The Bachelor of Music (B.Mus) program in Theory/Composition offers theory and composition training and experience to support the development of personal style. It offers preparation for continued study and entry into the professional music world. Our faculty include award-winning composers, representing a diversity of styles. Students may study a variety of topics in class and privately: traditional and electronic composition, orchestration and arranging, analyses of counterpoint, style and history.
The Cali School is the home of the Harry Partch Institute, and hosts the largest collection of Partch Instruments in the world. Theory/Composition majors may take advantage of this unique opportunity to work with the Partch Instruments.
Guest composers and theorists are frequently invited to lecture and interact with our students. Recent guests have included Jennifer Higdon, Thomas Oboe Lee, Lei Liang, and Krzysztof Penderecki.
The Bachelor of Music in Theory/Composition includes six semesters of music theory; six semesters of private theory or composition lessons; eight semesters of the composition seminar; three semesters of music history and one of world music; four semesters of private study on an instrument; and courses in keyboard study, conducting, electronic music, and instrument methods. Students have many opportunities throughout their studies to present their compositions in masterclasses and recitals that lead to a senior recital of their original works. Our faculty, including Ting Ho (Chair), Patrick Burns, Marla Meissner, Ruth Rendleman and Scott Richards, work closely with students to develop their original ideas.
Prospective students must show evidence of composition skills in order to be admitted to the program.
Link to Undergraduate Catalog: course listing
The M.A. degree program in Theory/Composition offers advanced studies to support the development of students' personal styles. We offer classes and private lessons in a wide variety of topics, including traditional and electronic composition, orchestration, arranging, counterpoint analysis, style and history. New student works are performed frequently before faculty, mentors, peers and guest artists during masterclasses and recitals. Recent guest composers have included Thomas Oboe Lee, Lei Liang, and Jennifer Higdon. Each year the MSU Symphony and the Shanghai Quartet read works by student composers. Cali School faculty theorists and composers, including Ting Ho (Chair), Patrick Burns, Marla Meissner, Ruth Rendleman and Scott Richards, work closely with students to help develop their individual ideas. The MSU Cali School is the home of the Harry Partch Institute, and hosts the largest collection of Partch Instruments in the world. You may take advantage of this unique opportunity to work with these instruments.
The goal of the Theory/Composition program is to prepare students for the professional music world and doctoral programs. The school prides itself to being open to all styles and aesthetics of music as demonstrated by the varying styles of the faculty. Students are encouraged to find their own compositional voices, as well as discovering and studying old and new sounds and aesthetics.
Students must show evidence of strong composition skills in order to be admitted to the program.
Harry Partch Institute Microtonal Music Studies
This program is available to music majors who wish to earn a minor in Harry Partch Microtonal Studies. It is a specialized program that requires a basic level of understanding of music.
Harry Partch (1901-1974) was active between 1930 and 1972 as a composer, theorist and instrument inventor. He built his instruments in a new microtonal tuning system for the performance of music dramas, dance theater, multi-media extravaganzas, vocal music and chamber music. Influences for his work included Greek mythology, Asian and Native American music and his experiences as a hobo. He developed a "concept of corporeality" based on the integration of the elements of speech with music that explored expanded melodic and harmonic possibilities. He was the author of a treatise, Genesis of a Music that explained his philosophy and theory of intonation.
- Performance: Microtonal Music Ensemble - performance of works by Harry Partch, other microtonal composers and student compositions.
- History: The life and works of Harry Partch - survey of works, Partch's concept of Corporeality, introduction to instruments, tuning system and notation.
- Theory/Composition: Modern Just Intonation - in depth study of Harry Partch's tuning system, instruments, compositional applications by Partch and others, notation.
- Theory/Composition: Creative Composition Projects - composition projects with goal of performance by Microtonal Music Ensemble.
- Music Instrument Repair and Invention Learning through hands-on maintenance of the Newband/Harry Partch Instrument Collection. Independent and small-group projects to replicate and/or develop new instruments.
- Private Composition Instruction
- Private Instrumental Instruction
For more information, contact:
Harry Partch Institute
For B.Mus. and M.A. programs:
Prof. Ting Ho
For Harry Partch Institute:
Prof. Charles Corey
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