Profile picture of Thomas Posen standing in a lavander field

Hi, my name is Dr. Thomas Posen, welcome to my website! I am a music theorist, pianist, educator, and composer-producer living in Boise, Idaho (USA) where I am a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at the College of Idaho. I hold a Ph.D. in Music Theory from the Schulich School of Music at McGill University. My dissertation, “Analyzing Beethoven’s Eroica Sketches: A Form-Functional Perspective On the First-Movement Exposition," studies how Beethoven composed the first movement of his third symphony, the Eroica by studying his musical sketches for the piece. On this website you can read about my scholarship, listen to my original electronic music, watch videos I’ve made, listen to recordings of several of my piano performances, and learn more about me and my teaching. If you have any questions or comments, free to contact me. If you are interested in electronic music, check out MTL Electronic Music, a platform I made to connect and promote electronic music artists in Montreal, Canada. Thanks for stopping by!

Featured Scholarship

Formal Functions and Beethoven's Sketches

A Case Study of The Sketches to the First Movement of the Eroica Symphony (Dissertation Prospectus)

Beethoven’s sketches to his Symphony No. 3 in E-flat (“Eroica”), Op. 55, have interested scholars since Nottebohm’s pioneering study of the Eroica Sketchbook in the late nineteenth century.1 According to Lewis Lockwood (1982, 119), “Nottebohm’s transcriptions and commentary . . . opened up a larger body of genetic material for the Eroica than anyone could have anticipated, and laid a basis that has yet to be seriously challenged or drastically modified.

From Glarean’s Modes to Mattheson’s Eight Commonly Used Keys

The Symbiotic Development of Mode and Psalmody

Picture of Gradual in St. Marks in Venice, Italy


In his Neue Eröffnete Orchestre (1713), Johannes Mattheson summarizes Heinrich Glarean’s twelve-modes, then explains afterwards that, “present-day composers are accustomed to differentiate their modulations differently.” He then lists four major and four minor keys. Why did Mattheson choose these keys, and where did they come from?

Modeling Compositional Grammars in Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story (1957)

Master's Thesis in Music Theory & Composition at the University of New Mexico


As a result of Leonard Bernstein’s numerous didactic lectures, he is generally recognized as a tonal composer who misrepresented or even misunderstood other compositional grammars. But, while scholars criticize Bernstein for these reasons, close analysis of his own music reveals a different story.

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