Department of Music

Music Course Descriptions

MUS001R, 002R, 003R, 004R Concert Attendance I, II,III, IV (0 credit)

This sequence requires students to attend 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. Pass/No Pass grading scale.

MUS011 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.

MUS101A/B Ear Training A/B (1 credit each)

This course sequence solidifies students’ understanding of theoretical principles through aural exercises such as sight singing, rhythmic exercises, and dictation. The co-requisite for MUS101A is MUS111A and the co-requisite for MUS101B is MUS111B.

MUS102A/B Keyboard Skills I/II (1 credit each)

This first 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. The second 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.

MUS110 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 studies. Students will participate in various activities intended to strengthen their sense of rhythm, train their aural and conceptual skills in listening to and appreciating music, and translate their musical literacy to practical dance applications.

MUS111A/B Western Music Theory A/B (2 credits each)

The first course in this sequence introduces students to four-part writing for all diatonic chords and will include study of figured bass, non-harmonic tones, the various functions of the phrase model, and motivic identification. The second course will study small musical structures like periods and sentences, harmonic sequences, Neapolitan 6 chords, augmented 6th chords, and applied chords and modulation.

MUS120R, 220R, 320R, 420R Orchestra I, II, III, IV (2 credits each)

In these applied music courses, 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 and other performances in the New York area and beyond.

MUS121R, 221R, 321R, 421R Major Instrument (Western) I, II, III, IV (3-4 credits each)

Through enrolling in this course sequence, 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 28 credits.

MUS122R, 222R, 322R, 422R Major Instrument (Chinese) I, II, III, IV (3-4 credits each)

Through enrolling in this course sequence, 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 28 credits.

MUS123R, 223R, 323R, 423R Chamber Music I, II, III, IV (1 credit each)

This studio course sequence expands students’ ensemble repertoire, improves ensemble skills, and encourages more personal responsibility in creating polished artistic performances. Students will receive coaching from music faculty on assigned repertoire to be performed in a concert. Students majoring in Performance are required to repeat MUS123R, 223R, and 323R, for a total of 2 credits each. Piano majors are additionally required to take 423R, for a total of 2 credits.

MUS124R, 224R, 324R, 424R Concert Practice I, II, III, IV (0.5 credit each)

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, 224R, 324R, and 424R for a total of 1 credit each.

MUS125A/B, 225A/B Studio Piano I-A/B, II-A/B (1 credit each)

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

MUS128R, 228R, 328R, 428R Instrumental Accompaniment I, II, III, IV (1 credit each)

This applied course sequence provides students experience in accompanying individuals or groups in-studio and rehearsal settings, plus in subsequent performance. The time commitment is comparable to that of ensemble participation. Piano students collaborate with vocalists and instrumentalists in the department and sometimes with professional musicians.

MUS129R, 229R, 329R, 429R Dance Class Accompaniment I, II, III, IV (1 credit each)

This studio course sequence is designed to prepare students to accompany dance classes competently and properly. A student will be assigned to different dance classes to accompany the class to get hands-on experience as well as to develop and broaden the skills and professional competencies of the piano accompanist, addressing the needs of all those intending to undertake a career as a piano accompanist in dance classes.

MUS141 History of Western Music (Overview) (1 credit)

This overview course provides students the tools to understand the different music periods through history and familiarize students with the main composers, music literature, and genres.

MUS142 History of Western Music (Medieval – Early Baroque) (2 credits)

This survey course of the history of Western music offers an in-depth view of the representative musical styles from the Medieval until the Middle Baroque period, while studying in detail the main issues and concepts during these periods of Western music history.

MUS155, 255, 355 Music Practicum I, II, III (3 credits each)

These elective courses are designed to give students the opportunity to gain practical performing experience through taking part in the orchestras of Shen Yun Performing Arts or other professional ensembles.

MUS201A/B Advanced Ear Training A/B (1 credit each)

The first course in this sequence improves students’ fluency in the materials covered in MUS101B while developing their aural skills with respect to the theoretical topics covered in MUS211A Advanced Western Music Theory A. The second course focuses on dictation exercises comprising harmonic progressions, cross rhythms, syncopations, and smaller subdivision of the beats.

