Music Major

Music Major in the Course Program

The music major curriculum normally includes the following components. However, we welcome individualized proposals, which will be evaluated and approved on the basis of consultations with the music faculty. We continue to emphasize the importance of depth and mastery of musical skills and understanding, and we also recognize the value of studying the diversity of musical cultures.

Harmony & Counterpoint, 5 course requirement, plus Musicianship Sections [Music 40]

  • Music 11 & 40a
  • Music 12 & 40b
  • Music 13 & 40c
  • Music 14 & 40d
  • Music 115
  • Music 40 may be taken for 0.0 credit or 0.5 credit at the student's option.

Music History and Literature, 4.5 course requirement

Course Majors are strongly advised to take more than five history courses if possible.

  • Music 20 [Medieval & Renaissance]
  • Music 94 Senior Research Topics in Music [0.5 credit course]

plus at least three of the following:

  • Music 21 [Baroque & Classical]
  • Music 22 [Nineteenth-Century Europe]
  • Music 23 [Twentieth Century]
  • Any other history course numbered above 23
  • Courses with lower course numbers in areas such as Jazz or World Music, including extra or higher-level work, with approval of the instructor.


World Traditions requirement

This requirement may be fulfilled in either of two ways:

  • One of the 4.5 courses listed in category B, above, in Music History and Literature is to be a course in non-Western traditions numbered above 23;  OR
  • Two semesters of participation in the Gamelan or Taiko ensemble. (This also helps fulfill the ensemble requirement in category D, below).

Additional Requirements for Course Majors

Keyboard Skills

This program is designed to develop keyboard proficiency to a point where a student can use the piano effectively as a tool for studying music. Students learn to perform repertoire and, in addition, play standard harmonic progressions in all keys. The department offers a free weekly private lesson to any student enrolled in a Harmony & Counterpoint course numbered 11 or higher who needs work in this area, and requires it of all students in Music 12. Music majors and minors who have completed the theory sequence but need further instruction are still eligible. No academic credit is given for these lessons. All music majors are expected to be able to perform a two-part Invention of J. S. Bach (or another work of similar difficulty) by their senior year.

Score Reading

By the end of their senior year, all majors are expected to be able to read an orchestral score that includes c-clefs and some transposing instruments. Students may take Music 18 (Conducting and Orchestration) to satisfy this requirement.

Department Ensemble

The department requires majors and minors to participate in any of the departmental ensembles (Orchestra, Chorus, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Gamelan). We also recommend that students participate in other activities, such as playing in Chamber Music ensembles or seeking out service learning experiences that incorporate music.

Comprehensive Exam

During their senior year, majors in the course program will take the departmental comprehensive examination, which normally consists of the study of a single musical work (selected in advance by the student, subject to the approval of the department) which demonstrates skills in the three areas of analysis, historical research, and performance. Course majors will enroll in MUSI 094 (Senior Research Topics in Music) in the spring semester of their senior year to help them prepare for their comprehensive.