Department of Music

Course Descriptions

Department of Music

MUS 001R, 002R, 003R, 004R Concert Attendance I, II,III, IV (0 credit)

This course sequence requires students to attend at least three concerts on campus each semester. Attendance will be noted at the entrance to the auditorium. Those who fail to fulfill the minimum requirement need to make it up in the following semester. (Each course in the four-year sequence must be repeated once as part of the program requirement.)

MUS 101A Ear Training A (1 credit)

This course solidifies students’ understanding of theoretical principles through aural exercises such as sight singing, rhythmic exercises, and dictation.

MUS 101B Ear Training B (1 credit)

This course, through aural exercises such as sight singing, rhythmic exercises, and dictation, reinforces students’ understanding of theoretical principles covered in MUS111B. Prerequisite: MUS101A; or by instructor consent.

MUS 102A Keyboard Skills I (1 credit)

This course offers piano lessons in a group setting. Students will develop the ability to read music and play simple pieces with proper technique while relating the music to theory that they have learned.

MUS 102B Keyboard Skills II (1 credit)

This course focuses on the development of keyboard musicianship, including basic pianistic facility and ease at the keyboard, sight-reading and harmonization in treble and bass clefs, basic music theory, and ensemble playing. Prerequisite: MUS102A; or by instructor consent.

MUS 110 Music for Dancers (for non-majors; 3 credits)

This course aims to develop and strengthen the basic musical and rhythmic skills vital to a student’s dance education. Students will be asked to participate in various activities intended to strengthen their sense of rhythm, train their aural and conceptual skills in listening and appreciating music, and translate their musical literacy to practical dance application.

MUS 111A Western Music Theory A (2 credits)

This course introduces students to the basic theoretical elements and concepts in the Western musical system, including intervals, scales, key signatures, triads, rhythm, and meter.

MUS 111B Western Music Theory B (2 credits)

A continuation of MUS111A, this course focuses on the dominant seventh chord, the leading-tone chord, secondary dominants, and their use in common-tone modulations. Prerequisite: MUS111A; or by instructor consent.

MUS 120R, 220R, 320R, 420R Orchestra I, II, III, IV (2 credits each)

In this applied music course, students develop their instrumental skills, ensemble techniques, and musicianship skills through playing in the College orchestra. (Each course in the four-year sequence must be repeated once with credits awarded.)

MUS 121R, 221R, 321R, 421R Major Instrument (Western) (4 credits each)

Through enrolling in this course, a student majoring in a Western musical instrument is entitled to one 60-minute private lesson per week. (Each course in the four-year sequence must be repeated once with credits awarded.)

MUS 122R, 222R, 322R, 422R Major Instrument (Chinese) (4 credits each)

Through enrolling in this course, a student majoring in a Chinese musical instrument is entitled to one 60-minute private lesson per week. (Each course in the four-year sequence must be repeated once with credits awarded.)

MUS 123R, 223R, 323R, 423R Chamber Music (1 credit each)

This studio course expands students’ ensemble repertoire, improves ensemble skills, and encourages more personal responsibility in creating polished artistic performances. Students will perform the assigned repertoire in a recital examination. Prerequisite: MUS101B, MUS102B, and MUS111B; or by instructor consent. (Each course in the four-year sequence must be repeated once with credits awarded.)

MUS 124R, 224R Concert Practice (0.5 credit)

In this course, students meet once a week in a master class-like situation to perform for faculty members and peers and to listen to their peers’ performances. (Each course in the two-year sequence must be repeated once with credits awarded.)

MUS 155, 255, 355 Music Practicum I, II, III (3 credits each)

This course is designed to give students the opportunity to gain practical professional performing experience through taking part in the orchestra of Shen Yun Performing Arts. Enrollment is audition-based and is contingent upon the number of openings in the Shen Yun orchestras. (Courses offered in the winter term only.)

MUS 201A Advanced Ear Training A (1 credit)

This course improves students’ fluency in the materials covered in MUS101B while developing their aural skills with respect to the theoretical topics covered in MUS 211A. Prerequisite: MUS101B; or by instructor consent.

MUS 201B Advanced Ear Training B (1 credit)

This course further develops students’ aural skills through more challenging exercises. Besides harmonic progressions, the dictation exercises will comprise cross rhythms, syncopations, and smaller subdivision of the beats. Prerequisite: MUS201A; or by instructor consent.

