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.

Department of Composition & Music Theory
+43 676 88122 356

Study & Examination Management
+43 676 88122 492

8 semesters / 240 ECTS-AP


Registration deadline
from February each year 
to the dates

Admission examinations
summer semester each year
to the dates



Study & Occupational Fields

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.

General study information

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 eight-semester Bachelor'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 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 Bachelor'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. 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.

Link to the semester schedule

The prerequisite for admission to a Bachelor's degree programme (BA) is passing the admission examination. An online application is required for this. 

ATTENTION: You can only apply for studies for which you have not yet obtained a degree!

The Admission Examination

Within the admission examination the following sub-examinations have to be passed:

A - Music Theory & Aural Training

The examination consists of a written and an oral part. In order to pass, both parts of the examination must be passed.

Written examination (180 min)

  • Composition: (120 min)
    • Setting a basso continuo
    • Harmonising a chorale melody in baroque style
    • 2-part counterpoint (Renaissance: Cantus firmus movement, Baroque: Invention)
    • Analysis with regard to form, harmony, compositional technique
  • Ear training: (60 min)
    • 1-part freitonal
    • 2-part classical (e.g. minuet by Mozart or Haydn)
    • Sound progression
    • 3-part polyphonic (exposition of a baroque fugue)
    • 4-part homophonic

Oral examination (20 min):

  • Analysis: spontaneous analysis of a presented work (without preparation time).
  • Ear training:
    • Singing from the sheet
    • Listening for tonal errors
    • 2-part rhythm tapping (according to notation)
    • 4-part chord listening
  • Interview: Interview with the examination board on motivation, background, previous studies, expectations

B - Examination compulsory subject piano

  • Performance of two prepared pieces of medium difficulty, one of them from the 20th century. 

(Examples: J.S. Bach: two or three-part Invention or Prelude and Fugue from the Well-Tempered Clavier, Mozart, Haydn or Beethoven: one movement of a classical sonata, Bartok: Mikrokosmos, Kurtág: Játékok).

  • sight-reading a piece (lower intermediate level of difficulty, e.g. Bach: Klavierbüchlein Anna Magdalena Bach, Schumann: Album für die Jugend, Bartok Mikrokosmos Bd. 

C - Examination compulsory subject singing

Performance of two songs or arias of medium difficulty from different stylistic periods. One of these must be a romantic or modern piece. With the exception of the modern piece, the programme must be performed from memory. The sheet music is to be brought along.

Examples of literature: Heinrich Schütz: from Kleine Geistliche Konzert: Bringt her dem Herren; John Dowland: Fine Knacks for Ladies; Alessandro Scarlatti: Giàilsoledal Gange / Se Florindo è fedele; Ludwig van Beethoven: Mailied; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Zufriedenheit (Was frag ich viel) / Zauberer; Franz Schubert: Liebhaber in allen Gestalten / An Silvia; Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Bei der Wiege / Winterlied; Robert Schumann: Frühlingsgruß; Clara Schumann: Sie liebten sich beide; Johannes Brahms: Sonntag / Deutsche Volkslieder etc.

D - German language skills

  • Required language level: at least A2 (Common European Framework of Reference CEFR 2001)
  • Information on the German examination and the recognised certificates can be found HERE

Dates & timetable

The dates of the entrance examination as well as important deadlines can be found in the current schedule
Time schedule:

  • Examination registration during the application period online via the registration portal for university applicants
    (ATTENTION: Registration only possible if documents are complete, including video!)
  • If the application video is positive: 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

Different examination method

Please note that the University Mozarteum Salzburg offers various support options for the admission examination 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: or +43 676 88122 337.

Students of the Bachelor's program are recommended to complete a semester abroad. Semesters 5 and 6 of the degree program are particularly suitable for this. In addition to the subject-specific competencies, 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.

Skip slider
Jump to slider start