Paul Nauert

Professor of Music

University of California,
Santa Cruz

Core Curriculum Placement - SAMPLE Theory Exam


Paul Nauert began activities in composition and piano performance around the age of 10, and received national awards in composition from MTNA and BMI during his pre-college career. He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, where he was awarded the McCurdy Prize in composition, and Columbia University, where he earned his Ph.D. in music theory in 1997 with the assistance of a Mellon Foundation Fellowship.  His early interest in interdisciplinary pursuits led to an additional undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering (University of Rochester), with an emphasis on signal processing, during his Eastman years.

In 1996, Nauert joined the music faculty of the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he teaches music theory and composition. He has published articles on a variety of topics including computer models of musical rhythm, pitch structure in posttonal music, and the theories of Joseph Schillinger and their influence on the composer George Gershwin. He has also created software applications for computer-assisted composition, including the OMTimePack and OMPitchField libraries for IRCAM’s OpenMusic project.

Nauert’s compositions, mainly for solo and small-ensemble forces, reflect an ongoing interest in: intimate/private discourse as a model for musical rhetoric, the coloristic use of harmony, and fluid or eccentric rhythms that resist assimilation to a steady pulse. His music has been performed at venues such as New York’s Merkin Hall, Miller Theater, and Works and Process at the Guggenheim Museum, as well as the BGSU New Music & Art Festival in Ohio, the SoundField Festival in Chicago, Resonances at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Stuttgart International Guitar Festival. A recording of his composition Subtext performed by guitarist David Tanenbaum is available from New Music Works .


Selected Writings

  • “Division- and Addition-Based Models of Rhythm in a Computer-Assisted Composition System,” Computer Music Journal 31.4 (2007): 56-70.

  • “Algorithmic Strategies in A Collection of Caprices,” in The OM Composer’s Book, ed. Carlos Agon, Gerard Assayag, and Jean Bresson (Paris: Editions Delatour France, 2006): 163-178.

  • “Timespan Hierarchies and Posttonal Pitch Structure: A Composer’s Strategies,” Perspectives of New Music (2005) 43.1: 34–53. Another version forthcoming (in English and in French translation) in Around Set Theory: A French-American Musicological Meeting, eds. Moreno Andreatta, Jean-Michel Bardez, John Rahn (Paris: Editions Delatour France).

  • “The Progression Vector: Modelling Aspects of Posttonal Harmony,” Journal of Music Theory 41.1 (2003): 103-124.

  • “Field Notes: A Study of Fixed Pitch Formations,” Perspectives of New Music 41.1 (2003): 6-65.

  • “Two Kinds of Time in the Presto of Beethoven’s Op. 130,” Journal of the McGill Music Graduate Society 4 (1995): 65-80.

  • “Theory and Practice in Porgy and Bess: The Gershwin-Schillinger Connection,” Musical Quarterly 78.1 (1994): 9-33.

  • “A Theory of Complexity to Constrain the Approximation of Arbitrary Sequences of Timepoints,” Perspectives of New Music 32.2 (1994): 226-263.



  • OMTimePack/OMTP, library of functions for the computer-assisted composition and programming environment OpenMusic (Paris: IRCAM Software Forum).
  • OMPitchField/OMPF, library of functions for the computer-assisted composition and programming environment OpenMusic (Paris: IRCAM Software Forum).

Please contact me directly for latest OMPF and OMPT source code and documentation.

Recent Compositions

  • Etude with Inserts (digital audio), 2009
  • Charged Particle (digital audio), 2006

        — complete audio

  • Gathering (flute, cello, piano, percussion, and digital audio), 2004, 8:30
  • Chapter and Verse (alto saxophone, piano), 2003, 9:30
  • A Collection of Caprices (solo piano), 2002, 12:00       

        — score excerpt

  • B-Sides, 2001 (digital audio), 11:30
  • Three Baroque Miniatures (guitar, harpsichord), 2001, 8:45
  • Flight Path; Soaring (flute, piano), 2000, 12:15

        — score excerpt

        — audio excerpt (performed by Leta Miller and Paul Nauert)

  • R.H. (in tribute to Raymond Herbert) (solo piano), 2000, 2:45
  • Chemistry (violin, marimba), 1999, 11:00
  • Subtext (solo guitar), 1999, 7:00

        — audio excerpt (performed by David Tanenbaum)

  • Spirit (alto flute, marimba), 1998, 9:45
  • Close the Gates of Day (violin, cello, piano), 1998, 12:30
  • Arabesque (solo flute), 1995, 6:00


Please contact me directly to inquire about scores and recordings.