Music Courses

Assignments to music courses are made by the Theory and Ear Training Coordinator based on the results of the Music Qualifying Examination.

The following is a list of all the non-elective courses offered by the School of Music. Students should also read Part II, "Planning Your Program" (page 11) to make sure they know which courses are required for the degree program they have chosen.

(A) Preparatory Courses (Basic Musicianship) and History

  • Music 71: Sight Singing and Ear Training (2 hours/1 credit).
  • Music 73: Theory (2 hours/1 credit).
  • Music 74: Keyboard Technique (2 hours/1 credit).
  • Music 75: Piano Skills (2 hours/1 credit).
  • Music 101: Introduction to the Academic Study of Music (3 hours/3 credits).

Music 71, 73, and 74 precede the regular music major sequence for those students assigned to them on the basis of the Qualifying Examination. Any or all three courses may be required of any student depending on the level of preparation. Minimum grades of B- in 71 and C- 74 and B- in 73 are required in order to continue to Music 171 and 173. All assigned preparatory courses must be completed before the student may continue with 171, 173 and 101.

Music 75 is intended for students already at or above the level of Theory I (Music 173), but whose piano proficiency is still inadequate. Students may be asked to repeat the course if more piano work is necessary.

Students wishing to major in music who are placed in Music 71 or 73 as a result of the Qualifying Examination are advised to elect Music 1.

Music 101 deals with basic concepts and vocabulary for discussing and writing about music, music-historical style-periods, fundamental analytic approaches, an introduction to musical form, and the use of the library.

(B) The Core Curriculum

History and Literature:

  • Music 246: Music History I: The High Middle Ages through the Early Baroque Era, ca. 1200 to ca. 1650 (3 hours/3 credits). Prerequisite: A passing score in the Qualifying Examingation or a minimum grade of C- in Music 101; prerequisite or corequisite: Music 271, 273.
  • Music 247: Music History II: The Middle Baroque Era through the High Classical Period, ca. 1650 to ca. 1800. (3 hours/3 credits). Prerequisite: Music 246 or permission of the School of Music; prerequisite or corequisite: Music 272, 274.
  • Music 346: Music History III: Late Classicism and Romanticism, ca. 1800 to ca. 1890 (3 hours/3 credits). Prerequisite: Music 247 or permission of the School of Music; prerequisite or corequisite: Music 373.
  • Music 347: Music History IV: The Twentieth Century, ca. 1890 to the present (3 hours/3 credits). Prerequisitie: Music 248 or permission of the School of Music; prerequisite or corequisite: Music 374.

C- is the minimum grade for advancement to the next course in Music 246, 247, and 346.

Music 246 and 247 are normally taken in sequence; Music 247, 346 and 347 must be taken in sequence.

Sight Singing and Dictation:

  • Music 171: Level 1 (3 hours/2 credits); corequisite Music 173.
  • Music 172: Level 2 (3 hours/2 credits); normally with Music 174.
  • Music 271: Level 3 (3 hours/ 2 credits); normally with Music 273.
  • Music 272: Level 4 (3 hours/2 credits); normally with Music 274.

Music 171-172 and 271-272 include two weekly hours of classroom work plus one hour of laboratory work in dictation each semester; C- is the minimum prerequisite grade for advancement in each course, and students must do passing work in both sightsinging and dictation. Students may not be more advanced in sight singing and dictation than in theory; a student who must repeat a theory course may not continue with the sight singing and dictation sequence until he/she has received a C- in that course.

Completion of these four courses fulfills the major requirement in ear-training. These courses correspond to the theory courses on the same level (i.e. 171 to 173, 172 to 174, and so on). The movable "do" system of solfege is used.

  • Music 371: Intensive Sight Singing and Dictation 1 (2 hours/2 credits).
  • Music 372: Intensive Sight Singing and Dictation 2 (2 hours/2 credits).

Music 371 and 372 are an advanced sequence of courses. Work includes advanced sight singing, using fixed "do", score reading in various clefs, and dictation in up to 4 parts. Assignment is as a result of the Placement Examination or by permission of the instructor. Completion of 371 and 372 fulfills the major sight singing and dictation requirement, replacing Music 171-172, 271-272.


