Project Title

Broadening the Western Music Theory Canon

Academic department under which the project should be listed

Music

Faculty Sponsor Name

Peter Fielding

no human subjects

Project Type

Event

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Western Classical Music Theory of the Common Practice Period (~1650-1900) is centered around the repertoire of male composers that have been celebrated throughout the annals of Music Theory. The works of prominent male composers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries including W.A. Mozart (1756-1791), J.S. Bach (1685-1750), L. Beethoven (1770-1827), F. Schubert (1797-1828), and G. Verdi (1813-1901), would directly influence instruction and study of the stylistic periods. This fixation on such a small number of composers would serve as an instructional canon of examples of key concepts within undergraduate music theory spanning from the classical period to modern times, leaving little space to consider repertoire of women and BIPOC composers. Our research serves to broaden the Music Theory canon by identifying compositions from underrepresented groups of composers to expand repertoire used in undergraduate Music Theory and Aural Skills curriculum. This research explores a wide range of readily available music repertoire composed by women and BIPOC composers within the KSU library and online music databases such as The International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP). These resources have given an opportunity to explore and assess a wider range of compositions that align with undergraduate Aural Skills and Music Theory, giving the opportunity to advocate, foster, and promote a broadened spectrum of music theory repertoire. By including works from the composers identified in this research, students will be given the opportunity to broaden their exposure to a wider range of important and exciting music, thus expanding their repertoire for performance and personal enjoyment. Through sharing this rich diversity of repertoire, this research serves to expose music students and audiences alike to a fuller and more diverse range of composers within the Common Practice Period to help classical music shed its perceived image as an “elite” art form.

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Broadening the Western Music Theory Canon

Western Classical Music Theory of the Common Practice Period (~1650-1900) is centered around the repertoire of male composers that have been celebrated throughout the annals of Music Theory. The works of prominent male composers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries including W.A. Mozart (1756-1791), J.S. Bach (1685-1750), L. Beethoven (1770-1827), F. Schubert (1797-1828), and G. Verdi (1813-1901), would directly influence instruction and study of the stylistic periods. This fixation on such a small number of composers would serve as an instructional canon of examples of key concepts within undergraduate music theory spanning from the classical period to modern times, leaving little space to consider repertoire of women and BIPOC composers. Our research serves to broaden the Music Theory canon by identifying compositions from underrepresented groups of composers to expand repertoire used in undergraduate Music Theory and Aural Skills curriculum. This research explores a wide range of readily available music repertoire composed by women and BIPOC composers within the KSU library and online music databases such as The International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP). These resources have given an opportunity to explore and assess a wider range of compositions that align with undergraduate Aural Skills and Music Theory, giving the opportunity to advocate, foster, and promote a broadened spectrum of music theory repertoire. By including works from the composers identified in this research, students will be given the opportunity to broaden their exposure to a wider range of important and exciting music, thus expanding their repertoire for performance and personal enjoyment. Through sharing this rich diversity of repertoire, this research serves to expose music students and audiences alike to a fuller and more diverse range of composers within the Common Practice Period to help classical music shed its perceived image as an “elite” art form.