Department of Music

  • Chair

    Wendy Heller

  • Departmental Representative

    Gavin Steingo

  • Director of Graduate Studies

    Simon Morrison (Musicology)

    Dmitri Tymoczko (Composition)

     

  • Professor

    V. Kofi Agawu

    Wendy Heller

    Steven Mackey

    Simon A. Morrison

    Daniel L. Trueman

    Dmitri Tymoczko

    Barbara A. White

  • Associate Professor

    Donnacha M. Dennehy

    Rob C. Wegman

  • Assistant Professor

    Jamie Reuland

    Juri Seo

    Gavin Steingo

  • 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.

Advanced Placement

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.

Prerequisites

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

Early Concentration

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.

Languages

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.

Independent Work

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.

Study Abroad

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.

Other Information

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.

 

 

Courses

MUS 103 Introduction to Music LA A listener's introduction to western musical styles from the middle ages to the present. The course is designed for students with no previous musical background and is taught essentially without musical notation. Emphasis is on guided analytic listening to selected works of Bach, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Two lectures, one class. R. Wegman
MUS 104 When Music Is Made LA An introduction to the fundamental materials of a variety of musics, including Western concert music, jazz, and popular music. Course activities center around interrelated theoretical, compositional, and analytical projects that serve to explore issues of music theory, style, and creativity. Two lectures, two preceptorials. D. Dennehy
MUS 105 Music Theory through Performance and Composition Fall LA An introduction to the procedures, structures, and aesthetics of tonal music. Composing, singing, playing, analysis of music such as 18th-century chorale, and 18th- and 19th-century piano music. Emphasis on fluency in handling tonal materials as a means of achieving a variety of formal and expressive ends. Two lectures, two classes, one session in practical musicianship. D. Dennehy, J. Seo
MUS 106 Music Theory through Performance and Composition Spring LA An introduction to the procedures, structures, and aesthetics of tonal music. Composing, singing, playing, analysis of music such as 18th-century chorale, and 18th- and 19th-century piano music. Emphasis on fluency in handling tonal materials as a means of achieving a variety of formal and expressive ends. Two lectures, two classes, one session in practical musicianship. Prerequisite: ability to read music. D. Dennehy, J. Seo
MUS 205 Species Counterpoint Fall LA An introduction to the principles of voice leading and linear construction through a series of systematic compositional exercises. Two lectures, two classes. Prerequisite: 106 or equivalent. S. Mackey, D. Trueman, J. Seo
MUS 206 Tonal Syntax Spring LA An introduction to the syntactic structure of the music of the 18th and 19th centuries through exercises in analysis and composition. Two lectures, two classes. Prerequisite: 205 or equivalent. S. Mackey, D. Trueman, J. Seo
MUS 210 Beginning Workshop in Musical Composition LA A continuous cycle of creation, discussion, and response based on the creative musical activity of the students. Varieties of kind and style--notated composition, multimedia music, multitracking, and improvisation--are encouraged. Prerequisite: instructor's permission. Two 90-minute classes. S. Mackey, J. Seo
MUS 213 Projects in Instrumental Performance Fall LA Instrumental chamber music class of the standard repertory of the 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Preparation for performance of ensembles. Each ensemble's repertoire will be determined in consultation with the instructors during the first week of classes. Staff
MUS 214 Projects in Vocal Performance LA Guides students in extended projects in performance. Prerequisite: instructor's permission. Staff
MUS 215 Projects in Jazz Performance Fall LA A performance course that focuses on the development of style, concept, and repertoire in the jazz idiom. Students are coached by faculty in extended projects in performance. K. Davis Radley
MUS 216 Techniques of Conducting Fall LA This course will focus on: 1) the development of competency in conducting technique, 2) verbal and non-verbal communication in rehearsal, 3) the study of choral repertoire of various styles and genres, emphasizing analysis and interpretation and 4) the development of good rehearsal strategies. G. Crouch
MUS 220 The Opera (also
MTD 220
) LA
An introduction to opera. Lectures deal with works by major composers, conventions of libretto poetry, singers and voice types, musical forms and dramatic pacing, and opera staging. Classes are devoted to close study of two works and the plays on which they were based. Two lectures, one class. Prerequisite: any music course, or some musical background, or instructor's permission. Open to freshmen. W. Heller
