About the Music Theory Area
Students have the opportunity to explore interests in related fields such as musicology,
composition and computer music and to work closely with faculty mentors on undergraduate
research projects. We also provide students with a wide variety of innovative courses
designed to serve the needs of our undergraduate and graduate degrees in composition,
conducting, education, history and performance.
The area regularly offers graduate-level courses in form and analysis, post-tonal
theory, 16th-century counterpoint, 18th-century counterpoint, contemporary styles,
symphonic analysis, pedagogy of music theory, Schenkerian analysis and doctoral-level
courses in areas of faculty research such as Schoenberg as theorist, 20th-century
tonality, music and mathematics and the music of Igor Stravinsky.
Students profit from frequent visits by guests theorists, musicologists and composers.
Recent guests have included theorists Guy Capuzzo, Maureen Carr, Daniel Harrison,
Dave Headlam, Rebecca Jemain, Edward Klorman, Stephen Laitz, Elizabeth West Marvin,
Patrick McCreless, Severine Neff, Deborah Rifkin, Steven Rings and Dmitri Tymoczko.
Students interested in pursuing a music theory degree should contact J. Daniel Jenkins. All other inquiries should be directed to the area coordinator of music theory Reginald Bain.
Music Theory Faculty
Reginald Bain has composed a wide variety of instrumental and vocal music that has
been performed by leading artists across the U.S. and Europe. He has written extensively
for the theatre and is an accomplished electro-acoustic composer whose works employ
unique tuning systems, algorithmic approaches, and musical sonification techniques.
Jerry Curry, distinguished professor emeritus, performed throughout South Carolina
in solo recitals and as a continuo player in many chamber groups, including the South
Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra. He is the author of freshman theory text, "Introduction
to the Study of Counterpoint."
Distinguished professor emeritus, Samuel Douglas is the composer of works for various
musical media including orchestra, band, chorus and chamber music. He has written
music for movies, theatrical productions and operas. His chamber music has been written
for a wide variety of vocal and instrumental forces including electronic sound. He
is the recipient of ASCAP Awards in composition for 1990 and 1991.
David Kirkland Garner
David Garner writes chamber, orchestral, electroacoustic and vocal works, often drawing
on other music as a point of departure, from Beethoven to bluegrass. A frequent source
of inspiration is the music of the American South. He is especially interested in
aspects of performance surrounding the tunes themselves including style, technique,
tuning, timbre, instrumentation and improvisation.
J. Daniel Jenkins
Daniel Jenkins' research focuses on the music and theoretical thought of Arnold Schoenberg,
the music of Elliott Carter, tonality after atonality and music theory pedagogy. Jenkins
won the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Prize at the Eastman School of Music in 2003
and the Edward Peck Curtis Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student
from the University of Rochester in 2005.
John McKay’s research is centered on the history of music theory, particularly interactions
between music theory and larger intellectual currents around the time of the scientific
John Fitz Rogers
Composer John Fitz Rogers' music has been performed around the world in leading venues
and by ensembles and festivals like Carnegie Hall, Bang on a Can Marathon, Pittsburgh
New Music Ensemble and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others. He has
received many commissions, fellowships and awards, including those from ASCAP, the
American Composers Forum and numerous others.