Music theory


Music theory is the interface between artistic practice, scientific research and music theoretical reflection. In the examination of musical structures in performance practice, interpretation and listening experience, the fundamentals of independent scientific research are deepened and refined, and the confident handling of contemporary and historical material is promoted.

General study information

The Master's programme 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, Musicology, Early Music, New Music, Conducting, 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 four-semester master's program in music theory is modular in structure. A module is the combination of teaching and learning content into thematically and didactically meaningful units of study. The names and content descriptions (study objectives) of the individual modules as well as 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 Master's Program Music Theory is a face-to-face program and cannot be offered - not even in parts - as a distance learning program.

The courses from the Central Artistic Subject (ZKF) as well as the other Individual Artistic Lessons (KE) are designed to build on each other. The prerequisite for enrollment in courses from the ZKF or KE in each semester - with the exception of the first - is a positive evaluation of the previous semester. In addition to the compulsory courses in music theory, musicology and electroacoustic composition, the program includes a large number of free electives in which students have the opportunity to freely choose the content of their studies and to study these both at the Mozarteum and at the University of Salzburg as well as the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences.

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

Admission to a master's program requires the completion of a relevant bachelor's degree (BA) or another equivalent degree at a recognised domestic or foreign post-secondary educational institution (e.g. university, college) (§ 64 Para. 3 UG 2002).

A prerequisite for starting the course is also passing an audition. Auditions take place once a year and consist of an instrumental audition and, if necessary, proof of German language skills. All information about the audition can be found under “Information on the admissions process” further down on the page.

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

Students of the Master's programme are recommended to complete a semester abroad. Semesters 2 and 3 of the degree programme are particularly suitable for this. In addition to the subject-specific competences, the following qualifications can be acquired through a study period abroad:

  • Acquisition and deepening of subject-specific foreign language skills
  • Acquisition and deepening of general language skills (language comprehension, conversation, etc.)
  • Acquisition and deepening of organisational skills through independent planning of everyday study life in international administrative and university structures
  • Getting to know and studying in international study systems as well as broadening one's own subject perspective
  • Acquisition and deepening of intercultural competences

The recognition of examinations taken during studies abroad as compulsory subjects, elective subjects or free elective subjects is carried out by the Director of Studies. The documents required for the assessment are to be submitted by the applicant immediately after the stay abroad.

Details at International Affairs.

Information on the admission process

Admission to an MA Performance programme requires the completion of a relevant bachelor's degree (BA) or other equivalent degree at a recognised domestic or foreign post-secondary educational institution (e.g. university, college) (§ 64 Para. 3 UG 2002).

A prerequisite for admission to this university course is also the successful completion of an audition. Registration for an audition is completed online and requires candidates to upload documents proving their eligibility for the course. An invitation to audition will only be issued after the necessary documents have been submitted in full and approved by the admissions office.


  • Document checks can take up to 6 weeks! Early registration is therefore recommended.
  • You can only apply for degree programmes for which you have not yet obtained a degree!

Applicants whose documents have been approved will be invited to the on-site audition. This consists of an instrumental audition and, if necessary, a test of German language skills.

The following documents must be uploaded in the online application form:

  • BA certificate or degree certificate from a relevant degree programme, if the degree programme has already been completed 
  • Current confirmation of enrolment if the degree programme has not yet been completed (the certificate must be submitted by the time of enrolment!)
  • overview of subjects and grades (Transcript of Records) of the BA degree programme
  • Official confirmation of the main subject/instrument, if this is not evident from the other documents (e.g. "Bachelor of Music" is not sufficient!)
  • If further previous studies are available, a complete overview of subjects and grades (Transcript of Records) of all artistic and pedagogical Master's and diploma studies must also be uploaded.

Form of the documents

  • The documents can be uploaded as PDF files in the application form.
  • If the documents mentioned are not available in German or English, an official translation must be submitted.
  • An application portfolio (see Partial Examination B) must be submitted as a PDF file via the upload link after the invitation has been issued.

Please note: If you pass the audition and are offered a university place, the documents must meet the certification requirements by the time of your enrolment at the latest.

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.

  • Composition (120 minutes):
    - Stylistic work: "Lied ohne Worte" OR romantic prelude (Chopin, Schumann, Mendelssohn) OR freitonal or dodecaphonic stylistic exercise
    - Analysis of a work after 1900
  • Ear training (60 minutes):
    1-part atonal
    2-part freitonal
    3-part polyphonic
    4-part homophonic
  • Portfolio: Proof of creative abilities by submitting a portfolio.
    The portfolio must contain a selection of representative works (stylistic works, original compositions) and analyses and, if possible, teaching concepts for composition/aural training/analysis and also at least one independent essay in German or English (corresponding to a music theory seminar paper of 10-15 pages in length) including a list of references.
    The portfolio must be submitted electronically to the Music Theory Department Office at least 3 weeks before the examination and sent to the examination board from there. During the examination, the examination board will answer questions about the portfolio.
    The duration of this part of the examination is approx. 10 minutes.
  • Analysis: Prepared analysis of a submitted work (30 minutes preparation time).
    A short example of a maximum of two pages from the classical or romantic piano or chamber music literature is to be analysed with specific questions relating to form, structure, motivic-thematic work, harmony etc. The duration of the examination is approx. 10 minutes.
    The duration of the examination is approximately 10 minutes.
  • Interview: Interview lasting 5-10 minutes 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 approach, etc.).
    The duration of the interview is approx. 10 minutes.

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 B2 (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.

  • Examination registration during the application period online via the registration portal for university applicants
    (ATTENTION: Registration only possible if documents are complete!)
  • If the documents are complete: Invitation to the on-site entrance examination
  • 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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