The department of music theory develops and delivers the conservatory's core music theory curriculum taken by all conservatory students (and open to all Lawrence students) and offers a major in music theory for conservatory students who seek pre-professional training in the discipline.
Students at the Lawrence Conservatory acquire a strong foundation in music theory and analysis through the five-term music theory core sequence. By taking courses concurrently in written music theory, aural skills and sight-singing, students gain a deep and comprehensive understanding of tonal harmony, counterpoint, harmonic and formal analysis, and contemporary techniques.
Building on the foundation established by the core curriculum, the department offers a rich variety of upper-level courses in music theory and analysis. In addition to providing thorough instruction in 16th- and 18th-century counterpoint, these courses introduce students to more advanced topics of theoretical inquiry, such as Schenkerian analysis, tonality after the common practice, pitch-class set theory, and performance and analysis, while also engaging analytically with specific repertoires, such as minimalist music, film music, and contemporary opera.
The department also serves the needs and interests of non-music majors, who may take a one-term course in music fundamentals or enroll in the five-term core theory curriculum.