MUS 202A Advanced Keyboard Skills A (1 credit)

A continuation of MUS102B, this studio course develops students’ keyboard skills at the elementary-intermediate level, focusing on increasing finger dexterity and further acquisition of functional theory-related keyboard skills. Prerequisite: MUS102B; or by instructor consent.

MUS 202B Advanced Keyboard Skills B (1 credit)

A continuation of MUS202A, this studio course develops students’ keyboard skills at the intermediate level and consolidates the functional theory-related keyboard skills previously acquired in the keyboard sequence. Prerequisite: MUS202A; or by instructor consent.

MUS 211A Advanced Western Music Theory A (2 credits)

In addition to more advanced harmonic progressions, this course focuses on the small structural designs in music, such as binary form, ternary form, and strophic form. Prerequisite: MUS111B; or by instructor consent.

MUS 211B Advanced Western Music Theory B (2 credits)

This course consolidates students’ knowledge of nineteenth-century chromatic harmony while introducing eighteenth-century imitative counterpoint. Prerequisite: MUS211A; or by instructor consent.

MUS 212 Chinese Music Theory and Repertoires (2 credits)

This course introduces students to the tuning systems, notations, regional characteristics, and stylistic issues in traditional Chinese music by focusing on the various instrumental genres (solos and ensembles).

MUS 240A History of Western Music A (2 credits)

This is a survey of the history of Western classical music from Classical Antiquity to the end of the Baroque period (c.1750). It discusses the social-cultural milieu, stylistic features, representative genres, and major composers of each period. Prerequisite: MUS201B and MUS211B; or by instructor consent.

MUS 240B History of Western Music B (2 credits)

This is a survey of the history of Western classical music from the beginning of the Classical period to the 1950s. It discusses the social-cultural milieu, stylistic features, representative genres, and major composers of each period. Prerequisite: MUS340A; or by instructor consent.

MUS 243 History of Chinese Music (2 credits)

This course offers an overview of the history of Chinese music from the Zhou Dynasty (1122 BC–256 BC) to the third decade of the twentieth century. Focus is on the characteristics of the musical cultures of the different dynasties.

MUS 330 Orchestration (2 credits)

This course introduces the fundamentals of orchestration. Students will study the characteristics of individual instruments in the four families and learn to combine their timbres in effective ways. Prerequisite: MUS111A and MUS111B; or by instructor consent.

MUS 301A Instrumental Methods A (Strings, Woodwind) (1 credit)

This is class instruction for beginners with no prior training in any string or woodwind instruments. Students will be introduced to a wide range of issues pertinent to the playing of the instruments.

MUS 301B Instrumental Methods B (Brass, Percussion) (1 credit)

This is class instruction for beginners with no prior training in any brass or percussion instruments. Students will be introduced to a wide range of issues pertinent to the playing of the instruments.

MUS 326A Chinese Instrument Class A (2 credits)

The first half of a one-year sequence, this course helps Western instrument majors to master a chosen Chinese instrument at an elementary level. Students will learn the basic techniques, proper hand positions and body posture, maintenance of the instrument, and interpretation of a chosen repertoire.

MUS 326B Chinese Instrument Class B (2 credits)

The second half of a one-year sequence, this course helps Western instrument majors to master a chosen Chinese instrument at an elementary-to-intermediate level. It consolidates the basic techniques while developing students’ command of a musically more challenging repertoire.

MUS 327A Western Instrument Class A (2 credits)

The first half of a one-year sequence, this course helps Chinese instrument majors to master a chosen Western instrument at an elementary level. Students will learn the basic techniques, proper hand positions and body posture, maintenance of the instrument, and interpretation of a chosen repertoire.

MUS 327B Western Instrument Class B (2 credits)

The second half of a one-year sequence, this course helps Chinese instrument majors to master a chosen Western instrument at an elementary-to-intermediate level. It consolidates the basic techniques while developing students’ command of a musically more challenging repertoire.

MUS 331 Composition (2 credits)

This is an introduction to the fundamental concepts and procedures in the composition of music. Students will explore a variety of techniques and perspectives through creating their own pieces. Prerequisite: MUS211A and MUS211B; or by instructor consent.

MUS 332 Orchestral Conducting (2 credits)

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of orchestral conducting, including basic conducting skills, marking a score for performance, and rehearsal skills. Prerequisite: MUS201B and MUS211B; or by instructor consent.

MUS 341 Orchestral Literature (2 credits)

This is a survey of orchestral literature from the Early Classical period to the present, focusing on the changing roles of orchestral instruments, performance styles and techniques, and the interpretative or compositional philosophies of the composers studied.