MUS202A/B Advanced Keyboard Skills A/B (1 credit each)

This studio course sequence develops students’ keyboard skills at the intermediate level, focusing on increasing finger dexterity and further acquisition of functional theory-related keyboard skills. In the first course, students learn to read and play music notated in different clefs as well as scores for transposing instruments. In the second course, students learn to read and play full scores for chamber and symphonic works.

MUS211A/B Advanced Western Music Theory A/B (2 credits each)

In addition to the study of more advanced harmonic progressions, this course sequence focuses on the function each harmony and melody expresses as well as the relation to the larger form at hand. Included in the study of larger forms are ternary, rondo, and sonata forms. Phrase structure and small forms are addressed in depth from melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic perspectives. The course also consolidates students’ knowledge of 19th-century chromatic harmony while introducing 18th-century imitative counterpoint and 20th-century harmony.

MUS226A/B Piano Accompanying A/B (1 credit each)

This applied course sequence will foster the keyboard and sight-reading proficiency a collaborative pianist requires. The student gains experience working with one or more players in communicating and articulating musical ideas, developing the appropriate musical sensitivity, and following a different set of conventions in the approach to playing the piano.

MUS241 History of Western Music (High Baroque – Classical) (2 credits)

This course offers an in-depth view of the representative musical styles from the High Baroque to the Classical period, while studying in detail the main issues and concepts of these periods of Western music history.

MUS242 History of Western Music (Romantic – Contemporary) (2 credits)

This course offers an in-depth view of the representative musical styles from the Romantic to the contemporary period, while studying in detail the main issues and concepts of these periods of Western music history.

MUS244, 245 Chinese Music I, II (2 credits each)

The first course of this sequence focuses on traditional Chinese folk songs, ballads, and regional operas. Students learn to understand, identify, and sing different genres of folk songs that are authentic to their regional styles. The second course introduces students to traditional Chinese instrumental music and singing-dance music. Through exploring the unique sound qualities of each Chinese instrument and representative repertoire, students can draw parallels to their own instruments. Embedded workshops instruct students in how to play Chinese music in a distinctly Chinese style on their own instruments, Western or Chinese.

MUS311 Form and Analysis (2 credits)

This course aims to develop the analytical skills students need to study large-scale Classical works from prominent composers such as Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. The focus is on approaching tonal music as an instrumental performer. Select orchestral and chamber repertoire from the Romantic period will also be studied using these skills.

MUS325R, 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 may each be repeated for a total of 4 credits.

MUS326A/B Chinese Instrument Class A/B (1 credit each)

This one-year sequence is designed to help Western instrument majors gain proficiency on a chosen Chinese instrument to an elementary-to-intermediate level. Students learn the basic techniques, proper hand positions and body posture, maintenance of the instrument, and interpretation of a chosen repertoire. The second half of the sequence consolidates the basic techniques while developing students’ command of a musically more challenging repertoire.

MUS341 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. Prerequisites: MUS241 and MUS242.

MUS344 Piano Literature (2 credits)

This course is a chronological in-depth survey of music for the piano, from the Baroque period to the contemporary era. Through lectures, reading and listening assignments, analysis and performance projects, students explore period instruments, musical styles, repertoire, and performance practice. This course also covers the socio-cultural context that influenced major composers and their works.

MUS345 Interpretation and performance of East West Music (2 credits)

East-West music is a combination of traditional Chinese music with Western orchestral methods. This course examines the theoretical basis of East-West music as well as the individual Chinese and Western elements of this unique style. Through analysis of different repertoire, students will be able to interpret this style of music, and ultimately, perform it with the nuanced musicality that it demands.

MUS350 Independent Study in Music (1-4 credits)

This course gives 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.

MUS351 Junior Recital (0 credit)

Junior Recital (30 minutes) is required of every BM student majoring in Performance. The 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. Pass/No Pass grading scale.

MUS361 Chinese Music Seminar (2 credits)

This is an upper-division seminar course that discusses important topics in Chinese music, including musical origins and history, genres, morphology, musical structure, notation systems, and aesthetics.

