Music theory


The bachelor's degree program in music theory teaches students to deal confidently with contemporary and historical material and forces them to be open in their engagement with newly developing art forms. In order to promote the development of individual interests in the best possible way, the program offers a personal focus at a very early stage.

General information

The bachelor's degree program in music theory offers the best possible development of creative and reflective skills with musical material in all genres. In order to specifically promote individual interests, the programme offers a very early personal focus. Students can choose between electronic music, musicology, conducting or jazz and popular music and applied composition. Students can take advantage of courses offered by various institutes of the Mozarteum University and the Paris Lodron University Salzburg.

The study programme is oriented towards the current state of development and development of the arts as well as the state of research in the sciences involved. The aim of the Master's programme is to deepen and complement the scientific and artistic professional training on the basis of Bachelor's programmes that are relevant to the subject. The artistic study programme qualifies students for professional practice in the following fields:

  • freelance music theorist
  • freelance composer
  • academic teacher of music theory (or composition)
  • performer as conductor
  • performer as performing musician
  • theory and interpretation supervision of ensembles and individual musicians
  • Arrangement and applied composition
  • Work in recording studios

The degree programme also serves to qualify students for professional activities in all institutions relevant to music: Festivals, radio and television stations, the recording industry, artists' agencies, music management, publishing houses, trade journals, etc., in which the application of artistic and scientific knowledge and methods is required. In addition, the degree programme contributes to the personal development and development of social skills of the students. The students are enabled to perceive and help shape artistic and overall social developments.

The aim of the study programme is to bring students to the best possible development of their creative or reflective abilities and to impart a confident handling of musical material in all genres (instrumental, vocal and electronic music). The composition programme at the Mozarteum University is characterised by the fact that, in addition to the legally prescribed free electives, students take electives that form an individual focus during their studies.

Obvious specialisations for the study of composition are, for example, Electronic Music and Audiovisual Media, MusicologyEarly MusicNew MusicConducting, Jazz and Popular Music and Applied Composition. Students can choose from the courses offered by various institutes of the Mozarteum University and the Paris Lodron University Salzburg.

The curriculum is competence-oriented. The following key qualifications are required:

  • Above-average creativity, general and musical intelligence and communicative, social and linguistic competence.
  • Ability and willingness to reflect as well as to engage in dialogue about one's own artistic works and views.

Upon completion of the programme, students should be able to:

  • be proficient in the creation of a wide variety of works of contemporary composition, both aesthetically and technically
  • be free and independent in their artistic work
  • critically engage with artistic and scientific issues
  • have acquired comprehensive knowledge of music theory and musicology and are able to apply it practically
  • have mastered the basics of academic work and are able to analyse, interpret and write up artistic content in a well-founded manner
  • be able to use new media effectively
  • develop their individual interests in the sense of lifelong learning beyond their own subject area through targeted in-depth study within the framework of (free) elective

The eight-semester bachelor's degree programme is modular in structure. Each module comprises teaching and learning content that has been combined to form thematically and didactically meaningful units of study. The names and content descriptions (study objectives) of the individual modules, the number of ECTS credits to be achieved for each module, and the type of performance assessment are specified in the curriculum. The module descriptions refer to the corresponding learning outcomes and competencies. The Bachelor's program is a face-to-face program and cannot be offered - not even in part - as a distance learning program. The courses from the Principal Study, as well as in other One-to-One Tuition, are designed to build upon each other. Prerequisite for enrolment in courses from the Principal Study or One-to-One Tutition is a positive evaluation of the previous semester (from the second semester onwards).

The curriculum provides an overview of the courses to be completed, which are grouped into module groups.

The courses are visible online in Curriculum Support:

Link to the semester schedule

A prerequisite for beginning a bachelor's degree (BA) is passing an audition. Auditions take place once a year and consist of various partial exams. All information about the audition can be found under “Information about the admissions procedure” further down the page.

A high school diploma is not necessary.

PLEASE NOTE: You can only apply for study programmes for which you have not yet obtained a degree!

