The study of music at Franklin & Marshall College is as deeply embedded in the creation and performance of music as it is in the understanding that music is inextricable from the worlds it is a part of. The Department of Music provides an approach to music that models the very essence of the liberal arts: an inherently interdisciplinary pursuit that hones processes of critical inquiry and analysis while simultaneously fostering and nourishing the creative mind.
The Music major at F&M is designed to allow students with varying backgrounds in music to thrive and carve their own individual paths. Courses cover genres and cultures from around the world and can be divided into three interrelated areas: history and culture, theory and composition, and performance. The major is bookended by MUS 2xx: Music, Culture, and Society, a gateway course designed to introduce students to foundational questions, issues, and methodologies in music studies, and by a 400-level senior project that serves as the culmination of one’s studies. By way of its emphasis on electives, the major gives students an opportunity to gain depth in a category of their choosing and allows students considerable agency in designing a trajectory most in line with their strengths, areas of interest, and post-college plans. Past majors have conducted grant-funded archival research and fieldwork throughout the world; presented at academic conferences; attended internationally renowned music programs throughout North America, Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, and East Asia; performed solo recitals in F&M’s own world-class Barshinger Center for Musical Arts; and conducted orchestras in programs featuring their original compositions.
Many students choose to complete a major or minor in music whether or not they intend to undertake a career in music. The writing, analytical, critical thinking, and creative skills that the major and minors foster undoubtedly play a pivotal role no matter a student’s post-college trajectory. Students who have graduated with degrees in Music not only have gone on to Ph.D. programs in Musicology, Ethnomusicology, and Composition and successful careers in performance and the music industry but have also gone on to careers in medicine, law, and computer science (to name only a few).
The majority of courses in the Music Department are open to students with no formal background in music while all of its ensembles are open to the entire student body. At the same time, there are many offerings in the academic and performance realms for students who have already made music an important element of their lives.
A major in Music consists of 10 course credits:
MUS 272: Music, Culture, and Society (as this course functions as a gateway into the major, students are encouraged to take it as early in their course of study as possible)
Three credits in Music Theory and Composition: MUS 278: Tools and Concepts of Theory and Composition; MUS 224: Musicianship 1 [half-credit] and MUS 225: Musicianship 2 [half-credit]; and one elective in Theory and Composition at the 200-level or higher.
Three credits in History and Culture: two electives at the 200-level and one elective at the 300-level
One credit in Music Performance, drawn from studio lessons, ensembles, or conducting
One 300-level elective drawn from either History and Culture or Theory and Composition
MUS 490: Independent Study or MUS 38x-48x Senior Recital
Students considering a major in Music are strongly encouraged to design their course of study with the guidance of the Music Department Chair (or other designated advisor from the Music faculty) as early as possible and to pick a selection of electives that provides appropriate breadth and depth.
The major culminates in a recital, research project, or creative project of the student’s choosing, typically completed in the student’s senior year. Students are strongly encouraged to start discussing the plans for their senior project with their advisors by the spring semester of their junior year. Students who would like to be considered for Honors should begin this process early in their junior year as well.
The writing requirement in the major is met by the completion of MUS 2xx: Music, Culture, and Society and by taking 200- and 300-level electives in History and Culture.
Students majoring in music are encouraged to participate in one of the College’s choral or instrumental ensembles for at least four semesters.
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.
A general minor in Music consists of six course credits:
MUS 272: Music, Culture, and Society (as this course functions as a gateway into the minor, students are encouraged to take it as early in their course of study as possible);
Two credits in Music Theory and Composition: MUS 278: Tools and Concepts of Theory and Composition; MUS 224: Musicianship 1 [half-credit] and MUS 225: Musicianship 2 [half-credit];
Two History and Culture credits at the 200-level or above;
One 300-level elective drawn from either Theory and Composition or History and Culture.
A performance minor in Music consists of six course credits:
MUS 272: Music, Culture, and Society (as this course functions as a gateway into the minor, students are encouraged to take it as early in their course of study as possible);
One additional credit in History and Culture at the 200-level or higher;
One and one-half credits in Music Theory and Composition: MUS 278: Theory and Composition 1: Tolls and Concepts and MUS 224: Musicianship 1 [half-credit];
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.
Courses in Music History/Culture and Theory
A list of regularly offered courses follows. Please note the key for the following abbreviations: (A) Arts; (H) Humanities; (S) Social Sciences; (N) Natural Sciences with Laboratory; (LS) Language Studies requirement; (NSP) Natural Science in Perspective; (NW) Non-Western Cultures requirement; (WP) World Perspectives requirement.