MUS 342 Chinese Ensemble/Orchestral Literature (2 credits)

This is a survey of Chinese ensemble music and Chinese-style orchestral music, ranging from arranged traditional pieces to newly composed works of our time. It focuses on instrumental techniques, stylistic characteristics, and performance practice.

MUS 351 Junior Recital (0 credit)

Junior Recital is required of every BM student majoring in performance. The junior recital is usually given at the end of a student’s junior year and is open to the public. Required concurrent courses: MUS321R or MUS322R.

MUS 370 Internship (2 credits)

The purpose of an internship is to let students apply what they have learned in school and gain valuable work experience in a professional environment. An internship usually lasts for five weeks with 20 to 40 hours of work per week. Review of applications begins in early April. (This course may be repeated once for extra credits.)

MUS 431 Introduction to Music Technology (3 credits)

This course introduces the use of the computer in music production, music notation, and music education. It covers the rudimentary principles of acoustics, MIDI, sequencing, notation, and digital audio.

MUS 433 Digital Music Technology (2 credits)

This is a highly participatory lab class focusing on recording studio technology. Guided by the instructor, students learn through hands-on experience in the recording process of producing their class projects. Prerequisite: MUS431; or by instructor consent.

MUS 450 Research Paper (4 credits)

This course offers a senior student the opportunity to write a research paper (at least 25 double-spaced, typed written pages) on a music-related topic of his or her choice.

MUS 451 Senior Recital (0 credit)

Senior Recital is required of every senior student majoring in performance. The senior recital is usually given at the end of the academic year and is open to the public. Required concurrent courses: MUS421R or MUS422R.

MUS 455 Advanced Music Practicum IV (4 credits)

This course is open to senior students wishing to play a leadership role in the Shen Yun orchestras during its tour. Enrollment is audition-based and is contingent upon the number of relevant openings in the Shen Yun orchestras. Prerequisite: 4 credits from MUS155–355. (Course offered in the winter term only.)

MUS 510 Graduate Music Theory (3 credits)

This course consolidates the knowledge and skills acquired in the undergraduate Western music theory sequence while helping students to develop skills in Schenkerian analysis and phrase rhythm analysis. The central question running through the exploration of various analytical methods is: How do performers, performer-teachers, and composers apply their knowledge of music theory in their artistic creativity? There is a heavy emphasis on listening, which requires students to integrate the perception of musical sound with the theoretical/conceptual knowledge of music. Students are expected to hear the nuances in a piece of music in light of their understanding of the music by analyzing the score. Some class meetings will take the form of a seminar with little lecturing.

MUS 513 Analysis of Great Works of Traditional Chinese Music (3 credits)

This course examines 14 famous works of Chinese music. Ten of them are collectively known as the “The Top 10 Pieces of Classical Chinese Music” (中國十大古曲). The other four comprise three other well-known works featuring China’s different regions plus the famous Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto composed in the 1950s. In examining each piece (other than Butterfly Lovers), we will discuss issues including: original notation, compositional structure, theoretical issues, history of transmission, performance versions (or schools), and aesthetic principles underlying different modern and contemporary renditions. For the Butterfly Lovers, we will examine different performance versions and reflect on how the composers expected the performers of the piece to adapt their playing based on Chinese musical characteristics.

MUS 520R-W, 520R-C, 520R-V Major Lesson I (4 credits each)

The Major Lesson I and II is a two-year (four-semester) sequence that every MMus student is required to take. Each course is supposed to be repeated once, so in the first year of the program, the student should register for Major Lesson I twice. These courses aim to perfect all aspects of a student’s mastery of an instrument (be it Western, Chinese, or the voice) while developing the student’s command of the standard repertoire of his/her instrument. Every MMus graduate student enrolled in these courses is entitled to a free one-hour private weekly instrumental (or voice) lesson with an instructor. At the beginning of each semester (no later than the first week of each semester), the student should work out a list of repertoire for that semester in consultation with the instructor. In doing so, he/she should communicate to the instructor his/her special interest or preference in choosing the music. All MMus students must perform in front of a jury at the end of both the first and second semesters of the program (i.e., the two semesters of the first year of the program).

MUS 524R Orchestra (1 credit)

All MMus students, apart from voice students, are required to play in the orchestra every semester throughout the program of study. Therefore, MMus students must register for the course at least four times (4 semesters) for one (1) credit per semester. Playing in the orchestra includes 1) learning all the music ahead of time; 2) attending all rehearsals (and dress rehearsals) on time; 3) attending all public performances as required; and 4) fulfilling other duties as assigned.