In all theory classes students explore the features of musical styles by writing in those styles. C- is the minimum grade for advancement to the next level.

  • Music 173: Harmony, Counterpoint and Keyboard Skills 1 (3 hours/3 credits).
  • Music 174: Harmony, Counterpoint and Keyboard Skills 2 (3 hours/3 credits).
  • Music 273: Harmony, Counterpoint and Keyboard Skills 3 (3 hours/3 credits).
  • Music 274: Harmony, Counterpoint and Keyboard Skills 4 (3 hours/3 credits). (Note: a concentration form should be filed before registering for 274.)
  • Music 373: Harmony, Counterpoint and Keyboard Skills 5 (3 hours/3 credits).
  • Music 374: Musical Techniques of the 20th Century (3 hours/3 credits).

One hour of the three weekly hours of theory 1-5 is devoted to keyboard skills. Students must pass both the keyboard part as well as the written part in order to continue in the theory sequence.

Music 175: Theory Survey (3 hours/3 credits). This course usually covers species counterpoint through fifth species as well as four-part harmony and keyboard skills. Its format is flexible in order to meet the needs of advanced incoming students and transfer students, usually with good preparation in harmony but insufficient background in counterpoint. Students generally advance from 175 to 273 in the theory sequence, but some students are placed higher. The course is normally offered only in the Fall semester.

(C) Advanced Courses

  • Music 276: Principles of Instrumentation (3 hours/3 credits); prerequisite: Music 274.
  • Music 277: Analysis 1 (2 hours/2 credits); prerequisite: Music 274.
  • Music 377: Analysis 2 (2 hours/2 credits); prerequisite: Music 277.
  • Music 378: Composition (3 hours/3 credits); prerequisite: Music 374.
  • Music 270: Conducting 1 (3 hours/2 credits); prerequisite: Music 273.
  • Music 370: Conducting 2 (3 hours/2 credits); prerequisite: Music 270. Required for Music Education students, elective to other interested students.

Bachelor of Music students are required to take only one of the following three courses and may omit the other two: Music 276 (Instrumentation), Music 378 (Composition), or Music 270 (Conducting 1). If the student is taking the Music Education sequence, however, all three courses are required.

(D) Music Education

The Music Education "major" is actually a music major with education and music education courses. Required courses and suggested semester sequence are outlined on the Music Education page.

(E) Performance Courses

1. Studio Courses

  • Music 151-152, 251-252, 351-352, 451-452: Major Study in Performance 1-8 (1 hour/3 credits each semester): private study of the major instrument or voice. These courses are open only to Bachelor of Music students and are required of those students.
  • * 280 English Language Diction in Vocal Music; required for voice majors (2 hours/1 credit).
  • * 281 Foreign Language Diction in Vocal Music; required for voice majors (2 hours/1 credit).
  • * 282 Survey of Repertory for Major Instruments or Voice. Required at least once for Bachelor of Music students (2 hours/1 credit).
  • * 283 The Art of Keyboard Accompaniment. Required for piano majors (2 hours/2 credits).
  • 286 Practical Accompanying (2 hours/2 credits).

* Open by permission to qualified students regardless of their major program.

These courses are open to all music students:

  • * 150 Independent study of instrument or voice (2 hours/credits). May be repeated for credit, up to 8 credits. Grade of B- required for continuation. Admission by audition; semester grade awarded by faculty jury.
  • * 250 Independent Study of Japanese Instruments: interested students are offered the chance to take private lessons on Japanese traditional instruments (koto, shamisen, and shakuhachi). See Henry Burnett for further information.

2. Performing Groups

All music majors are required to participate in a large performance ensemble during each semester of their enrollment. The groups which meet this requirement are Orchestra and Wind Ensemble for instrumentalists, Concert Choir and Glee Club for singers, pianists, guitarists, and students whose instrumental proficiency is not up to the level of the Orchestra or Wind Ensemble. Assignments to performance groups are made by the Music School. In some cases, students may substitute Choral Society or, if they qualify, Vocal Ensemble/Collegium Musicum for their assigned group. Permission for such substitutions, and they are rare, can be granted only by the Director of the School of Music together with the conductor of the assigned group.