MUS 221 Choral Music (also
REL 221
) LA
A survey of vocal literature (excluding opera) from the early Middle Ages to the present. Relations between text and music are stressed. The classes are devoted to a close study of two or three works. Two lectures, one class. Prerequisite: instructor's permission. Staff
MUS 225 Instrumental Music: The Symphony from Haydn to Stravinsky LA A study of the development of the symphony from its origins in the mid-18th century through the first half of the 20th. Representative works will be chosen for detailed study in the class meetings. Two lectures, one class. Prerequisite: any music course, some musical background, or instructor's permission. S. Burnham, W. Heller
MUS 230 Music in the Middle Ages (also
MED 230
) Fall/Spring LA
Major developments of Western music up to about 1400, including some of the following: the origin and growth of chant, its liturgical context and musical properties; medieval secular song; early polyphony and Parisian organum; the French ars nova and Machaut; the Italian trecento; English medieval music. Prerequisite: a year of theory or instructor's permission. R. Wegman
MUS 232 Music in the Renaissance LA Introduction to the history and current scholarship of European music in the period 1400-1600. The principal thread is compositional history; in addition, the course includes extensive coverage of these topics: aesthetics, orality/literacy, improvisation, gender and sexuality. R. Wegman
MUS 234 Music of the Baroque LA An introductory survey of style developments, aesthetic trends affecting music, and principal vocal and instrumental genres (opera, cantata, concerto, sonata, and suite) of the period 1600-1750. Major figures to be considered include Monteverdi, Schütz, Lully, Corelli, Vivaldi, Handel, and J. S. Bach. Two lectures, one preceptorial. Prerequisite: any music course or instructor's permission. W. Heller
MUS 236 Music of the Classical Period LA This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the music of the Viennese Classical period. In addition to becoming familiar with some 20 musical works by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, students will engage the cultural context of this music, including historical, aesthetic, and biographical issues. Includes units on the primary instrumental genres of the Classical style and concludes with a series of in-depth analyses of large-scale works by each composer. Two lectures, one class. Staff
MUS 240 Musical Modernism 1890-1945 LA An introduction to modern music, beginning with its origins in late Romanticism, up to World War II. Composers considered include Mahler, Stravinsky, Debussy, Ravel, and Berg. Topics range from urban centers for modern music (Paris and Vienna), the relationship of musical modernism to contemporary literature and visual arts, music and politics, to the impact of recording technology and cinema on musical arts. Prerequisite: any music course, some classical music background, or instructor's permission. Two lectures, one preceptorial. S. Morrison
MUS 242 Music After Modernism, 1945 to the Present Spring LA European and American music since World War II. Study of many recent approaches to music and their cultural, social, and philosophical bases. Topics include: postwar European avant-garde, American extensions of serialism, technological developments, influences of popular and folk cultures, American avant-garde. Prerequisite: any music course, some musical background, or instructor's permission. Two lectures, one preceptorial. D. Dennehy
MUS 250 Musical Cultures of the World Spring LA Course explores aesthetic principles and social context underlying traditional and popular musics of various world regions, drawing on examples from South Africa, Japan, India, and Indonesia, among other places. Issues explored include conception of melody and rhythm in culture; the impact that language, pedagogical methods, patronage systems, gender, and ethnic or class identity have had on musical composition and performance; and the role of migration, globalization, and politics in the development of musical style. G. Steingo
MUS 251 Music and Film LA An examination of the effect of different compositional practices and different sound technologies on the film viewer. The course will focus on three parameters of film music: music that has a visual point of origin on the screen (diegetic music), music that does not have a visual point of origin on the screen (nondiegetic music, also called background scoring), and music that floats between these two realms. Prerequisite: 103, or 105, or permission of instructor. One three-hour seminar. S. Morrison
MUS 258 Music of Africa (also
AFS 258
) LA
Introduction to the vocal and instrumental music of Africa south of the Sahara. Topics include the place of music in society, the influence of language on musical composition, principles of rhythmic organization, urban popular music, "art" music as a response to colonialism, and the impact of African music on the earliest forms of African American music. Two 90-minute lectures. V. Agawu