MUS371 Internship (2 credits)

The purpose of an internship is to let students apply what they have learned in school and also gain valuable work experience in a professional environment. An internship usually lasts for five weeks with 20 to 40 hours of work per week. This course may be repeated once for additional credit. Prerequisite: Junior class standing.

MUS450 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.

MUS451 Senior Recital (0 credit)

Senior Recital (60 minutes) is required of every BM student majoring in Performance. The recital is usually given at the end of the student’s senior year and is open to the public. Required concurrent courses: MUS421R or MUS422R. Pass/No Pass grading scale.

MUS455 Advanced Music Practicum IV (4 credits)

This course is open to seniors wishing to tour or spend a season with a professional ensemble such as a Shen Yun orchestra to gain hands-on artistic and/or managerial experience. Prerequisite: Instructor consent; 3 credits from each of MUS155, 255, and 355 is preferred.

MUS510 Graduate Music Theory (3 credits)

This course consolidates the knowledge and skills acquired in the undergraduate music theory sequence while helping students develop skills in Schenkerian analysis and phrase rhythm analysis. The central question is: How do performers, performer-teachers, and composers apply knowledge of music theory to their artistic creativity? The course emphasizes listening, which requires integrating 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 analysis of a score.

MUS511 Graduate Music Theory (for Vocalists)

This course consolidates the knowledge and skills acquired in the undergraduate Western music theory sequence with special focus on the needs of vocalists. There is a heavy emphasis on listening, which requires students to integrate the perception of musical sound with the theoretical/conceptual knowledge of music.

MUS513 Analysis of Great Works of Traditional Chinese Music (3 credits)

This course analyzes 14 works of Chinese music in some detail: “The Top 10 Pieces of Classical Chinese Music” (中國十大古曲), three works featuring China’s different regions, and the famous Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto composed in the 1950s. We examine issues such as original notation, compositional structure, history of transmission, performance versions (or schools), and the aesthetic principles underlying different modern and contemporary renditions. For Butterfly Lovers, we also consider how the composers expected performers to adapt their playing to convey Chinese musical characteristics.

MUS520R, 620R Graduate Orchestra I, II (1 credit each)

All MMus students, apart from voice students, are required to play in a College-affiliated or other professional-level orchestra every semester throughout the program of study. Therefore, such students much register for this course at least four times (4 semesters) for one (1) credit per semester. Playing in a professional orchestra requires 1) learning all the music ahead of time; 2) attending all rehearsals on time; 3) attending all public performances, which could entail some travel; and 4) fulfilling other duties as assigned.

MUS521R, 621R Graduate Major Instrument I, II (Western) / MUS522R, 622R Graduate Major Instrument I, II (Chinese) / MUS527R, 627R Graduate Major Voice I, II (4 credits each)

Every MMus student not majoring in voice is required to take and repeat Graduate Major Instrument I and II for a total of 16 credits. This course sequence aims to perfect all aspects of a student’s mastery of an instrument, be it Western or Chinese, 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 lesson with an instructor. During the first week of each semester, the student should work out a list of repertoire for that semester in consultation with the instructor.

MUS523R, 623R Chamber Music I, II (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.

MUS525R, 625R Piano for Vocalists (1 credit each)

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

MUS526R Ensemble with Voice (2 credits each)

This course offers voice majors opportunities to work with different instrumental ensembles, including orchestras in studio and rehearsal settings, plus in subsequent performance of short recitals or operatic works.

MUS527R, 627R Graduate Major Voice I, II (4 credits each)

Every MMus student majoring in voice is required to take and repeat Graduate Major Voice I and II for a total of 16 credits. This course sequence aims to perfect all aspects of a student’s mastery of the voice, while developing the student’s command of the standard repertoire. Every MMus student enrolled in these courses is entitled to a free one-hour private weekly voice lesson with an instructor. During the first week of each semester, the student should work out a list of repertoire for that semester in consultation with the instructor.

MUS528R, 628R Graduate Instrumental Accompaniment I, II (0.5 credit each)

This applied course sequence provides students with experience in accompanying individuals or groups in studio and rehearsal settings, plus in subsequent performance. The time commitment is comparable to that of ensemble participation. Piano students collaborate with vocalists and instrumentalists in the department and sometimes with professional musicians.