Students of the Bachelor's programme are encouraged to complete a semester abroad. Semesters 5 and 6 of the degree programme are particularly suitable for this. In addition to subject-specific competences, a study period abroad can also lead to the acquisition and deepening of:

  • Subject-specific foreign language skills
  • General foreign-language skills (language comprehension, conversation, etc.)
  • Organisational skills, through independent planning of everyday student life in international administrative and university structures
  • Knowledge about international study systems, as well as broadening one's own subject perspective
  • Intercultural competences

Examinations and assessments taken during studies abroad can be approved by the Director of Studies as equivalents to compulsory subjects, elective sujects or free elective subjects required by the Mozarteum University for your degree course. The documents required for the approval procedure are to be submitted by the applicant immediately after their exchange semester.

Details at International Affairs.

Information on the admission process

The prerequisite for admission to a bachelor's degree program (BA) is passing the audition. Application for an audition takes place online.

PLEASE NOTE: You can only apply for a study programme for which you have not yet obtained a degree!

Applicants are then invited to an on-site audition, which consists of several partial examinations.

Registration takes place via the application portal [Link], where you must first create an application account. Please note that the automatic email to activate the account can often be found in the spam folder, so please be sure to check there if you think you have not received it. If you still have problems activating your account, please contact

Please ensure that you can be reached at the email address entered in your profile throughout the entire application process. If there are any changes, please update your profile yourself.

The examination consists of a written and an oral part. Both parts of the examination must be passed in order to pass.

Written examination (180 min)

Composition: (120 min)

  • Realisation of a figured bass,
  • Harmonising a chorale melody in baroque style,
  • two-part counterpoint (composition task: cantus firmus movement in Renaissance style or invention in Baroque style),
  • Analysis of a short tonal piano piece in terms of form, harmony, compositional technique

Ear training: (60 min, 4 of the 5 tasks are set)

  • one-part free tonal,
  • two-part classical (e.g. minuet by Mozart or Haydn),
  • free-tonal three-part sound progression,
  • three-part polyphonic (exposition of a baroque fugue),
  • four-part homophonic tonal with mishearing

Oral examination (30 min):

  • Analysis: Spontaneous analysis of a presented work or extract from a work (max. 1 A4 page) (without preparation time). The duration of the examination is approx. 10 minutes.
  • Ear training: sight-singing, listening for mistakes in a polyphony, tapping a two-part rhythm (according to notation), listening to four-part chords. The duration of the examination is approx. 10 minutes.
  • Interview: Interview with the examination board on motivation, background, previous studies, expectations, possibly on the written examination tasks (presentation of analytical facts, possibly also on the piano, explanations of the compositional procedure, etc.). If a portfolio is available, it can serve as a further basis for the interview. The duration of the interview is approx. 10 minutes.

You can find an exam example and further preparation help (only the basics!) HERE.

Advanced piano playing, audition lasting approx. 10 minutes:

  • Performance of two prepared piano pieces of medium difficulty, one of them from the 20th century, e.g.:
    Bach: two- or three-part invention;
    a piano piece in the classical style (e.g. a bagatelle by Beethoven, a sonata movement by Clementi),
    Bartók: Mikrokosmos Vol. III, Kurtág: Játékok Vol. III.
  • Sight-reading of a piece (lower level of difficulty, e.g. Bach: Klavierbüchlein Anna Magdalena Bach, Schumann: Album für die Jugend, Bartók Mikrokosmos Vol. II) OR improvisation on a given theme/motif

All applicants whose first language is not German must prove their German skills by the time of enrolment at the latest.

  • Required language level: at least B1 (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages GER 2001)
  • Information on the approved language certificates can be found HERE

The dates for 2024 can be found here.

A complete overview of all current entrance exam dates is here.

After passing Partial Examination A, you will be admitted to Partial Examination B. The repetition of the sub-examinations A and B in case of failure is not permitted. The admission examination can only be repeated in its entirety and only in the next academic year. The admission examination can be repeated an unlimited number of times.

Time schedule:

  • Examination registration during the application period online via the registration portal for university applicants
    (ATTENTION: Registration only possible if information is complete!)
  • Participation in the on-site admission test in May/June
  • if you pass the admission test: invitation to enrol for the degree programme
  • Enrolment during the general admission period

Please note that the Mozarteum University Salzburg offers various support options at the time of your audition and during your studies if you have a disability or a chronic illness.

If this applies to you and you would like to take advantage of counselling, please contact Claudia Haitzmann: oder +43 676 88122 337.

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