About the Course

This is a course in both thinking about music and thinking in music. In this course, you will learn to think about music, often in ways you never have in the past. In addition, you will learn to think in music the way Western musicians do — learning to read music notation as sound, and to hear music as concepts, ideas, and notation.

Along the way, you will learn, develop, and apply mathematical and algorithmic reasoning skills in the pursuit of better understanding Western music theory. We will begin to think critically about larger topics, such as how music communicated emotion, and how this might change between cultures. Your work in class and your homework will involve various kinds of music-theoretical problem solving. Your homework, quizzes, and final exam will assess and evaluate how well you have assimilated these concepts and skills.


About the Professors


Christopher White is Assistant Professor of Music Theory of the University of Massachusetts , having previously taught at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Yale University.

Chris received his PhD from Yale and has also attended Queens College–CUNY, and Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. His articles have appeared in Music Perception and in Mathematics and Computation in Music and he has presented papers at national meetings of the Society for Music Theory as well as several regional conferences. His research investigates algorithmic and linguistic theories of music by presenting computational models of musical style, function, meter, and communication.  Chris’ research has also focused on geometrically modeling early 20th-century musics, especially the music of Alexander Scriabin and Alban Berg.

Chris remains an avid organist, having studied with Haskell Thompson and James David Christie. As a member of the Three Penny Chorus and Orchestra, he has appeared on NBC’s Today Show and as a quarterfinalist on America’s Got Talent.

Learn more at Chris’s Website

Brent Auerbach is Associate Professor of Music Theory at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. A pianist and oboist, he attended Harvard University as an undergraduate and received his Ph.D. in music theory from the Eastman School of Music.

Dr. Auerbach’s research focuses primarily on extending the concept of the musical motive as it pertains to analysis. Other research interests include the group-mathematic properties of harmonic sequences, pedagogy, and the aesthetics of Baroque composition and counterpoint.