Honors Program

Fine and Performing Arts Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Matthew Potterton

Thesis Professor Department


Thesis Reader(s)

Martin Walters


I set out to experiment and justify the use of a new theory called Negative Harmony in 21st century music. Negative Harmony is a musical avenue from which composers can glean new tones within traditional music theory rules. I took inspiration from the current leading authority on the topic, Jacob Collier, as well as older scholars from the 20th century, such as Ernst Levy and George Rochberg. I conducted research on the theory by finding its relation to major and minor chords, and how these mirrored chords worked from a theory standpoint. I then composed two original works, one piano piece and one piece for SATB choir and piano. I aimed to find the best balance between the unfamiliar negative chords and the familiar positive chords. I then looked to justify the use of this theory through the writings of scholars and modern music listeners and casual music makers.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Copyright by the authors.