Requirements for the Major in Music
Students majoring in music are expected to integrate their studies in performance, theory and musicianship, music history and ethnomusicology. By the end of the music program, students are expected to have developed the knowledge, skills, concepts and sensitivities necessary to enter the real world as informed musicians who are able to make a personally expressive contribution to society. The music major should have acquired the necessary background to continue music studies at the graduate level.
Students gain basic technical and conceptual competence in an instrument (or voice), a condensed and selective knowledge of music and music literature, the ability to integrate musical knowledge and skills, sensitivity to Western and non-Western musical styles and an insight into the role of music in intellectual and cultural life. By the end of their studies in our department, students:
- Develop the ability to hear, identify and work conceptually with elements of music such as rhythm, melody, harmony, timbre, texture and form
- Develop an understanding of and the ability to read and realize musical notation
- Develop an understanding of compositional processes, aesthetic properties of style and the ways these shape and are shaped by artistic and cultural forces
- Develop knowledge of a wide selection of musical literature and its associated eras, genres and cultural sources
- Refine the ability to develop and defend musical judgments
- Learn to interpret, analyze and perform a variety of musical styles
These goals are pursued through making, listening to and studying music. Instruction in a performing medium, participation in ensembles and public performance are vital to the music major’s experience in our program.
Requirements for the major consist of the following.
- Music in Theory and Practice (MUS 086 PO ), Music Theory courses (MUS 080 PO , MUS 081 PO , MUS 082 PO ), Music History courses (MUS 120A PO , MUS 120B PO ) and 20th Century Music History and Theory (MUS 184 PO ). Must receive a Grade of C or higher to count these classes toward the Major.
- Four semesters in a Pomona College music ensemble, e.g., choir (MUS 031 PO ), orchestra (MUS 033 PO ), etc. and four semesters of music performance at level II (20 or 100) on the same or related instruments, for which the qualifying examination should be passed in the first or sophomore year
- At least one elective in ethnomusicology (MUS 065 PO , MUS 070 PO , MUS 072 PO , MUS 076 PO , MUS 078 PO , MUS 089A PO )
- Senior Seminar (MUS 190 PO )
The requirements above (totaling 12 to 13 course credits, depending upon the length of lessons at level II of applied study) are sufficient to satisfy the Music Department’s major requirements. It is possible to combine this basic major with one from another department or program to create a double major. In any case, students are encouraged to take additional elective courses offered by the Music Department. It is possible to pursue an area of specialization by augmenting the core curriculum as detailed below. If a student chooses one of the following concentrations, the Music Department will provide certification that the appropriate requirements have been met.
Concentration Requirements. Music majors should discuss a proposed concentration with their advisors.
- Composition: Electronic Music Studio (MUS 096A PO ), Orchestration and Instrumentation (MUS 113 PO ) and MUS 192 PO (full course) for the preparation of a senior composition. Performance of work not required but highly encouraged.
- History: At least one elective from the History and Appreciation of Music section with a course number above 100. HIST 191 PO for the preparation of a senior historical thesis. Art history courses suggested.
- Performance: The four required semesters of music performance must be hour lessons, all of which must be at Level II. Ensemble participation increased to six semesters. One music elective with a course number above 100 (117 or equivalent for conducting). Four performances from: student recitals, chamber music recitals, senior compositions, senior recitals of colleagues, competition-winning appearances or other venues approved by the department. MUS 192 PO (half course) for the preparation and performance of a senior recital, with program notes and text/translations if needed. MUS 192 PO and MUS 020 PO or MUS 100 PO are normally taken the same semester as the senior recital is given. Presentation of a junior recital recommended.
- Ethnomusicology: Introduction to Ethnomusicology (MUS 070 PO ), MUS 192 PO for the preparation of a senior research project and at least one elective in ethnomusicology with a course number above 100. (Note that MUS 070 PO could simultaneously satisfy core requirement 3 above.)
- Special Research: For students interested in theory, electronic music, music education, journalism/criticism, library studies, management or any individually designed music specialization. Two music electives with a course number above 100, one of which is not Independent Study (MUS 199). MUS 192 PO is required for the preparation of a senior research project.
Recitals. All students are encouraged to perform in public student recitals sponsored by the department, provided they obtain the approval of their instructors. Full- or half-length recitals require approval of the instructor and permission of the department.
Considerations. Students who expect to major in music should possess or develop the ability to read music at the keyboard. They should take MUS 086 PO and the required theory and history courses (MUS 080 PO , MUS 081 PO , MUS 082 PO , MUS 120A PO , MUS 120B PO , MUS 184 PO ) as soon as possible. In rare cases, and with permission of the department, one of the required music theory courses may be satisfied by examination, without credit. All new students, both first-year students and those transferring from other institutions, are placed in theory and history classes according to their experience and ability. For graduate work in music, languages (e.g., Latin, Italian, French and German) are important, depending upon the area of specialization.
All courses required for the music major that are offered for a letter grade must be taken for a letter grade. Students are encouraged to consult with the Music Department in advance to determine whether academic work completed on study abroad, at one of the other Claremont Colleges or at another institution can fulfill the major requirements.