Department of Music
- Departmental Representative
- Director of Graduate Studies
Simon Morrison (Musicology)
Dmitri Tymoczko (Composition)
V. Kofi Agawu
Simon A. Morrison
Daniel L. Trueman
Barbara A. White
- Associate Professor
Donnacha M. Dennehy
Rob C. Wegman
- Assistant Professor
- Senior Lecturer
Gabriel Crouch, University Glee Club, Chamber Choir
Rudresh Mahanthappa, University Jazz Ensembles
Michael J. Pratt, University Orchestra, University Opera Theater
Jeffrey O. Snyder
Information and Departmental Plan of Study
The undergraduate Music Major at Princeton is designed to give students a solid foundation in the criticism, analysis, and composition of music. As part of the major, students pursue work in composition, music history, theory, analysis and interpretation, music technology, performance, and improvisation. Whether our concentrators ultimately choose to write music (focus on composition) or write about music (focus on theory and music history), they are encouraged to give full reign to their creative instincts, and have the freedom to develop senior thesis projects that transcend traditional disciplinary or methodological boundaries.
The Department of Music does not grant advanced placement exam credit. Freshmen who wish to enroll in a course where "any music course" is listed as a prerequisite must obtain the permission of the departmental representative or the course instructor.
Students interested in majoring in music are expected to attain competence in music theory before entering the department. This general prerequisite is typically satisfied by the completion of both semesters of “Music Theory through Performance and Composition” (MUS 105 and MUS 106). Because certain upper-level courses have a year of music theory as a prerequisite, students who are considering majoring in music are advised to take MUS 105 and MUS 106 in their freshman year.
Under special circumstances, students may be able to place out of MUS 105 or 106 by demonstrating equivalent knowledge in an exam given by the course instructor. Students who pass out of MUS 105 and/or 106 will instead take MUS 205 and/or 206 as prerequisites, and will be required to take two additional electives to meet the minimum requirement of 10 courses in the major
Qualified students who have completed the departmental prerequisites in their freshman year may be allowed to begin departmental concentration in their sophomore year.
Program of Study
Class of 2020 and beyond: Students majoring in music take a total of 10 courses in the major: two prerequisite theory courses (MUS 105 and 106); MUS 205 (Species Counterpoint) and MUS 206 (Tonal Syntax); four 200-level courses in music history or analysis; and two additional electives at the 300 level or higher. Concentrators must also complete the non-credit-bearing Junior Seminar. Music majors in the performance program may use one performance course (such as MUS 213, 214, 215, 216, 219) as a departmental. Concentrators design their program of study in close consultation with the departmental representative.
Class of 2019: Concentrators may elect to fulfill the department’s requirements either through the new requirements, listed here, or through the requirements that were in place prior to Academic Year 2018-2019. Please consult the 2017-2018 Undergraduate Announcement for details regarding the former requirements.
Students planning graduate study in music should achieve reading and speaking proficiency in at least one foreign language. German, French, and Italian are most germane to the study of Western music. Some experience with composition software may also be of use.
Junior Seminar. A fall-term junior seminar, led by the departmental representative, offers an introduction to some of the methodological, technical, and disciplinary issues entailed in the study and composition of music. In lieu of receiving course credit for the junior seminar, students complete their fall junior independent project in the context of the seminar, under the supervision of the departmental representative.
Junior Independent Work. Students complete their fall junior project under the supervision of the departmental representative as a requirement of the Junior Seminar (see above). These are typically research papers of 10–15 pages in length, or a composition of similar scope. The deadline for submission of the fall JP is Dean's Date. In the spring semester, students work individually with a faculty advisor to produce a more substantial research paper of 20–30 pages in length, or an extensive musical composition. Deadlines for submission vary from year to year, but often fall on Dean's Date.
Senior Independent Work. Over the course of their senior year, students work closely with a faculty advisor on a senior independent project—typically an extended essay on a musicological, analytical, or theoretical topic (65–95 pages in length), or a project in composition. Students establish the specific horizons of the project in collaboration with their faculty advisor.
Senior Departmental Examination
Soon after Dean’s Date, senior concentrators will sit for a daylong, written examination known as the senior comprehensive exam. This is an open-book, take-home test, comprised of a series of short responses to musical excerpts. The examination is broad in scope and covers a wide range of musical knowledge. In preparing for the exam, students are encouraged to review notes and materials from courses taken in fulfillment of the major requirements.
Music concentrators are encouraged to explore the many study abroad opportunities offered at Princeton. Among these is the unique collaboration Princeton maintains with the Royal College of Music in London, in which students have the opportunity to participate in a five-year double-degree program (A.B. and M.M.). Students spend the fall semester of the junior year in London. Interested current and prospective music majors should email the director of the Certificate Program in Music Performance for further details.
Musicianship. Some training in musicianship is a component in the undergraduate theory courses, but it is expected that students will also work on aural and practical skills on their own. At least a minimal competence at the keyboard is expected of all music concentrators as well.
Other Academic Preparation. Students planning graduate study in musicology or theory should achieve reading and speaking proficiency in at least one foreign language, depending upon their areas of interest. Students with interests in composition may want preparation in engineering and computer science. Majors should discuss this with the departmental representative
Musicianship, Ensembles, and Instrumental and Vocal Lessons. Concentrators are encouraged to take an active part in performing music. All concentrators have the opportunity to take vocal or instrumental lessons from world-class professionals on the performance faculty. For students majoring in music or pursuing a certificate in performance, the full cost of these lessons is paid for by the University. Students can also gain exposure to performance by participating in one of the Departmental Ensembles. For further information on lessons, ensembles, and performance opportunities, please contact Ryan Dalton.