• Theory

    Music Theory

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        College of Performing Arts
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        212.229.5150 or 800.292.3040
        performingarts@newschool.edu

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    • Develop your talent in a unique learning environment with world-class faculty. New York City is at the crossroads of American music and the faculty who teach at Mannes are active participants in the evolution of the future of music. At Mannes you will find a mentor who will not only help you develop the advanced technique necessary to compete in any setting but will also nurture your creative-self in a way that will help you to chart your own path as a 21st-century artist.

      The scholarly study of theory at Mannes has been significant to the tradition and reputation of the school from its beginnings, particularly in its looking at the main developments of the past 400-500 years through Schenkerian analysis as an integrating force for musical performance. Since Heinrich Schenker's student Hans Weisse began teaching Schenkerian analysis at Mannes in 1931, Mannes faculty continue to infuse Schenkerian theory into their intellectual approach.

      Our theory faculty includes distinguished theorists like Carl Schachter and Robert Cuckson. Mannes faculty regularly present papers in major conferences, and many graduates go on to doctoral studies and jobs both in the field and in academia. Professor Lynne Rogers, former president of the Society of Music Theory and an expert on Stravinsky, leads the department.

      Mannes students are taught to observe and go deeply into the form of the music they play, from the unfolding of motivic design to the array of harmonies that lead toward cadences. For example, if studying a piece, students learn to ask, "What is important? What is core? What is the moment of illumination?" This emphasis on directionality and the attempt to reach "musical goals" in music speaks to a larger insight into the role of the musician as an expert storyteller, a conveyor of ideas and emotions to an audience built on a deep understanding of every aspect of a piece. Every Mannes student works at this dimensional awareness to approach musical events as an attempt to reveal the art and meaning of a composition in the moment. This requires thorough preparation.

      Within a close-knit community of theorists and performers, Mannes' Master of Music program in Theory, offers a thorough grounding in theory; analysis, including Schenkerian analysis, for which Mannes is internationally known; pedagogy; musicianship, which incorporates advanced dictation, keyboard skills, score reading, and reading in all clefs. Beyond this standard curriculum, students in the program in theory have ample opportunity to develop their own interests in the field, through a combination of graduate seminars and independent study with faculty mentors, and to prepare for doctoral work.   

      The vibrancy of music theory study at Mannes is enhanced through extracurricular events, including the Techniques of Music Distinguished Scholars Lecture Series, the biennial Graduate Student Conference, the septennial Mannes International Schenker Symposium, and other, more informal scholarly activities. Experience in tutoring is available through a limited number of graduate assistantships to the Techniques of Music Department and other means.



  • Degrees

    Mannes School of Music offers an academic experience that pairs artistic foundations with a rich variety of entrepreneurial and experiential opportunities. Learn more about our degree programs.

  • Our award-winning faculty bring their experience as performers, musicologists, creators, and educators into the classroom-challenging and guiding students to become better artists.

  • Performance & Learning Opportunities

    A cornerstone of the Mannes curriculum is the unique performance and making experiences that happen outside of the traditional conservatory training. At Mannes, you can collaborate with students from a variety of disciplines in the arts and beyond, and work with industry-leading partners throughout New York City, to hone your skills as a 21st-century artist.

    Dust with Umbrellas
    Orchestra and Dancers
    New Music Mannes

    Take the Stage in New York City.

    Find yourself performing at Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall, apprenticing with members of the Orchestra of St. Luke's, joining the Martha Graham Dance Company in performances at NY City Center, or taking part in New York's avant garde opera scene through one of Mannes's cutting-edge productions. Experience first-hand what it's like to be a working musician in one of the most vibrant music scenes in the world.

    Experiment. Collaborate. Perform.

    Don't just learn how to play your instrument, learn how to perform. Develop your talent alongside peers from the College of Performing Arts, Parsons, and across The New School to create multi-disciplinary projects with theater directors, designers, and media students. Record an album with jazz students. Improvise on your instrument along with actors. You'll never run out of opportunities to grow and showcase your talent in new and original ways.

    Chart Your Own Course.

    Today's artists do more than one thing. Performers are composers, composers are improvisers, and musicians are activists. At Mannes, you can develop your artistry through a curriculum that goes beyond that of the traditional conservatory. In courses like The Stone Workshops, Improv Artists Lab, and The Digital Revolution, you'll have the opportunity to play alongside boundary-breaking artists and award-winning faculty members. Take courses that will push you to make music in new and inspired ways.

  • Take The Next Step

Submit your application

Undergraduates

To apply to any of our undergraduate programs (except the Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students and Parsons Associate of Applied Science programs) complete and submit the Common App online.

Undergraduate Adult Learners

To apply to any of our Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students and Parsons Associate of Applied Science programs, complete and submit the New School Online Application.

Graduates

To apply to any of our Master's, Doctoral, Professional Studies Diploma, and Graduate Certificate programs, complete and submit the New School Online Application.

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