Theory & Skills

The Manhattan School of music theory department offers a unique series of courses in music theory specifically designed for the performing musician and for composers at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

In addition to traditional classroom studies in counterpoint, harmony, form, rhythm, ear-training, dictation and sight-singing, the School's theory program features:

  • A distinctive weekly lecture series by our theory faculty and guests on topics ranging from music in the Middle Ages to trends in contemporary music. The lectures both enhance and reflect the work done by students in their regular theory classes and provide an interdisciplinary approach that draws parallels to their studies in music history and the humanities.  Methods of presentation include traditional lecture format, narrative-style lectures, and interactive lectures involving student performance.
  • Elective courses that provide studies of topics relevant to performers and composers, including the concertos of Mozart; the sonatas and string quartets of Beethoven; the operas of Strauss, Berg, and Britten; rhythmic analysis; theory and skills pedagogy; orchestration; performance/analysis courses; and 20th-century music.

The theory department also provides special classes and services to meet a variety of needs:

  • Remedial classes for students who need to reinforce their basic skills in music
  • A separate track in aural skills studies for voice majors
  • Qualifying examinations for students prepared to move to higher levels of study
  • A tutoring program for students requiring assistance in their course work
  • Graduate assistantships for DMA candidates skilled in theory, providing the opportunity to be involved in teaching, tutoring, and research within the theory department

Our theory faculty members past and present have been involved in lecture presentations and seminars at institutions and conferences throughout the world, including the University of Aix-en-Provence, Rutgers University, the University of Helsinki, Université de Provence, University of Bologna, Seoul National University, the University of Syracuse, the Camargo Foundation, the New England Conference of Theorists, and the University of Leipzig.  The Core Theory Lecture Series has featured a number of esteemed guest lecturers from New York City-area colleges and universities.

Specific courses and degree sequence plans can be found in the Course Catalog.


Reiko Fueting

Department Chair

Theory & Skills Faculty

Reiko Fueting  (Theory and Composition)
Carol Ann Aicher  (Advanced Teaching Techniques/Performance Technique)
Peter Andreacchi  (Theory)
Hayes Biggs  (Theory)
Yu-Pin Hsu  (Biomechanics/Ergonomics for Performers)
David Macdonald  (Director of Composer's Forum, Theory)
Paolo Marchettini  (Theory)
Barbara McCrane  (Alexander Technique)
J. Mark Stambaugh  (Acting Chair of Composition)
Chris Vassiliades  (Theory)