MUS 260 Music Traditions in North America (also
AMS 309
) Fall LA
This course will delve into the many historical themes, social issues, and musical aspects that arise from surveying and comparing the diverse musical traditions of Mexico, the U.S., and Canada. M. Velasco
MUS 262 Jazz History: Many Sounds, Many Voices (also
AAS 262
) Spring LA
An introduction survey examining the historical development of jazz from its African origins through the present. The course will place emphasis on the acquisition of listening skills and explore related musical and social issues. Staff
MUS 264 Urban Blues and the Golden Age of Rock LA Examines post-World War II blues, rock music mostly of the late sixties and early seventies, and the connections between them. Explores wider musical and extramusical connections. Two lectures, one class. R. Wegman
MUS 301 Special Topics in Contemporary Practice (See DAN 304)
MUS 308 Contemporary Music through Composition and Performance LA An introduction to a variety of 20th-century approaches to composition. Emphasis on understanding different techniques, syntaxes, and musical languages through exercises in compositional emulations and in performance projects of student and studied works, using available performance skills of participants. Prerequisite: 206 or instructor's permission. One three-hour seminar, one preceptorial. S. Mackey, V. Agawu
MUS 309 Topics in Tonal Analysis LA The course will deal closely with a small number of works from the tonal repertoire and will serve as a critical introduction to several pertinent and influential analytical methodologies, including motivic, formal, semiotic, and voice-leading analysis. The focus will be on the musical and aesthetic values that each method either enhances or attenuates. Prerequisite: 206 or instructor's permission. One three-hour seminar. V. Agawu, D. Trueman
MUS 310 Advanced Workshop in Musical Composition LA An opportunity for students who have developed sufficient compositional skills to work on more extended and advanced projects. Three hours per week. S. Mackey, D. Dennehy
MUS 311 Jazz Theory through Improvisation and Composition I LA An exploration of the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic principles of the bebop paradigm. The course includes analysis of representative works by various jazz masters and will place a strong emphasis on student projects in improvisation and composition. Prerequisites: 105 or permission of instructor. Two 90-minute classes. Staff
MUS 314 Computer and Electronic Music through Programming, Performance, and Composition (also
COS 314
) QR
An introduction to the fundamentals of computer and electronic music in the context of the Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk). The music and sound programming language ChucK, developed here at Princeton, will be used in conjunction with Max/MSP, another digital audio language, to study procedural programming, digital signal processing and synthesis, networking, and human-computer interfacing. D. Trueman, J. Snyder
MUS 316 Computer and Electronic Music Composition LA Compositional projects involving computers and synthesizers. Some work may involve interactions between live and electronic sounds. Two 90-minute classes. Prerequisite: 314 or permission of instructor. D. Trueman, J. Snyder
MUS 328 Special Topics in Performance Practice (See THR 330)
MUS 333 Bach and Handel LA The contrasting careers and oeuvres of the two greatest representatives of the late baroque in music will be considered both individually and comparatively. Prerequisite: a year of theory or instructor's permission. W. Heller
MUS 339 Russian Music (also
SLA 311
) LA
A detailed survey of Russian national and international composers. Topics of discussion and analysis will include magic opera, realism, orientalism, the relationship between composers and poets of the Russian Symbolist era, the World of Art movement and the Ballets Russes, Soviet film music, Soviet arts doctrine, and musical aesthetics (especially as they pertain to authorship and identity). Prerequisites: 105 or permission of instructor. Two 90-minute classes. S. Morrison
MUS 430 Topics in History, Analysis, and Interpretation Fall LA Topics chosen from, but not limited to: a group of works by a single composer (Leonin's organa, Monteverdi's madrigals, Brahms's symphonies); a certain genre (19th-century choral works, Hindustani Khayal, contemporary rock, late 16th-century madrigal); a specific theoretical or historical problem (atonal theory, composers' sketches and musical analysis, the origins of opera). One three-hour seminar. Staff
MUS 431 Topics in History, Analysis, and Interpretation Spring LA Topics chosen from, but not limited to: a group of works by a single composer (Leonin's organa, Monteverdi madrigals, Brahms's symphonies); a certain genre (19th-century choral works, Hindustani Khayal, contemporary rock, late 16th-century madrigal); a specific theoretical or historical problem (atonal theory, composers' sketches and musical analysis, the origins of opera). One three-hour seminar. Staff