Music Theory (main subject)

Gain the competence to work in expert duties requiring a profound knowledge of music.

Tietokone, kuulokkeet ja paperisilppua pöydällä

Why study here?

You’ll gain the competence to work in expert positions requiring a profound knowledge of music in one of the best performing arts universities of the world. The studies prepare you to engage in discussion within the music community and in society at large. Graduates of the programme work in demanding roles of music expert and music pedagogue, for example as teachers, journalists, researchers and musicians.

Content and objective of the programme

Essential to music theory majors are skills in harmony and voice leading, music analysis and instrumentation, as well as instrument studies. As a bachelor’s student, you will also study aural skills and music history. During your master’s studies, you will deepen your understanding of music research and gain more knowledge of your personal research field.


Our teachers are some of the best experts in their respective fields. In addition to the permanent teaching staff, the programme welcomes international top experts as visiting teachers on a regular basis. Many of our teachers are also esteemed researchers.

Teachers in the degree programme (to be updated in December)

Applying to the programme

Applicants who are applying to study either composition or music theory as a major subject are evaluated in different admission groups. You can apply for both major subjects during the same year. The programme will require you to have higher preparedness in music theory and aural skills in comparison to other programmes at the Sibelius Academy as well as an extensive knowledge of western music. Applicants who are pursuing composition as a major are also expected to have creative musical skills.

Our university is one of the most sought-after places to study in Finland. Browse the admissions statistics from previous years.

Doctoral studies

It is possible to complete a doctoral degree at the University as a third-cycle degree. After graduating as a master, you’ll have the option to apply for doctoral studies in music and specialise in research-oriented doctoral studies or applied doctoral studies. 

Learn more

Online material on composition and music theory

Teachers in the Department of Composition and Music Theory write and collect up-to-date study material in their own blogs.

  • Music history of the 1900s
  • Music analysis of the 1900s
  • Baroque music
  • Introduction to music of the Classical period
  • Introduction to Romantic music
  • Music of the Classical period
  • Massenet’s operas
  • Music history online
  • Music history research
  • French violin sonata
  • Romantic music
  • Basics of Schenkerian analysis
  • Sibelius studio
  • Sibelius
  • A guide to general musicianship skills

Online study material

  • Acoustics
  • Aleatori
  • Muhi
  • Mupe project
  • Sumu
  • Recognition and validation of prior learning

Lecture series Aikamme musiikkia ja puhetta

The lecture series Aikamme musiikkia ja puhetta has long traditions at the Department of Composition and Music Theory at the Sibelius Academy. Every week, a new contemporary composer, musician or artist comes for a visit to talk about their music and work. The lectures are held in the Auditorium of the Helsinki Music Centre on Thursdays, and they are open to the public. The events are hosted by lecturer Juhani Nuorvala. More information about the lecture series.