MUS 540 Topics in Western Music History I (3 credits)

The MMus program offers both Topics in Western Music History I and Topics in Western Music History II. The topics covered in these two courses vary from year to year, depending on the instructors. At present, there are eight proposed topics, each with a full syllabus. One topic deemed relevant to all MMus students is “Issues in Historical Performance Practice,” which explores the multiple factors shaping the transmission and interpretation of music. Through examining issues arising from the inquiries regarding historically informed performances, students will develop critical thinking about how to interpret and perform music in convincing and historically informed ways. There will be guest speakers to introduce some of the period instruments.

MUS 541 Graduate Orchestral Literature (3 credits)

This course is designed to familiarize students with the orchestral styles spanning the period from the late eighteenth century to the late nineteenth century. The focus is on the change of orchestration over time, alongside the changes in harmonic language and scientific innovations in expanding the instruments’ capacities. Besides lectures, there will be opportunities for students to play the orchestral excerpts in front of the class. The purpose is twofold. Students will: 1) better know the music and musical style of the orchestral excerpts related to their own instrument, and 2) learn an orchestral work from the vantage point of different instruments. Students will be informed two weeks in advance about the orchestral excerpt(s) they will be playing in class. Although this is not a course on instrumental pedagogy, it will deal with pedagogical issues in the discussions following the class performances and demonstrations.

MUS 550R Jury (0 credit)

Under normal circumstances, MMus students are required to play for a jury at the end of both the first and second semester of the program of study. The program played for the jury should be around 25-30 minutes in duration (music only). The jury will give the student a score, which will be the student’s Major Lesson I score for the semester for MUS520-W, MUS520-C, or MUS520-V.

MUS 551 Integration of Dance and Music (1 credit)

This course offers students of the two master’s degree-conferring departments the opportunity to make use of their knowledge and experience in the production of joint performance projects. Each course is expected to produce at least one project. For dance, this may involve choreography, directing, and dance performance. For music students, this may involve composing dance music in collaboration with choreographers, conducting the music, and performing the music. The technical work related to the production project, such as sound engineering, theater lighting, or filming, may be shared among the students. The end product should be a self-contained piece, which will be performed or played for the FTC community at a scheduled time and venue. The course is usually jointly mentored by two faculty members, one from the Department of Dance and one from the Department of Music.

MUS 555 Graduate Practicum (2-4 credits)

Every year, current Fei Tian students are invited to audition for the worldwide tour of Shen Yun Performing Arts. Students who pass the audition are allowed to register for this course and will join one of the Shen Yun companies to perform during the winter term. The purpose of this course is to offer music students professional experience in theater performance and opportunities to interact regularly with other professional artists through various channels. Students touring with each Shen Yun company may be assigned responsibilities besides playing in the orchestra; hence, the credit number earned for this course ranges from two (2) to four (4), depending on any extra responsibilities the student may be assigned. The number of credits is decided by a member of the music faculty in consultation with a Shen Yun supervisor.

MUS 620R-W, 620R-C, 620R-V Major Lesson II (4 credits each)

Major Lesson I and II is a two-year (four-semester) sequence that every MMus student is required to take. Each course is supposed to be repeated once, so in the second year, the student should register for Major Lesson II twice. These courses aim to perfect all aspects of a student’s mastery of an instrument (be it Western, Chinese, or the voice) while developing the student’s command of the standard repertoire of his/her instrument. Every MMus graduate student enrolled in these courses is entitled to a free one-hour private weekly instrumental (or voice) lesson with an instructor. At the beginning of each semester (no later than the first week of each semester), the student should work out a list of repertoire for that semester in consultation with the instructor. In doing so, he/she should communicate to the instructor his/her special interest or preference in choosing the music.

MUS 623 Vocal Coaching (2 credits)

Designed to help voice students to prepare for their graduation recital, this course meets at least once weekly, with the presence of the musicians or instrumentalists who will be performing with the voice student in the graduation recital.

MUS 643 Graduate Diction Review (3 credits)

Designed for singers, the purpose of this course is to have students become fluent in their knowledge of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and its application in learning proper diction for singing the three languages. Besides reviewing the articulations and pronunciation in these languages by using the IPA, there will be an intensive study beyond the fundamentals as applied to singing. In addition to weekly transcription exercises, students are expected to do numerous class demonstrations of reading and singing.

