 6290, 6390: Directed Studies in Composition
Composition projects under the direction of faculty. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

MUTH 6300: Analysis of Contemporary Music
Detailed analysis of recent music written in a variety of styles and using diverse techniques. The course will also explore early 20th-century antecedents of more recent music. Analysis and discussion will be supported by readings from theoretical articles and composers’ writings.

MUTH 6310: Introduction to Electro-Acoustic Music
An introduction to the historical and emerging techniques, concepts and perspectives of composing, performing and listening to both fixed and interactive electro-acoustic music. Topics covered include basic acoustics; hardware and software tools for the generation, processing and reproduction of musical sound; and the history and literature of electronically generated music. Students will complete individual and collaborative projects applying their studies to the recording, creation and performance of both fixed and real-time interactive creative projects.

MUTH 6311: Topics in Electro-Acoustic Music
This course will provide advanced investigation into a variety of topics in electro-acoustic music. The focus will be on practical application and requisite technical understanding. Possible topics include MIDIstration, real-time interactive performance using MAX/MSP/JITTER, signal-processing applications in performance, algorithmic composition and synthesis. Topics will be announced each term the course is offered. Students may take this course more than once.

MUTH 6326: Seminar in Music Analysis
A study of analytical methods applicable to music from a specific repertoire to be determined with each course offering. Offered irregularly.

MUTH 6328, 6329: Composition
Individual study with the composition faculty and regularly scheduled seminars with faculty and visiting guests. Student will be assigned additional analytical and/or compositional projects. Fall and spring terms.

MUTH 6330: Analytical Techniques
A survey of analytical methods applicable to music from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.

MUTH 6355: Pedagogy of Theory
Exploration of philosophies and methods, review of materials and resources available to the theory instructor, and design of a curriculum and syllabus. Practice teaching experience. Prerequisite: Successful completion of the Graduate Music Theory Diagnostic Examination or Graduate Theory Review.

MUTH 6356: Practicum in Theory Pedagogy
Teaching experience supervised by department faculty. Includes a final project subject to department approval. 

MUTH 6360: Analysis of Tonal Music
The study of harmony, voice leading and form with techniques of reduction in music of the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods. Applications of theoretical ideas to performance and pedagogy are also discussed.

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