Music lessons are offered in our music studios in Coquitlam and Port Moody, and online.

Post-Tonal Theory

Description and Objectives


This course involves a study of the major analytical theories of twentieth and twenty-first century music, along with the analysis of representative repertoire.


The theoretical principles and concepts discussed in this course include: the notion of pitch centricity and new perspectives on modality; symmetry and its implications in pitch collections and rhythmic patterns; theories developed by individual schools of thought such as Bartok, Hindemith, and Messiaen; pitch-class set theory and its associations with aural perception; the principles of twelve-tone music and its legacy; explorations in musical temporality; aleatory music, indeterminacy and fluid textures; going back to simplicity and minimalism; spectralism and the idea of reflecting the timbre of concrete sounds in instrumental music, as well as others.


Using the analytical tools learned in this course, prominent representative works of twentieth and twenty-first centuries are studied and analyzed.


Assignments are designed to review and practice the main theoretical principles and concepts discussed in the course. For the composition project, students are to choose among some of the compositional tools and techniques studied in the course and employ them in their own creative work. These compositions are performed at the end of the semester.


By the end of this course, students are expected to have developed the theoretical knowledge and analytical skills to study, analyze, and understand a wide variety of musical materials and compositional approaches used in post-tonal music.


Class awareness and participation is an important component of this course.



Recommended Textbook


Miguel A Roig-Francolí, Understanding Post-Tonal Music

Miguel A Roig-Francolí, Anthology of Post-tonal Music


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