MUS 640 Topics in Western Music History II (3 credits)

The MMus program offers both Topics in Western Music History I and Topics in Western Music History II. The topics covered in these two courses vary from year to year, depending on the instructors. At present, there are eight proposed topics, each with a full syllabus. One topic for Topics in Western Music History II will be on the Orchestra of the Opera, exploring the transformation of the opera from Monteverdi to Puccini by focusing on the changing role of the orchestra in the opera. Besides studying the marriage of the libretto and the music, this topic examines issues such as instrumentation, the development of the instruments, physical position of the orchestra in the performance (including theater design), and the role of the conductor. Students enrolled in this course should have a basic knowledge of the history of opera; working knowledge of German, Italian, and French is a plus but not necessary.

MUS 642 Vocal Literature (2 credits)

This course is intended to acquaint students with the representative vocal works in different languages, including Mandarin Chinese. Students are introduced to the bibliographical tools for doing research on the vocal repertoires. Expressive issues are a major focus in examining the songs. Throughout the course, we keep reflecting on the question: How does knowledge of the expressive issues of the works enhance the understanding and performance of the music? Although this is not a studio course, students are expected to sing in class the works studied. All songs are sung in the bel canto style.

MUS 645 Topics in Chinese Music (3 credits)

The topic of focus in this course varies from year to year, depending on the instructor. In general, the course is designed to expand the students’ horizons for research. One topic will likely be “A New Micro and Macro Approach to Traditional Chinese Musical Culture,” which analyzes the deeper levels and more micro elements of Chinese traditional music. Since music is the conveyance of the sound of matter, the smallest unit of music, a musical note, itself actually has more microscopic elements that go beyond the notation on the musical score. This is why people think some sounds have more penetrative or transition power than others. The topic will also explore the concept of yun (韵; roughly translated as “bearing” or “feeling” or “spirit” of a performance) as a deeper level element that is suffused in the music while it is in the process of being performed and how it reflects the traditional aesthetic view that “the spirit leads the artistic form; the form expresses the spirit’s intent.”

MUS 646 Diction in English and Mandarin Chinese (3 credits)

This course is designed to offer singers professional training in English Diction (IPA) and the pronunciation of Mandarin Chinese (pinyin). It is structured into two parts. The length of each part may be adjusted, depending on students’ needs. Students are expected to have basic proficiency in both languages. There will be examination of the factors affecting the listening and enunciation of each language and how some of the factors could be adjusted on the singer’s part. This is a highly participatory class. Students should attend all the class sessions, participate in class discussions, and do all the exercises/assignments.

MUS 650 Graduation Recital (0 credit)

All MMus students are required to give a graduation recital in order to graduate. The graduation recital is usually given toward the end of the fourth semester in the program of study (the normal duration of the program is two years). Second-year MMus students who register for MUS620-W, MUS620-C, or MUS620-V the second time must also register for Graduation Recital (MUS650). The duration of the recital should be around 55-60 minutes (music only). The student who is giving the graduation recital must submit the program notes (3-4 pages) to the Music Department office at least five (5) business days before the recital date. The Graduation Recital is usually judged by a panel of at least four (4) musicians (excluding the recitalist’s instructor). Under normal circumstances, the result of the recital will be available at the Music Department office within 48 hours after the recital.

MUS 661 Seminar in Cross-Cultural Music (3 credits)

The course situates in different contexts the Chinese-Western music nurtured and promoted by Fei Tian College, so as to help students 1) acquire a deeper understanding of the College’s mission and vision and 2) develop the skills needed to address the different approaches to integrating Western classical music and non-Western musical traditions. The course is structured into four parts. Part I highlights the rigorous moral standard of artists in traditional China. Part II examines cases of blending Western classical music with non-Western musical traditions by composers of different nationalities. Part III briefly revisits the history of Western music in China and examines examples (from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong) of how Chinese and Western music are combined. Part IV studies selected Chinese-Western music compositions with a view to understanding the underlying moral and aesthetic principles.

MUS 671 Internship (3 credits)

Fei Tian College offers internships so that graduate students can connect knowledge obtained from on-campus courses with hands-on professional experience. Students can apply to dance companies, schools and institutions, media groups, and other hosts, and cater their internships to individual specialties and interests. Internships may or may not be paid, depending on the host institution offering the internship. This course aims to help students think more about their career development. Other than completing assigned duties and demonstrating professional competencies, graduate students will need to evaluate themselves by reflecting on their personal strengths, where they need to improve, and what actions they should take to achieve their goals. While internships are not required for graduation, they are strongly encouraged, as they can enhance a student’s résumé and allow students to explore different fields of interest while gaining practical experience.