Music Theory & Composition: Bachelor of Music

The purpose of the music theory and composition program is to develop a student’s musical understanding through score analysis, performance, and the creation of new music.  Special attention is paid to gaining fluency with musical concepts and topics through a graduated and integrated curriculum.

Music Admissions, Auditions, & Scholarship Information

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Dr. Bernie Scherr-Music Department Head of Music Theory & Composition

Dr. Bernie Scherr

Department Head of Music Theory & Composition, Professor of Music

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  • Bachelor of Music in Theory and Composition (B.M.-TC)


  • Music Theory

Why study Music Theory & Composition at HSU?

HSU music major students playing the piano and tuba


Students are encouraged to experiment with the musical elements they study in the theory curriculum as they develop their inner ear, their unique compositional voice. Many students have their works performed by HSU ensembles while in school.

A music student performs on the cello.

Electronic & Scoring

The School of Music computer lab offers students the opportunity to integrate electronic elements into their music. HSU students are also encouraged to compose music for film.

A music student plays the xylophone.

Recital & Portfolio

Students learn to compose for a wide variety of ensembles and instruments before graduating. All students pursuing the BM-TC degree are required to present a 30-50 minute recital of original works. The music for this recital will be part of the student’s composition portfolio, which will be bound and deposited in the School of Music library. The portfolio is music that has met a high standard in artistry and notation.

Program Details

All courses and course descriptions for each degree type can be found in the Undergraduate Catalog:

All HSU students are eligible for this program.

Career opportunities include composer, writing music on commission or for publication, electronic composer, arranging music written by others, songwriter, orchestrator, music copyist, and educator/teacher of composition and music theory.

The minor provides minimal exposure to music theory and composition for music majors. The music theory minor (MUTC) focuses on analytical skills and composition of music and is reserved for music majors only.

This minor is for music majors, only.

Required Courses

  • MUTC 2234-2238 Composition I & II – 4
  • MUTC 3323-3234 Counterpoint* – 4
  • MUTC 4233 History of Theory or MUTC 4234 Schenkerian Analysis – 2
  • MUTC 4099 Individual Project in Music Analysis – 1
  • MUTC 4235 Post-tonal Theory – 2
  • MUTC 4333 Pedagogy of Theory – 3

Total 16 hours

*If a student replaces counterpoint for orchestration, he/she must take orchestration for the minor.