Department of Music

Music Course Descriptions

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. Students are required to complete MUS001R, 002R, 003R, and 004R each twice, once in the Summer semester and once in the Fall semester.

MUS 011 Review of Music Theory (Vocal) (0 credit)

Through listening, playing, singing, and writing, students will review the study of rhythms, intervals, motifs, phrases, melodies, chords, and chord progressions in the standard clefs. Chord study includes primary and secondary triads in root position and inversions, nonharmonic tones, and seventh chords.

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. Corequisite: MUS111A.

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. Corequisite: MUS111B.

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 applications.

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 orchestral playing. Students majoring in Performance are required to repeat MUS120R, 220R, 320R, and 420R for a total of 4 credits each. Select students may participate in side-by-side concerts with music faculty at music halls in the New York area and beyond.

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. Students majoring in Performance are required to repeat MUS121R, 221R, 321R, and 421R for a total of 8 credits each.

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. Students majoring in Performance are required to repeat MUS122R, 222R, 322R, and 422R for a total of 8 credits each.

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. Students majoring in Performance are required to repeat MUS123R, 223R, 323R, and 423R for a total of 2 credits each.

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. Students majoring in Performance are required to repeat MUS124R and 224R for a total of 1 credits each.

MUS 125A, 125B Studio Piano I A, I B (1 credit each)

Private instruction in piano for non-piano majors. Enrolled students will have one private 30-minute lesson per week.

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 Spring semester 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, including both solos and ensembles.

MUS 225A, 225B Studio Piano II A, II B (1 credit each)

Private instruction in piano for non-piano majors. Enrolled students will have one private 30-minute lesson per week.

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: MUS240A 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 – 256 BC) to the third decade of the twentieth century. Focus is on the characteristics of the musical cultures of the different dynasties.

MUS 325R, 425R Studio Piano III, IV (2 credits each)

Private instruction in piano for non-piano majors. Enrolled students will have one private 60-minute lesson per week. MUS325R and MUS425R each may be repeated for a total of 4 credits.

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. Prerequisite: MUS326A.

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. Prerequisite: MUS327A.

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 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 350 Independent Study in Music (1-4 credits)

This independent study course provides students an opportunity to investigate a topic outside the current music curriculum. All independent study courses must be approved in advance and be closely supervised by a faculty member. An independent study proposal must include a course outline developed through consultation between the student and faculty supervisor, and it will serve as the official course description. The course may take the form of faculty-supervised research, study, or a project. This course may be repeated for credit.

MUS 351 Junior Recital (0 credit)

Junior Recital (30 minutes) 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 additional credit.

MUS 450 Research Paper (4 credits)

This course offers seniors the opportunity to write a research paper (at least 25 double-spaced, typewritten pages) on a music-related topic of their own choice with the guidance of an instructor.

MUS 451 Senior Recital (0 credit)

Senior Recital (60 minutes) 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. (Course offered in the Spring semester 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.

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 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)

Every MMus student is required to take and repeat Major Lesson I for a total of 8 credits. The course aims 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 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 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 topics covered may vary from year to year, depend- ing on the instructor. 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 542 Vocal Literature – Analysis & Appreciation I (3 credits)

Through exposure to a renowned classic repertoire for solo voice from around the world, students gain an increased recognition and understanding of various forms of solo vocal music, become more aware of their significance in musical arts and styles, and develop the ability to appreciate and analyze different types of vocal works.

MUS 543 Vocal Methods from Around the World I (3 credits)

This course examines the main characteristics of a variety of singing styles from around the world, with an emphasis on the methods and techniques of vocal production associated with the Italian bel canto, German, French, and Chinese styles of singing. Students will become more knowledgeable about the physiological process of sound production, expand their understanding of the vocal methods’ historical and cultural contexts, improve their skills, and learn how to apply various vocal techniques to different styles of mu- sic while developing a keen awareness of vocal health.

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 spring term. The purpose of this course is to offer music students professional experience in a variety of facets of theater performance and opportunities to interact regularly with other professional artists. Any student who wishes to acquire more practical experience may repeat this course. The number of credits is decided by a member of the music faculty in consultation with a Shen Yun mentor.

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

Every MMus student is required to take and repeat Major Lesson II for a total of 8 credits. The course aims 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 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. Prerequisite: 8 credits of MUS520R-W, 520R-C, or 520R-V; or by instructor consent.

MUS 642 Vocal Literature – Analysis & Appreciation II (3 credits)

Through exposure to a renowned classic repertoire for solo voice from around the world, students gain an increased recognition and understanding of various forms of solo vocal music; become knowledgeable of their significance in musical arts and styles; strengthen the ability to appreciate, analyze, and interpret different types of vocal works; and increase proficiency from in-class performances. Prerequisite: MUS542 or by instructor consent.

MUS 643 Vocal Methods from Around the World II (3 credits)

This course continues to examine the main characteristics of a variety of singing styles from around the world, with a historical review and emphasis on the methods and techniques of vocal production associated with the Italian bel canto, German, French, English, and Chinese styles of singing. Students will further increase their knowledge about the physiological process of sound production, expand their understanding of the vocal methods’ historical and cultural context, improve their skills, and learn how to apply various vocal techniques to different styles of music, while maintaining a keen awareness of vocal health. Prerequisite: MUS543 or by instructor consent.

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 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.