Music Theory (Master of Music)

Part-time course possible!

It's possible to study the Master's degree course Music Theory as a part-time course.

The duration of study will be eight semesters in that case.


Course leading to the degree of Master of Music
Regular course length: 4 semesters

The Master’s degree in Music Theory qualifies graduates for a broad range of professional areas in which specialist knowledge of the theory of music and abilities in musical analysis, composition or teaching are required. In addition to the traditional fields of musical syntax, harmony and counterpoint, the course also includes, in its interdisciplinary approach, areas such as systematic and historical musicology, media work and practical artistic areas such as composition, conducting and arrangement, so that this broad range of competences opens up numerous careers.
Thanks to the mixture of analytical, creative, academic and practical fields of study, graduates are extraordinarily well prepared for future fields of activity in which music theory is one of the fundamental qualifications.

  1. Course content and objectives
    In the principal artistic study subject a profound knowledge of style is acquired by analysis and active composition. Compositions from a variety of periods are addressed from a large number of analytical, methodological and stylistic aspects.
    In the subject area of aural training and analysis, both the training of a musical ear and also methods of aural education are subjected to consideration.
    Tuition in educational theory and methodology prepares students for a later teaching career.
    In an additional optional instrumental study subject compositions are considered from the analytical point of view and from that of practical instrumental performance.
    There are special modules focusing on practical instrumentation, arrangement, score studies and instrumentation theory as well as on score reading and notation and music production software.
    Additional own-choice subjects such as
    - historical and systematic musicology (music analysis, history of music)
    - systematic musicology (musical perception, the impact of music)
    - music education (music teaching, enrichment and outreach)
    - media and music (modern methods of producing, processing and presenting music),
    give the course a career-orientated breadth and variety and allow the student to specialise and to develop his or her own profile in the direction of modern professions in which solid training in music theory is useful, or even essential.
  2. Tuition
    Forms of tuition: individual tutorials, lectures, seminars, practical musical and media exercises, placements, teaching under supervision and work on projects
  3. Who is the course aimed at?
    The target group consists of students who are particularly interested in music theory with its history and its modes of thought, in approaching music analytically, in its creative and interpretational aspects such as composition and arrangement, and in the teaching of these aspects.
  4. Career outlook
    Careers are possible in the following areas:
    - Teaching music theory at universities, conservatoires and academies of music
    - Artistic activities such as composition and arrangement
    - Development of multimedia presentations or learning programmes for publishing houses, record producers etc.
    - Activities in demanding music-related careers, where knowledge and abilities in music theory are among the basic qualifications (radio, music journalism, cultural sections of newspapers, music publishers).
    The Master’s degree course in Music Theory prepares its students not only for “classic” teaching activities in music theory, but additionally qualifies them for wide-ranging careers with new areas of activity and for a tertiary education job market on which particularly broad qualifications are becoming increasingly important.
    The course of studies brings together the acquisition of competence in music theory, orientation towards real practice and the establishment of an individual profile, and qualifies its graduates to work in responsible positions in a variety of music-related activities in a creative and flexible manner. In the “classic” subsequent career area of teaching at universities, academies of music and conservatoires, graduates of this Master’s degree course in Music Theory can work in a broad range of fields in a professional and interdisciplinarily orientated manner.
  5. Requirements for admission
    The requirement for admission to the course is a first degree (generally a Bachelor’s degree) in a music theory subject or a music-related course of study containing music theory components accounting as a rule for 20 credit points.
    In addition, applicants must demonstrate a particular aptitude in an acceptance procedure consisting of written and oral examinations and the presentation of work of one’s own.

Programme learning outcomes


The Master's programme in Music Theory qualifies students to teach music theory at all levels of the educational system, from school and music school to conservatoire, to work in the field of composition/arrangement/orchestration and to work scientifically in central areas of the subject (history of music theory, current music theory, analysis, research on musical styles). Performing musicians are enabled by the MA Music Theory to put their 'practical knowledge' of the repertoire they have worked on into historical or current context and to communicate it, to supplement fragments of works and to write solo cadenzas or similar themselves. Activities in music-related professions are also supported, in which in-depth knowledge of music theory, although not a prerequisite, is still very useful (radio, music editing and feuilleton, music publishers, scholarly editions of works).

In the artistic major subject, profound stylistic knowledge is acquired through analysis and active compositional activity; compositions from various epochs are worked on under diverse analytical, methodological and stylistic aspects.

In the subject area of aural skills/ aural analysis, teaching methods are reflected upon in addition to the training of the students’ aural skills.

In the artistic elective subject (instrument, singing or conducting), compositions are worked out in a practical way with the inclusion of analytical aspects.

Further (sub-)modules focus on musical poetics (harmony, form theory, metrics, counterpoint), music analysis, the complex of instrumentation, arrangement, score studies and organology, piano practice, history of music theory as well as didactics and methodology of the subject.

Additional courses in the compulsory elective area, such as historical and systematic musicology, music pedagogy, media and music, give the study programme a breadth and a variety oriented towards the professional field and allow students to specialise and form a profile in the direction of modern professions in which a solid music theory education is useful.

A number of extracurricular activities which are gladly accepted by the students contribute to the development of personality and the promotion of civic engagement: the active participation in the annual congresses of the Society for Music Theory (GMTH), including  group presentations; conducting preparatory courses for the entrance examination at the HMTMH as well as ear training tutorials as required for the interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree (teaching qualification for high school, etc.).; the organisation and performance of concerts with works by students majoring in or specialising in music theory and by teachers, which usually take place on an annual basis.

Whenever appropriate, the curriculum provides impulses in this direction: Module 5.2 (Methodology and Didactics of Music Theory), for example, deals with the (supportive, appreciative or non-empathising) role of the teacher vis-à-vis the students, and Module 5.1 (History of Music Theory) discusses the (not always straightforward) cultural or ideological backgrounds or premises of the most significant authors.


Downloads (partly just available in german language)

Download Booklet (only available in German)

Do you want to learn more about Music Theory at the HMTMH?

You can visit the official website of the Music Theory here (only available in German):

Representative Professor

Examination Office

  • Petra Buchwald

    Department for Studies and Teaching | Examination Office Popular Music B. Mus., JazzRockPop B. Mus., Joint Bachelor´s degree course, major subject Music B. A., JazzRockPop M. Mus., Chamber Music M. Mus., Conducting Children´s and Youth Choirs M. Mus.

    Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media
    Neues Haus 1, 30175 Hannover
    E003 | Loebensteinstraße 2

    Phone: +49 (0)511 3100-7347

Student Registration Office

  • Beate Heitmüller

    Department for Studies and Teaching | Matriculation Office, Examination Office Junior Students, Solo Class

    Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media
    Neues Haus 1, 30175 Hannover
    E007 | Loebensteinstraße 2

    Phone: +49 (0)511 3100-7223

    Office hours: Mo, Di, Do, Fr 09:30-12 Uhr | Di, Do 14-15:30 Uhr | und nach Vereinbarung

  • Sina Santelmann

    Department for Studies and Teaching | Matriculation Office, Examination Office Junior Students, Solo Class

    Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media
    Neues Haus 1, 30175 Hannover
    E007 | Loebensteinstraße 2

    Phone: +49 (0)511 3100-7224

    Office hours: Mo, Di, Do, Fr 09:30-12 Uhr | Di, Do 14-15:30 Uhr | und nach Vereinbarung

Last modified: 2023-09-07

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