Department of Music

Concentration Requirements

The music concentration requires ten (10) course credits including Music Theory, Music Scholarship, Production and Advanced Theory and Electives.

Music Theory

  • Two courses in music theory, which may include one 400-level and one 500-level course, or two 500-level courses.

Music Scholarship, Production and Advanced Theory 

  • A minimum of four upper-level courses above 1000, must include:
    • One upper-level course in musicology or ethnomusicology
    • Any three upper-level courses, including graduate-level courses

Additional Electives (according to student interest)

  • Four additional elective courses, may include:
    • Up to four half-credit courses in performance - AMP music instruction and/or Ensemble Participation (2 credits)
    • Up to two courses outside of the department
    • One music course below the 100 level

Music Theory Courses

Students with no prior experience with music theory will generally take either MUSC 0400A (Introduction to Music Theory) or MUSC 0400B (Introduction to Popular Music Theory and Songwriting), and then MUSC 0550 (Theory of Tonal Music I; offered every fall). Some students place into MUSC 0550 and then take either MUSC 0560 (Theory of Tonal Music II; offered every spring) or MUSC 0570 (Jazz and Pop Harmony; offered every spring). If a student tests out of MUSC 0550, they can fulfill the theory requirement by taking either MUSC 0560 or MUSC 0570, and then an advanced theory course above the 1000 level.

AP Courses

We administer a placement test at the beginning of each academic year for students with prior theory experience. The test is only given during the first class meeting for MUSC 0550, so please plan accordingly.

We do not award course credit for AP Music Theory, but students with prior theory experience will be placed into the appropriate course.

Non-Music Courses

We evaluate non-Music courses on a case-by-case basis. The essential criterion is whether the course supports the student’s goals in the concentration. For example: a student interested in composing for musical theater might take a TAPS course in playwriting; a multimedia sound artist could include coursework in Visual Arts or at RISD; or a student with a research interest in gospel music might pursue relevant coursework in Religious Studies or Africana Studies.

Senior Project

Student producing musicAll music concentrators will choose a culminating experience for their senior year, either a capstone project or honors project. This may take the form of a performance, scholarly study, or original creative work. All students will have a primary advisor for their Senior Project. The work may be done independently of a course for credit, as an independent study, or within the framework of an existing course.

Types of Projects

The senior project can take the form of a scholarly study, performance, or original creative work, or some combination of the above. Students work with their Concentration Advisor and capstone/thesis advisor to design a project appropriate for their goals and interests.

Capstone or Honors Thesis

The difference between a capstone and an honors thesis is primarily one of scope. A capstone is a one-semester project with a single faculty advisor, undertaken in the seventh or eighth semester. The work may be done as an independent study (MUSC 1970), within the framework of an existing course (e.g., an expansion of a research paper in a seminar, or a final creative project in a Music and Multimedia Composition course), or outside of the course-for-credit structure (e.g., a recital or a community-based project).

Honors in Music

Students who pursue Honors in Music complete an honors thesis, which is a two-semester project with two faculty committee members: a primary advisor and a second reader. Honors candidates should secure committee members by the end of the sixth semester, and must submit a thesis proposal for review by the full Music faculty at the beginning of the seventh semester. Examples of recent honors proposals are available in the Google drive (Brown login required). Seniors working on honors theses may enroll in MUSC 1970 (Independent Study) in either semester, but this is not required.

Additional Information

The declaration consists of a 500-1000 word personal statement, a course plan, and responses to a few shorter essay prompts (including a question about the proposed senior project).