The Music Theory/Composition Division provides all music students with the academic background needed to understand the structures and functions of music through written theory, analysis, composition, and aural skills. In so doing, it gives future performers, educators, composers, theorists, and historians essential skills for professional work.
Description of degrees
The purpose of the Bachelor of Music degree in Theory/Composition is to prepare students to become skilled composers through the study of diverse musical styles and to give students the essential academic background in order to pursue graduate studies in music theory and/or composition. The composition track is adaptable so that students can become familiar with writing for the educational market. Through this degree program, composition students are able to develop skills in a variety of media, from acoustic to
The purpose of the Master of Music degree in Theory/Composition is to develop
professional and scholarly competence in music theory and composition beyond the
undergraduate level in classical and/or jazz styles, and using acoustic and/or electronic media. The program prepares students for doctoral study in music theory and composition and for careers as leaders in the arts and in arts education.
Master of Music Degree in Theory/Composition
- a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
- GRE scores acceptable to the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, Graduate School
- a scholarly paper in music theory and/or analysis (approximately 5 pages minimum)
- samples of written compositions and audio recordings, if student wishes to focus on acoustic composition (not required of students intending to write a theoretical thesis)
- audio and/or audio/visual recordings of work, if student wishes to focus on music media (not required of students intending to write a theoretical thesis)
- a sufficient score on the graduate music theory placement exam
- a sufficient score on an aural skills exam (for students applying to become a graduate assistant in music theory)
- a keyboard test (for students applying to become a graduate assistant in music theory)
In the semester prior to the commencement of thesis research, the student must select an adviser and three other professors who serve on the advisory committee. The adviser chairs the advisory committee. The student must submit a thesis proposal to each of the committee members, including the advisor (chair). The members will comment on it and will then approve or reject it. A unanimous approval from all committee members is required. The proposal must identify whether the thesis will be exclusively theoretical or will be a composition with supporting analysis.
The student must first describe the topic to be investigated, discuss why the
student wishes to pursue the topic, and justify the value of pursuing the topic in a scholarly investigation.
The student must describe how the investigation will unfold in general terms,
usually by identifying thesis chapter topics.
The student must compile a timeline of deadlines by which various stages of the
thesis must be completed. Included in this are the School of Music deadlines and the Graduate School’s deadlines. Other deadlines, such as when a first draft is due and when the student expects to consult with advisory committee members other than the adviser, must be projected.
- The student must first describe the instrumentation and/or electronic media to be used in the composition and give an estimate on the approximate length of the composition (usually 8 minutes or more)
The student should include a general description of the analysis that will
accompany the composition, including theories or compositional techniques relevant to the student’s compositional style that will be used in the analysis
- If relevant, the proposal must develop a plan for the performance of the thesis music, whether it occurs on a solo recital, as a part of the recital, or as a part of an orchestra rehearsal, reading, or concert
- The student must compile a timeline of deadlines by which various stages of the thesis must be completed, including the performance. Also included in this are the School of Music deadlines and the Graduate School’s deadlines. Other deadlines, such as when a first draft is due and when the student expects to consult with advisory committee members other than the adviser, must be projected.
- The written Comprehensive Exam in for the MM in Music Theory/Composition will consist of the Graduate Listening Exam and of questions given by individual members on the advisory committee.
- The student is responsible for asking each committee member for possible guidelines on material to study for the committee member’s question.
- The adviser assembles the questions from the committee members and administers the written comprehensive exam using the Comprehensive Exam Question Form.
- After finishing the exam, the student must print 4 copies of his or her answers, one for each committee member, and must submit the answers to the committee members
- Both the written and oral components of the Comprehensive Exam must be taken in the semester immediately prior to graduation at the latest.
- A unanimous vote of the committee is required for the student to pass.
- The oral component of the Comprehensive exam must be scheduled at least 2 weeks after the committee members have received a copy of the written answers, but before the Graduate School’s deadline. The Chair of the student’s Advisory Committee will determine whether the Chair or the student will oversee the scheduling of the exam.
Masters of Music in Theory/Composition with Music Media Emphasis
Students may emphasize music media within the area of Theory/Composition, developing areas of specialty in individual study with faculty.
Graduates of the Music Media program at UL Lafayette are presently working in a variety of positions within the industry, including recording engineer, live sound engineer, composer of TV and advertising music, touring musician, and in record company marketing and promotions, or continuing their studies in graduate school.