MUS529R, 629R Graduate Dance Class Accompaniment I, II (0.5 credit each)

This studio course sequence is designed to prepare the student to accompany dance classes using the prominent styles competently and properly. The student is assigned to an advanced dance class to gain hands-on experience and broaden the skills and professional competencies of the piano accompanist.

MUS540 Topics in Western Music History (3 credits)

The topics covered may vary from year to year, depending on the instructor. Students will develop critical thinking about how to interpret and perform music in convincing and historically informed ways. Guest speakers may be invited to introduce the featured period instruments.

MUS541 Graduate Orchestral Literature (3 credits)

This course is designed to familiarize students with the orchestral styles of the late 18th to the late 19th century. The focus is on the changes in orchestration and harmonic language over time.

MUS542, 642 Vocal Literature – Analysis & Appreciation I, II (3 credits each)

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, develop the ability to appreciate and analyze different types of vocal works, and increase proficiency from in-class performances. The prerequisite for MUS642 is MUS542 or instructor consent.

MUS543, 643 Vocal Methods from Around the World I, II (3 credits each)

This course sequence examines 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 explore 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 developing a keen awareness of vocal health. The prerequisite for MUS643 is MUS543 or instructor consent.

MUS544 Graduate Piano Literature (3 credits)

This course is a graduate-level in-depth survey of music for the piano, from the Baroque period to the contemporary era. Through lectures, reading and listening assignments, analysis, and performance projects, students explore period instruments, musical styles, repertoire, and performance practice. This course also covers the socio-cultural context that influenced major composers and their works.

MUS545, 645 Topics in Chinese Music I, II (3 credits each)

The focus of this course sequence varies from year to year depending on the instructor. In general, the topics are designed to expand the students’ horizons for research, approaching traditional Chinese music from both micro and macro perspectives. For example, examination may be made of the smallest unit of music, a musical note, and how in Chinese music it can be broken down into even smaller elements and finer nuances that go beyond the notation on the musical score. From a larger perspective, the course may explore traditional aesthetic views on how the spirit of an entire musical piece may differ depending on the inner spirit of the performer.

MUS550R Jury (0 credit)

MMus students are required to perform for a jury at the end of both the first and second semesters of the program of study. The program played for the jury should be around 25–30 minutes in duration (music only). Pass/No Pass grading scale.

MUS555 Graduate Practicum (3 credits)

The practicum allows students to build their professional experience with leading companies. By practicing and applying their musical skills in real-world settings, students gain first-hand knowledge and experience related to their career goals and build professional relationships invaluable to their future careers. All students receive one-on-one guidance and mentoring from assigned instructors or preceptors. All practicums are designed to help students build a strong work ethic and enhance their professional knowledge. This course may be repeated.

MUS651 Graduate Recital (0 credit)

All MMus students are required to give a graduate recital in order to graduate, usually during the last semester of the program of study. The duration of the recital should be around 55–60 minutes (music only). The student giving the recital must submit the program notes (3–4 pages) to the Department for review and approval at least one month prior to the scheduled recital date. The recital is evaluated by a panel of at least four jury members, excluding the recitalist’s instructor. Pass/No Pass grading scale.

MUS661 Seminar: Cross-Cultural Music (3 credits)

This course places music students’ study of Chinese and Western music thus far at the College into a broader context 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. There are four parts. Part I highlights the rigorous moral standards 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 reviews the history of Western music in China and examines examples from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong of how Chinese and Western music have been combined. Part IV studies selected Chinese-Western music compositions with a view to understanding the underlying moral and aesthetic principles.

MUS671 Internship (1-3 credits)

Through internships, graduate students can think more deeply about their own career development and connect their academic learning with hands-on professional experience. They can apply to orchestras, performing arts companies, schools and institutions, media groups, and other hosts depending on their individual specialties and interests. Internships may or may not be paid, depending on the host institution. Other than completing assigned duties and demonstrating professional competencies, graduate students will need to reflect 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.