Music History and Music Theory


Although not a degree area at CSU, Music History and Music Theory are an integral component of every music student's program of study. The School of Music Theatre and Dance offers intense training in specialized music disciplines, combined with a balance of core music courses in music history and theory.

Study With

Joel Bacon

Full Professor of Music; Keyboard Area Coordinator; Organ; Stewart and Sheron Golden Chair in Organ and Liturgical Studies

(970) 491-2431

Copper Ferreira

Senior Instructor; Music Theory; Ensemble Coordinator

(970) 491-1584

K. Dawn Grapes

Associate Professor of Music; Music History

(970) 491-4134

Forest Greenough

Associate Professor of Music; Double Bass, Music Theory

Paul Metz

Instructor of Music; Music Theory; Emeritus Associate Professor

(970) 491-5533

G. Murray Oliver

Instructor of Music; Music History; Director of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies

(970) 491-5193

Abigail Shupe

Assistant Professor of Music; Music Theory

John Pippen

Assistant Professor of Music; Ethnomusicology

Music History

Music history at Colorado State University is grounded in the discipline of musicology, the scholarly study of music. Foundational areas include historical inquiry, research, ethnomusicological fieldwork, music theory, and performance practice. All musicians use musicology in their pursuits, regardless of whether their specialty is performance, education, therapy, or another academic area.

CSU offers courses in musicology to both music majors and non-majors. Classes cover topics such as the history of western art music, the history of jazz, rock and roll, American music, and music in non-western cultures. Emphasis is placed on the exploration of ways that music reflects cultural and societal norms in the time and location in which it was produced. All undergraduate and graduate music majors are required to take music history and research courses.


For more information, contact Dr. Dawn Grapes


Undergraduate Courses

400 level courses may count as graduate electives.


Music Appreciation (MU 100)

Previous musical training not necessary. Survey of music from a wide range of periods and styles.


Introduction to Music History and Literature (MU 131)

Landmarks of music history and literature from 1300 to the present.


Women in Music (MU 231)

Examination of the role of women in music from historical and societal perspectives.


History of Rock and Roll (MU 333)

Historical overview of rock and roll with emphasis on listening skills, musical analysis, the artists, and the industry.


Music History I (MU 334)

Music of the medieval, renaissance, and baroque periods.


Music History II (MU 335)

Music of the classical, romantic, and contemporary periods.

Hymnology (MU 432)

Hymns and congregational singing in the Christian tradition.


Music and Rites of Christian Liturgy (MU 433)

History of the music and rites of Christian liturgy from its beginnings to the present.


Psalms in Music and Liturgy (MU 434)

Musical traditions of the poetry and psalms of the Hebrew Bible, primarily from the perspective of Jewish and Christian liturgy.


Contemporary Liturgical Music in America (MU 435)

History and practice of contemporary liturgical music in America.


History and Structure of the Organ (MU 437)

Physical structure, tonal disposition, acoustical surroundings, and historical development.


Honors Options

Some courses, such as Music History I and Music History II have an honors option for students enrolled in the honors college. The student conducts a flexible independent research project under the guidance of the professor and then presents it to his or her peers at the end of the semester.


Independent Study (MU 495)
  • Composition and theory
  • Conducting
  • Improvisation
  • Music History

Ideal for a student with specific interests not covered by the regular course offerings. The student works with a professor to research and write about a topic of interest; practical applications and in-depth analysis especially welcome.


Senior Thesis (MU 499)

A semester-long capstone research project on an original topic. Required for Composition and B.A. students, but may be taken as an elective by any music major with instructor approval.

Seniors Honors Thesis (HONOR 499)

Requires participation in University Honors Program.

A scholarly project on an original research topic, composition, or creative performance, evaluated by a committee of faculty members.

Graduate Courses

500 level courses open to qualified undergraduates.


Music Through the Middle Ages (MU 530)

Music in Western civilization from its beginnings through Middle Ages.


Music of the Renaissance (MU 531)

Music of 15th and 16th centuries.


Music of the Baroque (MU 532)

Style and musical language of baroque from Gabrieli through Johann Sebastian Bach.


Music of the Classical Era (MU 533)

Vocal and instrumental music of middle and late 18th century.


Music of the Romantic Era (MU 534)

Musical works, philosophies, and related arts of the 19th century.


Contemporary Music (MU 535)

20th-century music emphasizing stylistic and theoretical concepts.