Music Theory and Aural Training

Unfortunately, the overview is only available in German so far. Please consider the panel "Auf einen Blick" here.

Hearing and understanding, harmony, counterpoint and analysis, together with the intensive training of the musical ear are all elements of the Music Theory and Aural Training study programme, which communicates a basic knowledge for engaging with musical content from different epochs. The unusual feature is that it is taught as a double major alongside the two subdisciplines music theory and aural training. This combination contributes greatly to the student’s understanding of the subject: hearing and comprehension are closely interconnected. Detmold University of Music’s Music Theory and Aural Training study programme unites the artistic and educational elements. Firstly, it imparts a knowledge of repertoire, theoretical systems and texts, and secondly, it opens up aural pathways. Ultimately, it serves as an important foundation for the study of music and is necessarily a prominent feature at the start of the course. The class is divided into small groups in which students explore sound, aesthetics, compositional technique and the actual creation of a style or a genre in their historic environment. They use compositions and original manuscripts in German, English, French, Italian and Latin. A broad span of time from antiquity to the modern era is covered. Using both these access methods allows students to engage with, reflect on and improve their personal knowledge of music. The benefits of their study will be applied wherever music is taught, whether it be in general education, music schools or music colleges.

Detmold University of Music recognised early on the necessity of integrating all the senses into the study of music. In 2014 the online platform was developed. Students can use this tool to work with a study topic in four different ways, using exercises in hearing, playing, notation and analysis. The platform uses a range of content types: text, audio, image, video, graphics and notation, all of which can be freely combined. So students whose artistic major is violin can not only tackle the theory aspect of the Bach Solo Partitas on which they have just been working in their main instrumental tuition sessions, but can also search for an appropriate course giving information on the work or the composer. This approach has now been tried out in the introductory study phase, so that prospective students taking the qualifying examination can prepare as well as possible for the music theory and aural training sections.


Unfortunately, official documents are only available in German so far. Please consider the pannel "Studiengangsdokumente" here.

Winter semester

Bachelor/ Master: 15.02. - 15.03.

Summer semester

Bachelor/Master: 01.10. - 01.11.

Please apply to the Detmold University of Music via the online platform muvac.

  • First of all, create your muvac candidate profile with as detailed information as possible.
  • Then select the degree program you are interested in amongst the vacancies directly in muvac under Institutions – Hochschule für Musik Detmold. It is important that you upload your complete application documents and your video for the pre-selection (if required for your degree program). Check beforehand that your video meets all the requirements.
  • A processing fee of 50.00 Euros will be charged for the application. Please note: a refund is not possible.

Important: Please check in your e-mails afterwards that you have received a confirmation e-mail. You will be informed about the status of your application via muvac.

The probable dates of the aptitude tests can be found here.

The following requirements must be met for the chosen study programme:


Submission of works of composition / harmonisation: Applicants for Music Theory are to submit 3-5 of their own compositions / harmonisations (style copies) including an instrumentation as well as the analysis of a song, solo or chamber music piece or movement (e.g. from the literature of their own instrument) by 15.03. for the winter semester or by 01.11. for the summer semester.

Requirements Main

Applicants are to prepare a performance of three pieces or songs/arias from different musical periods / styles / genres. One of the pieces must be music from the 20th or 21st century. In the performance, clearly recognisable technical playing or singing skills (accuracy in the realisation of the technique) coupled with musical expressiveness (appropriateness of expression) must be demonstrated. The assessment will take into account the anticipated ability to develop further. (Duration: c. 15 minutes).


Questions regarding motivation for the study programme, possible professional goals and understanding of the subject and its literature. Questions arising from other parts of the audition and the submitted portfolio may also be the subject of the interview. Duration up to 15 minutes.

  • Benefits in the instrumental compulsory subject: If the main instrumental subject is an orchestral instrument or voice, then the preliminary part will be in the compulsory subject piano; Performance of two piano works of intermediate difficulty from different musical periods, e.g. J. S. Bach: Französische Suiten; Haydn: Sonata in G-Minor; Chopin: Waltz in A-Minor; Bartok: Sonatina.
  • If necessary, a second instrument (if the main instrumental subject is piano):

    Upon request, an audition for a second instrument may be conducted.

    Orchestral instruments: performance of two easier pieces from different musical periods. Level of difficulty at least “lower grade” (“Unterstufe” according to the definition in the teaching plan of the Verband deutscher Musikschulen).

    Compulsory subject voice: Two pieces (e.g. Lied, aria, unaccompanied song or an unaccompanied folksong) are to be performed from memory. One piece must be in the German language.

  • Knowledge of musical literature: In a colloquium with the audition panel of up to 15 minutes, typical stylistic classifications of score pictures from different periods are to be made and sufficient prior knowledge of genres, styles, composers and musical literature from the Renaissance to the present is to be demonstrated.
  • Music Theory/Compositional Technique: Advanced knowledge of major-minor harmony, written test of up to 60 minutes duration: elaboration of a figured bass, a 2-part polyphonic and 4-part homophonic song or chorale movement. The written test is supplemented by an oral-practical test of 10-15 minutes on the piano: sight-reading of a basso continuo movement, cadenza playing (including secondary functions and basic knowledge of modulation), harmonisation at sight of choral or song melodies and bass progressions. Duration up to 15 minutes. Example
  • Aural Skills: Examination of giftedness and previous education. Written test of about 60 minutes duration: time signatures, rhythmisation of a tone sequence, interval and chord dictation, 2-part movement, melodic memory task, tone changes in free-tonal sounds, recognition of rhythmic and melodic errors. The written test will be supplemented by an oral-practical test (incl. aural analytical tasks) of up to 15 minutes duration. Example

The Deutsche Tonkünstlerverband also offers preparatory courses in music theory and ear training for the aptitude test in Detmold.

The following requirements must be met for the chosen study programme:

  • artistic or educational Bachelor's degree or diploma, with the main subject aural training as well as a particulary subject-specific artistic and pedagogic aptitude for the study programme. This is decided by the examination commitee.
  • in case of no Bachelor degree with the main subject aural training a Transcript of Records with subject-specific study outcomes is needed
  • written explanation on the choice of the study programme as well as information on the musical background and if applicable on pedagogical activities in the area of aural training.
  • successful completion of the aptitude test
  • aptitude test for specific electives if applicable
  • evidence of knowledge of German
  • evidence of health insurance
  • evidence of payment of the semester fee
No preliminary round

The audition consists of a practical examination and an interview. These should determine whether the applicant's aptitude and motivation are sufficient to expect that he/she can independently and responsibly achieve the goals of the degree programme, and whether he/she has the necessary pre-requisites for this. More precisely, the audition comprises:

1. Oral/practical aural training (duration up to 30 minutes): The tasks may be in musical aural training as well as aural analysis from different stylistic periods and genres, including a work of contemporary music.

2. A teaching test in the subject of aural training (duration 20 minutes) and colloquium (duration c. 10 minutes): The topic of the teaching test will be communicated in writing 2 weeks before the audition.

The colloquium covers questions relating to pedagogical-didactic and methodical basics in the subject of aural training as well as basics in the field of teaching practice.


If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact us. Please visit us at our opening hours or write a mail to the following address: