Graduate Music Theory Review



eTheory: Graduate Music Theory Review is the perfect tool for getting your theory chops back in shape before grad school. This self-directed course allows you to work at your own pace, monitoring your own progress, with a musically immersive interface that’ll have you singing, playing, and listening throughout.

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  • The course is designed for maximum accessibility: it presents each new topic in crisp, jargon-free prose designed to speed you along—rather than slow you down.


  • Our drills and self-assessments are loaded with practical tips and strategies; when you’re done you can always click on-screen to see the answers. And as you work, you can listen to each of hundreds of musical excerpts played by Eastman’s world-class ensembles and soloists.


  • ETheory has something for everyone. Students with a strong theory background will find a concise, wide-ranging review, with plenty of challenges and high-level activities. Students with less experience—or those who want a fresh start—can build their chops from the ground up in a new and more efficient way, with plenty of emphasis on the basics. Whatever your level, we’ve got you covered.


  • Learn from an award-winning Eastman faculty member Seth Monahan who has made theory accessible to graduate students for more than a decade. He’s seen it all—and knows how to help you avoid the most common mistakes and misconceptions.


  • Starting now, you’ll never think of theory as arcane or mysterious “book knowledge” again. The course is designed to engage you as a musician, so it emphasizes sound and experience as much as conceptual understanding. With every new topic, you’ll gain mastery by playing, singing, and listening—as well as doing traditional paper-and-pencil work.



Interested in ETHEORY: Graduate Music Theory Review? Here is the Course Syllabus, describing the topics and concepts you can expect to review.

Unit 1: Classical Form

  • Cadences
  • Small Phrase Forms
  • Binary Forms
  • Ternary Forms
  • Sonata Forms
  • Other Forms

Unit 2: How Harmony Works

  • Preliminaries/Fundamentals
  • The Basics of Classical Syntax
  • Our Core Chords: the “Big 18”
  • Functional Cycles
  • Focus on: Tonics & Dominants
  • Focus on: Predominant
  • Focus on: IV and VI
  • Hearing Harmony Hierarchically
  • Expanding Your Vocabulary
  • Leading-Tone Sevenths
  • Applied Chords to V
  • The III Chord in Major and Minor
  • Chromatic Predominants with Silly Regional Names
  • Mode Mixture
  • Motions over a Stationary Bass
  • Other Passing Chords
  • Sequences
  • Modulation

To learn more about our Graduate Music Theory Review, go to our FAQ section.



Dr. Seth Monahan is a former Professor of Music Theory at the Eastman School of Music and two-time winner of the Society for Music Theory’s Emerging Scholar Award.He has received numerous accolades for his teaching, including Yale’s Prize Teaching Fellowship and the University of Rochester’s Edward Peck Curtis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Seth has published on many pedagogical and scholarly topics—including the pedagogy of classical form—but now finds the most fulfillment in making music theory content for his public YouTube channel.