Students are welcome to participate in additional large ensembles for which they are qualified, as their schedules permit. For specific rehearsal times, see the registration schedule. Rehearsal times tend to remain the same from year to year.

a. Vocal Groups

Concert Choir (Music 258): the principal choral performing group in the Music School, it gives several programs during the year in the Concert Hall, and on special occasions, off campus. Its repertoire includes important examples of the choral literature from the Renaissance to the present (3 hours a week, 0-1 credit).

Chorus (Music 158): open without audition to interested students and members of the college community. No previous singing experience necessary. Works studied range from folk-song arrangements to choral music by the great composers. Recommended for students with little or no vocal experience as an aid to their sight singing and dictation studies (3 hours a week, 0-1 credit).

Choral Society (Music 156): a college-community organization of about 150 voices, it gives two full-length concerts with orchestra each year in Colden Auditorium including Handel's Messiah in December (3 hours a week, 0-1 credit).

Vocal Ensemble (Music 356): a select chamber choir of 16-20 voices which performs music of all periods, from the Middle Ages and Renaissance to the present day. Members include graduate students and occasionally faculty as well as qualified undergraduates (2 hours/0-1 credit).

Opera Studio (Music 256): scenes from a wide variety of operas are performed in several workshop recitals each semester. Students receive individual coaching (2-6 hours a week, credit variable).

b. Instrumental Groups

Orchestra (Music 259): the principal instrumental ensemble in the Copland School, it includes both graduate and undergraduate students. The orchestra gives four concerts in the fall and three concerts in the spring in the Concert Hall. At times it may perform off-campus. Student soloists are featured in concertos. Orchestra members also play with the Choral Society in its spring concerts (5 hours/0-2 credits).

Orchestra wind and percussion students not scheduled for all concerts in a given semester participate in the Wind Ensemble during those times. These students must, therefore, keep their schedules clear for this shared-time arrangement.

Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Music 253): a group of woodwind, brass and percussion players (string bass players are also welcome) that studies and performs the band and wind ensemble repertory. The Wind Ensemble plays at Commencement each June and has its own concerts in the Concert Hall each semester, plus performances at some college-wide events (3 hours/0-1 credit).

Vocal Ensemble (Music 356) and Collegium Musicum (Music 357): these groups now function as vocal/instrumental ensembles, from which different-sized combinations can be drawn. The repertoire is Medieval and Renaissance music played on modern copies of old instruments, including recorders, lutes, viols, shawms and sackbuts. The Copland School has its own collection of many of these instruments. Students interested in learning to play them should speak to the director (2 hours/0-1 credits).

Chamber Music (Music 255): small ensembles, coached by the performance faculty of the Copland School. Ensemble sections are also available for brass players, guitarists, and percussionists (1 or 2 hours/0-2 credits).

Music 255 is open by audition to all qualified students; those interested are urged to contact the chamber music coordinator before registration. Bachelor of Music students must take at least four semesters of Chamber Music, and they are encouraged to participate throughout their college careers. Chamber groups are organized at the beginning of each semester; students should let the ensemble coordinator know their interests and preferences beforehand and should attend the first session prepared to audition for placement.

Nota Bene Contemporary Ensemble (Music 257): gives instrumentalists and singers an opportunity to study and perform the classics of the 20th century repertoire as well as newly composed works (2 hours/0-2 credits).

*Baroque Ensemble (Music 257): studies and performs the baroque chamber repertory. String players may borrow the Music School's baroque bows. (2 hours/0-2 credits).

Jazz Ensembles (Music 291): various small combinations of instruments as well as a "big band" may be included in this group, which plays music in different styles and includes opportunities for the use of original material (2 hours/0-1 credit).

Guitar Ensemble (Music 257): this group performs works for 2 to 6 and more guitars, as well as arrangements of the classical guitar literature for such ensembles (1-2 hours/0-1 credit).

Percussion Ensemble (Music 257): performs works for small and large percussion ensembles, including student works and works which involve other instruments. Students are coached by the percussion faculty and give a concert once a semester (2 hours/0-2 credits).

Brass Ensemble (Music 257): performs original compositions and arrangements of music for brass ensembles of varying size. The group gives a concert each semester (2 hours/0-1 credit).

* Course does not meet every semester; see current class schedule.

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