The concentration in Music provides an understanding of music in diverse cultural and historical contexts as well as a solid foundation in composition, theory, analysis, and criticism. While the Department of Music is not in itself a school of music with a performance department, we strongly encourage performance activities. Department Website
Students begin the concentration in Music with courses in Western music history and repertory, world music, and music theory. Students are then offered a wide range of advanced, specialized electives in music theory, composition, musicology, ethnomusicology, and performance-related areas that build on the foundations laid in the introductory courses. Offered on a rotating basis, courses reflect the specialties of our academic faculty: eighteenth-century material culture, diaspora studies and migration, opera, jazz, music and politics, early music, musical theater, music and media, global pop, improvisation, hip hop, musics from around the world, history of the book, film, American and European modernism, music and cognition, music and ecology, new music of the 21st-century, and cross-cultural composition.
Electives allow students to engage with musical questions at a deep level. In musicology and ethnomusicology, these courses take the form of proseminars for small groups that explore in detail selected musicological issues and direct students toward significant independent projects.
Several advanced courses in acoustic and electronic composition are given each year, along with occasional offerings in orchestration and other specific compositional topics. Advanced theory and analysis courses include such topics as tonal and post-tonal analysis, jazz harmony, and modal and tonal counterpoint. Performance-oriented courses include chamber music, jazz, South Indian, West African, historical performance practice, improvisation, conducting, and creative music.
The department welcomes joint concentrations with other departments that allow them. Joint concentrators need to fulfill a reduced number of course requirements. A senior thesis is required on a topic in which both fields are represented. Theses may take the form of an original composition, a senior recital, or a written project.