All incoming students have had various levels of music theory, ranging from none to advanced placement classwork. Have no fear! When you arrive in the Fall you will take a theory placement exam and begin your theory training at the appropriate level.
That said, here are some books of various levels recommended by Dr. Christine Boone, Assistant Professor of Music Theory, which you can jump into this summer to put you on a path to music theory success!
Work your way through them as far as you wish, and don’t worry if you reach a point where point where it seems unclear… After all, that’s why you are coming to study with her!
Beginning Students (and those who haven’t read it!)
This is Your Brain on Music by Daniel Levitin
A Guide to Musical Analysis by Nicholas Cook
Elements of Sonata Theory by Hepokoski and Darcy
A Generative Theory of Tonal Music by Lerdahl and Jackendoff
Music History and Ethnomusicology
The success of your musical studies will depend heavily on your ability to analyze the history of music and its interactions with the socio-political world in which it was created. Dr. Jonathan King, Assistant Professor of Musicology and Ethnomusicology recommends these books as summer reading to prepare you for what awaits.
Like the music theory readings, don’t worry if you run into things that are difficult to fathom. Dr. King’s analyses will help you cover the entire scope of music, both classical and popular. Spend your summer getting familiar with these publications!
Every Song Ever by Ben Ratliff
How Music Works by David Byrne
Love for Sale by David Hajdu
Enjoy your summer, and we will see you in the Fall!