Students conduct advanced inquiry into the cultural, theoretical, technical, and aesthetic issues surrounding music and multimedia production in close collaboration with faculty researchers strongly invested in real-time, interactive sonic and visual media, sound art, instrument design, and acoustic composition. The program welcomes students working from diverse influences and methods, expanding their creative practices and underlying technical knowledge to spur artistic innovation. In addition to faculty mentorship, students can collaborate with a broad array of professional performing ensembles and visiting artists presented on the Brown University campus.
Music & Multimedia Composition
The graduate program in Music and Multimedia Composition offers an array of resources unique to Brown. Students have access to the department’s Multimedia and Electronic Music Experiments (MEME) studios, and the university’s Granoff Center for the Creative Arts. These specialized research facilities house recording studios, electronics shops, project studios, exhibition and performance spaces. Regular opportunities exist to interface with the larger arts and digital media communities at Brown, at the nearby Rhode Island School of Design, in Providence and the New England region. Music and Multimedia Composition students also partake in the many scholarly offerings of the Musicology and Ethnomusicology PhD program, with faculty specialties in technoculture, sound studies, copyright, improvisation and organology. A Brown doctoral degree in Music and Multimedia Composition leads to a career in college and university teaching, or to a position to applied work outside of higher education.
All PhD students receive full funding for 5 years, including costs for tuition and health insurance, plus stipends for fellowships and teaching assistantships.
During the first two years of the program students undertake the majority of their coursework, which involves writing and research in addition to creative practice. During this time they prepare their Masters project (a substantial performance, installation, or work in other formats) for presentation in the second year accompanied by an essay of thirty to fifty pages that describes the aesthetic concepts, historical background, and technical realization of the work.
In the third year students continue their coursework and must prepare for and pass their Qualifying Exams. This consists of three essays on topics that lead into their dissertation work and an oral exam on these essays. Once this is complete students develop a formal dissertation proposal in which serves as a clear and detailed outline of the areas of creative and scholarly research to be undertaken over the next two years.
The dissertation itself has two parts. The dissertation project is an original creative work that makes a substantial contribution to knowledge in the field. This is accompanied by a detailed paper that describes the project’s overall concept, technical methods, and the historical, theoretical, and artistic frameworks that inform and support it. The paper is completed after the dissertation project has taken place and requires a formal oral presentation and defense before it is approved.
See the MMC Graduate Handbook for specific details on these requirements.