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Music Theory

At Stanford music theory provides the technical foundations for music study; it informs students’ work in composition, performance, and musicology. And it is a concentration of its own, encouraging students to develop their understanding of music's inner workings through analysis, research, and practical engagement. Courses range from introductions to music notation, harmony, and aural skills to jazz harmony and advanced classes in the analysis of music from the 15th century to the present.


Giancarlo Aquilanti photo
Music Theory • Composition • Conducting • Wind Symphony
Erika Arul photo
Music Theory
Talya Berger photo
Music Theory • Early Music
Wind Symphony • Music Education • Music Theory
Tom Grey photo
Music History • Opera • German Studies • Musical Theater
Charles Kronengold
Music History • Popular Music • Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity • Media Theory
Murray Low photo
Jazz Piano • Jazz Ensembles • Music History
William Mahrt photo
Music History • Early Music • Vocal Studies
Jim Nadel photo
Jazz Combos • Music Theory
Jesse Rodin photo
Music History • Early Music • Vocal Studies
photo of François Rose
Composition • Music Theory • Media Theory • East Asian Studies
Erik Ulman photo
Composition • Music Theory • Music History


Music 19A: Introduction to Music Theory 
Music 19B: Intermediate Music Theory
Music 20A: Jazz Theory
Music 20B: Advanced Jazz Theory
Music 20C: Jazz Arranging and Composition
Music 21: Elements of Music I
Music 22: Elements of Music II
Music 23: Elements of Music III
Music 24A: Ear Training I
Music 24B: Ear Training II
Music 24C: Ear Training III
Music 122A: Counterpoint
Music 122B: Analysis of Tonal Music
Music 122C: Introduction to 20th-Century Composition
Music 126A: Introduction to Thoroughbass
Music 127A: Instrumentation and Orchestration
Music 127B: Advanced Orchestration
Music 129: Advanced Ear-Training/Musicianship
Music 132Music Education: Then, Now, and Then Again
Music 258A: Computational Music Theory & Analysis
Music 300A: Medieval Notation
Music 300B: Renaissance Notation
Music 300E: Analysis and Repertoire: Medieval and Renaissance
Music 300F: Analysis and Repertoire: Baroque to Early Romantic
Music 300G: Analysis and Repertoire: Late-Romantic to Contemporary
Music 305D: Analysis from a Compositional Perspective

Courses in the Spotlight

MUSIC 20A: Jazz Theory

Introduction to jazz through listening, analysis, and compositional exercises. Students will apply the fundamentals of music theory to the study of jazz.

MUSIC 19A: Introduction to Music Theory

Fundamentals of music theory and notation, basic sight reading and singing, ear training, keyboard harmony. Melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic dictation. Using piano and voice for development of music listening and reading skills. 







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