Theory/Composition

Theory/Composition Faculty

Faculty Member Title Contact Biography
Au
Dr. Hiu-Wah Au
Associate Professor of Music Theory
Room 222, Broyhill Music Center
(828) 262-7786
Harbinson
Dr. William G. Harbinson
Professor of Music Theory
Room 202, Broyhill Music Center
(828) 262-8168
Hjertmann
Dr. Ben Hjertmann
Assistant Professor, Coordinator of Composition
Room 223, Broyhill Music Center
(828) 262-6443
Snodgrass
Dr. Jennifer Snodgrass
Professor, Coordinator of Music Theory
Room 419, Broyhill Music Center
(828) 262-7231

Overview

The Masters in Theory/Composition is a two-year sequence during which students develop their craft by composing for a variety of instruments and ensembles.  Masters students refine their compositional skill and personal voice through the creation of new works, collaboration with peers, and study of contemporary music. 

Masters students have individual weekly lessons and participate in the Composition Forum.  The Forum includes presentations of original work by students and faculty, guest artists, improvisation, collaboration, professional development, and lecture/discussions.  

During their studies, composers will investigate 20th/21st Century repertoire, theoretical techniques, and performance practices. Graduate composers have the opportunity to use the Electronic Music Studio for work with audio, MIDI, live electronics, or synchronizing with film. 

Masters students are expected to begin their professional career through competitions, summer programs, conferences, publishing, professional website, recordings, and collaborations with professional ensembles.

Assistantships and teaching opportunities are available.

The composition program at Appalachian State embraces a multitude of stylistic influences and interests. 

Contact Dr. Ben Hjertmann at hjertmannba@appstate.edu for more information or to schedule an interview.

Admissions Information

General Admission Requirements

Audition/Interview Information:

Once accepted into Appalachian State University's Cratis Williams Graduate School, all students wishing to enter the School of Music as Theory/Composition majors must successfully complete an audition on their principal instrument or voice. Dr. Ben Hjertmann also requires an interview of all prospective graduate students and a letter of recommendation from their undergraduate composition teacher(s). The School of Music schedules four audition/interview dates each year. In addition, individual appointments are possible. Contact Dr. Ben Hjertmann for scheduling an interview. If a student has studied composition at the undergraduate level for several semesters, an undergraduate degree in theory/composition is not required, although, most of our incoming graduate students have earned the BA or BM in theory/composition. NOTE: portfolios should be submitted two weeks prior to the interview.

Degree Course Requirements

Course Requirements for the Master of Music in Performance Semester Hours Required (minimum): 32 or 35 - varies by concentration - see below
Required Courses
  • AMU 6xxx: Applied Music (8)
  • MUS 5006: Philosophy of Music (3)
  • MUS 5170: Professional and Scholarly Practices for Musicians (3)
  • MUS 5013: History of Musical Style (3) 
  • MUS 5018: Applied Area Literature – topics depend upon concentration (3) 
  • MUS 5600: Analytical Techniques (3)
23
Concentration

Music Composition Concentration (Code: 558Z) 
Semester hours required for the degree (minimum): 32

  • MUS 5100: Performance Ensemble (1+1=2) 
  • MUS 5999: Thesis (2-4) 
  • 3-5 s.h. of music electives chosen in consultation with an advisor
9-11

Schedule of Course Offerings

Courses offered each Fall Semester:

  • MUS 5170 Professional and Scholarly Practices for Musicians
  • MUS 5600 Analytical Techniques 

Courses offered each Spring Semester:

  • MUS 5006 Philosophy of Music 
  • MUS 5013 History of Musical Style
  • MUS 5602 Music Theory Pedagogy (Even years only)

Assistantships and Scholarships