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Critical Music Theory and Composition

Updated: Apr 30, 2022

Before I went into the field of Asian American Studies, I was in Music Theory and History and received my Master of Arts degree. Looking back, Music Theory that I experienced in academia was an ‘uncritical’ set of practical tools for both composition and analysis, simply taught and swallowed as "the way music works." This was unlike theoretical foundations and innovations of Asian American Studies that are interpretive, critical, and applied to analyze social movements.

From my experience in the two academic fields, I got to thinking about the intersectionality of critical theory and musical theory. What if the general principles of music such as tonal harmony, consonances and dissonances, time signature, and rhythmic relationships were not the absolute truths but simply theories? In this course we explore the existing social theories and discuss music theory as a space of possibilities to create a new world.

Full syllabus here.

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