Music (2022 - 2024)
The breadth and depth of knowledge offered by the major provide an excellent foundation for academic, creative, and performance work, offering a solid set of applied critical and listening abilities. The major is equally ideal for students seeking careers requiring a solid liberal arts background and strong analytical and critical skills, and for students interested in humanistic fields in which sonic culture is a central element. The music major cultivates the ability to interpret and analyze music as both text and performance. It gives students a broad understanding of the various issues currently being discussed in musical thinking and research, as well as a grounding in theory and the opportunity to engage in creative work. Qualified students can undertake advanced supervised research or composition in their senior year, leading to a thesis and the award of honors in the major.
The major program of study and our faculty’s specializations offer superb foundations for further advanced studies in music as well as disciplines such as American studies, comparative literature, linguistic and cultural anthropology, Native American studies, popular culture, gender studies, Western and Central European culture and history, Slavic studies, Latin American and Latino studies, media studies, performance studies, theatre, environmental humanities, and sound studies.
The major in music requires a total of ten 4-point courses (40 points) completed with a grade of C or better, as follows:
- Aural Perception (MUSIC-UA 193)
- Music Theory I and II (MUSIC-UA 201 and 202)
- Two courses in the area of music, history, and cultures
- Two courses in the area of sonic art
- Three electives, one of which must be designated as an advanced course. The advanced course is taken in fall of senior year.
Students may count up to four points of performance coursework in this department or in the Steinhardt School’s Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions toward the music major.
A total of four courses (16 points) completed with a grade of C or better is required for the music minor:
- One course in music theory
- One course in the area of music, history, and cultures
- One course in the area of sonic art or one additional course in the area of music, history, and cultures
- One additional course numbered at or above the MUSIC-UA 100 level. Four points of performance (from this department or Steinhardt) may be used for this requirement.
Policies Applying to the Major and Minor
A grade of C or higher is required for a course to count toward the major or minor; courses graded Pass/Fail do not count.
The College awards 4 points for a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement examination in Music Theory and counts this as elective credit toward the baccalaureate degree, but the credits do not count toward the music major or minor. CAS does not award any credit for International Baccalaureate or any other advanced standing examinations in music.
Highly motivated students may take part in the department’s honors program, which culminates during the senior year with an independent study supervised by a faculty member. Students must have a 3.65 GPA both in the major and overall to pursue honors. Honors students register for a semester or more of Independent Study (MUSIC-UA 997 or 998) in which they complete a capstone project in musicology or music history, ethnomusicology, analysis, or composition. This might take the form of an analytical or historiographical study of a major work or group of works, the writing of a musical composition of substantial dimensions, or a biographical study of a composer, all under the guidance of a faculty member. A student wishing to pursue departmental honors should apply to the director of undergraduate studies. There are also three departmental prizes that the department awards to exceptional students (listed in the awards and prizes section of this Bulletin).
Students pursuing a major or minor in music, and indeed all students in the College of Arts and Science, are encouraged to participate in musical performance, lessons, and ensembles. We believe that the joys of making music, the dedication and study necessary to perform music, and the collective effort required of ensemble participants constitute an inimitable experience that should have a central place in a liberal arts education. Students are encouraged to participate in the performance ensembles regularly offered (for credit) by our clinical faculty. They can also participate in the NYU Orchestra, and many of the lessons, programs, and ensembles associated with the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development’s Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions. Students are also invited to attend the numerous concerts that the department sponsors each year, as well as concerts of the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society. We encourage students to patronize the large collection of independent music venues located throughout Greenwich Village, and, more broadly, to participate in the vibrant music cultures found in all five boroughs of the city. Exploration of music in the city is a central component of the music major, and the Department's faculty and graduate students regularly organize concert trips for our undergraduates.
In addition to participation in the various performance ensembles, the department encourages students to partake vigorously of the cultural life of New York City. Students are entitled to discounted tickets to the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, concerts of the World Music Institute, concerts of the Kalavant Center for Indian Music and Dance, and many other music-presenting organizations.