PhD, Yale University

Coordinator, Music Theory and Cognition program. Coordinator, advanced music theory curriculum (undergraduate). Vasili Byros researches the compositional, listening, and pedagogical practices of the long 18th century. Taking a holistic view, which combines perspectives from schema theory, Formenlehre, topic theory, and historical pedagogies, his work aims to reconstruct “insider” perspectives on music of the period. He has published or has work forthcoming in Music Analysis, Music Theory Online, Eighteenth-Century Music, The Oxford Handbook of Topic Theory (ed. Danuta Mirka), Musica Humana, Theory and Practice, What Is a Cadence? (ed. Markus Neuwirth and Pieter Bergé), Intégral, The Oxford Handbook of Music and Corpus Studies (ed. Daniel Shanahan, Ashley Burgoyne, and Ian Quinn) and The Cambridge Companion to Beethoven’s EroicaSymphony (ed. Nancy November). Byros’ research has dealt with issues of key perception and tonality, interactions between local and large-scale musical grammars, intersections between syntax and semantics, musical meaning and communication, and how partimenti and other historical pedagogical documents relate to free composition. He is currently working on a book project on period composition from technical, aesthetic, and philosophical positions, through the lens of his own historical compositions. In 2017, he received the Outstanding Publication Award from the Society for Music Theory for his article published in Music Theory Online, "Prelude on a Partimento: Invention in the Compositional Pedagogy of the German States in the Time of J. S. Bach." Also in 2017, he was awarded the Charles Deering McCormick Professorship, Northwestern University’s highest recognition of teaching excellence and curricular innovation. He was on the Faculty Honor Roll of Northwestern’s Associated Student Government three years in a row (2015-18). Byros has presented papers at numerous national, international, and regional conferences in North America and Europe, and has been invited to present research at various venues in the United States and Europe. Visit his personal web site.

Selected Works/Publications


“Thinking in Bach’s Language, Teaching in His Shoes: How the Thomaskantor Structured My Syllabus as a Modern-Day Notenbüchlein or Zibaldone.” BACH: Journal of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute 49 (2): 175–204, 2018.

“Mozart’s Vintage Corelli: The Microstory of a Fonte-Romanesca.” Intégral 31: 63-89, 2017.

Prelude on a Partimento: Invention in the Compositional Pedagogy of the German States in the Time of J. S. Bach.” Music Theory Online 21.3, 2015.

  • Winner of the Outstanding Publication Award, Society for Music Theory (2017)

“Trazom’s Wit: Communicative Strategies in a ‘Popular’ Yet ‘Difficult’ Sonata.” Eighteenth-Century Music 10 (2): 213–252, 2013.

“Meyer’s ‘Anvil’: Revisiting the Schema Concept.” Music Analysis 31 (3): 273–346, 2012.


“‘Hauptruhepuncte des Geistes’: Punctuation Schemas and the Late-Eighteenth-Century Sonata.” In What is a Cadence?: Theoretical and Analytical Perspectives on Cadences in the Classical Repertoire. Ed. by Markus Neuwirth and Pieter Bergé. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 215–251, 2015.

  • Published in the winner of the Outstanding Multi-Author Collection, Society for Music Theory (2018)

“Topics and Harmonic Schemata: A Case From Beethoven.” In The Oxford Handbook of Topic Theory. Ed. by Danuta Mirka. New York: Oxford University Press, 381–414, 2014.

  • Published in the winner of the Citation of Special Merit, Society for Music Theory (2015)


Byros recognized with outstanding publication award

November 10, 2017

Byros receives McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence Award

April 26, 2017

Tonal Recall

December 17, 2015

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