Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

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Curriculum Overview

The study of music can be divided into four interrelated approaches: the creation of music (composition), the re-creation of music (performance), understanding music’s systems (music theory) and understanding music’s stylistic and societal contexts (music history and culture). Each of these areas draws on techniques and perspectives that are a focus in other approaches to music. Musical composition, for example, is not an entirely intuitive process, but makes use of knowledge gained through the study of music theory. Similarly, performance is most profound when it is informed by an understanding of the context for a work’s style, and the history of musical style is myopic without taking into account the culture in which a style developed.

The Music Department offers courses in all of these areas that are open to students with no formal background in music. All of its ensembles are open to the entire student body, and some private lessons are offered at the beginning level; there are also courses in music theory and in music history and culture that are specifically oriented to students with little or no previous background in music. At the same time, there are many offerings for students who have already made music an important element of their lives.

Many students choose to complete a major or minor in music whether or not they intend to undertake a musical career. Students going to medical school, for example, have often chosen to major in music, knowing that they want a lifelong involvement in music as an avocation. On the other hand, students who have chosen to go to graduate school in music or enter the music industry have found that their preparation through the music major program had prepared them well. Two music minor programs also offer an organization to the study of music that goes beyond a single course or participation in a single ensemble.

A major in Music consists of 11 course credits:

Four credits in music theory (MUS 222, 223, 224 [half-credit], 225 [half-credit], 323);

Four credits in music history and culture (MUS 229, 230, 231 and 430);

Two electives above the 100-level chosen from the theory and/or music history and culture areas;

Senior Project (MUS 490 Independent Study or MUS 38X-48X Senior Recital).

Students intending to major in music should begin the theory sequence by the beginning of the sophomore year. All students are advised to take MUS 224 with 222 and MUS 225 with 223.

Students majoring in music are expected to participate in one of the College’s choral or instrumental ensembles for at least four semesters.

The writing requirement in the Music major is met by completion of MUS 430.

A general minor in Music consists of six course credits:

Three in music theory (MUS 222, 223, 224 [half-credit] and 225 [half-credit]. Students are advised to take Music 224 with 222 and Music 225 with 223);
Two in music history and culture (chosen from MUS 229, 230 or 231);
One elective selected with the approval of the department chair. This elective should be a one-credit advanced course (above the 100-level) and may not include studio or ensemble courses.

A performance minor in Music consists of six course credits:

One and one-half in music theory (MUS 222, 224 [half-credit]. Students are advised to take MUS 224 with 222);
Two in music history and culture (chosen from MUS 229, 230 or 231);
Two and one-half performance credits selected in consultation with the department chair. Ideally, the performance credits should include courses selected from both ensembles and studio lessons given at the College. If such diversification is not possible, the chair may recommend another performance-oriented course (such as conducting).

A maximum of four transferred credits from another institution may be counted toward the major, and of these, no more than one may be at or above the 300-level. Two transferred credits may be counted toward the minor. Further details about transferred credits can be obtained from the chair of the department.

Majors in the Department of Music have studied abroad in the following programs in recent years: IES programs in Milan, Italy and Vienna, Austria. See the International Programs section of the “Catalog” for further information.