Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. David Loberg Code

Second Advisor

Dr. Lauron Kehrer

Third Advisor

Dr. Richard Adams

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Cristina Fava


Heavy, metal, music, theory, instruction

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Heavy metal music is excluded from the common music theory textbooks used in the current undergraduate basic musicianship sequence. Metal is a genre of music designed as scary music that is heavy sonically. Metal is valuable as a tool for the preponderance of social issues and advocacy for social and environmental justice. Its compositional content samples across the common practice period through the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In addition to providing enhanced perception and clarity in lecture examples, metal provides performance practice elements and metal-specific aesthetic characteristics that add new theoretical studies to the standard theory curriculum. Metal challenges students to consider contemporary music analysis techniques based on timbre, texture, orchestration and non-traditional performance methods that span the spectrum from popular to art music. A series of lessons derived from the learning objectives within the common music theory course curriculum has been created for reference and example.

Included in

Music Theory Commons