100. Fundamentals. (A)
A first course in music for students with little or no formal training or background. Emphasis on basic musicianship, including keyboard orientation and the ability to read and sing simple melodies in treble and bass clefs, in both major and minor modes and in a variety of meters. Additional topics include the notation of pitch and rhythm, scales, key signatures, time signatures, intervals, triads, and basic score navigation. No musical background is required.
101. Introduction to Music. (A)
Survey of Western art music designed to develop perceptive listening, with emphasis on the study of rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic organization, color, texture, and form. No musical background is required.
102. Introduction to World Music. (A) (NW)
Survey of music from a global perspective with emphasis on the study of music’s relation to culture. Includes cross-cultural comparison of music’s rhythmic, melodic and harmonic organization, in addition to color, texture and form. Features case studies from Africa, the Americas, Europe, and Asia. No musical background required. Students who already read music should enroll in MUS 229.)
105. Jazz. (A)
The history of jazz, from its roots to the present day, with emphasis on stylistic distinctions. Considers African and European contributions, blues types, New Orleans jazz, Harlem Stride, Swing, bebop, cool jazz, hard bop, free jazz, fusion, neo-classical, and acid jazz, touching on most major figures and their contributions. Each stylistic period is studied from an economic and sociological viewpoint with emphasis on form, texture, improvisation, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. Same as AFS 105 and AMS 105.
106. History of the Blues. (A)
Blues history from its origins to the Blues Revival of the 1960s. Emphasis on the Delta blues tradition of Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, and Muddy Waters. Additional topics include: oral formulaic composition; politics of race and sex in the blues; the blues as a “secular religion”; the music business; appropriations of blues style in jazz and rock; the ongoing function of the blues as a core signifier of “blackness” in American culture. Same as AFS 106 and AMS 106.
107. Composing. (A)
Introduction to musical composition through the study of development and proportion and the creation of three short compositions for small instrumental and/or vocal ensembles culminating in a final project. Faculty performers will read and discuss student works and concert attendance will provide topics for two short research papers centered on aspects of the compositional process. Ability to read music required.
108. Jazz Theory and Improvisation. (A)
An introduction to jazz theory and its application in improvisational practice. Emphasis on jazz harmony, including chord-scale theory and its use in selected jazz “standards” and common forms such as 12-bar blues and “rhythm changes”. Exercises in transcription and analysis of classic solos by Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and others introduce students to a wide variety of approaches to jazz improvisation. Students will apply theoretical concepts learned in class to performance on their own instruments in order to develop improvisational skill and a personalized jazz melodic vocabulary. Ability to read music and competence on a musical instrument (including voice) required. Prerequisite: MUS 100 or 222, or permission of the instructor.
215. Composition. (A)
Fundamentals of musical composition based on appropriate models. Projects for solo instrument, voice, or small ensembles will emphasize individual elements of music: form; rhythm; melody; harmony; and texture. Prerequisite: MUS 100, MUS 222, or permission of the instructor.
222. Theory 1: Basic Harmony and Form. (A)
Beginning with a review of fundamentals, the course covers harmonization in four parts, voice-leading, modulation, and the composition of short binary pieces or variations. The ability to read music in both treble and bass clefs is required, as is a rudimentary knowledge of scales, key signatures, and intervals. Students are advised to take MUS 222 and MUS 224 concurrently.
223. Theory 2: Advanced Harmony and Form. (A)
Chromatic harmonic practices, including enharmonic modulations and altered chords. Composition and analysis of rondo or sonata forms. Prerequisite: MUS 222; students are advised to take MUS 223 and MUS 225 concurrently.
224. Musicianship 1. (A)
The course develops ear-training by way of melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic dictation, and sight-singing. The ability to read music in both treble and bass clefs is required, as is a rudimentary knowledge of scales, key signatures, and intervals. Students are advised to take MUS 222 and MUS 224 concurrently. (one half credit)
225. Musicianship 2. (A)
A continuation of Music 224. Additional topics include modulation and score reading. Prerequisite: MUS 224; students are advised to take MUS 223 and MUS 225 concurrently. (one half credit)
226. Popular Musics and Societies. (A)
This course will survey selected popular musics from around the world. Our goal is to understand these musics as phenomena of time and place and to engage them in their cultural contexts, examining the way they encounter the political, historical, and social realities of the societies that produce them. Genres to be studied include hip-hop, reggae, Afropop, bhangra, nueva canción. Ability to read music required.
228. Middle Eastern Music and Culture. (A) (NW)
This interdisciplinary course will explore the musical identities of the Middle East and North Africa in terms of the complex sociological, historical, and political processes that have shaped the region. We will proceed from the idea that music is a powerful agent in the negotiation of power and identity, and examine the ways in which it has been utilized throughout transformative periods of history. Particular attention will be given to the transnational and diasporic nature of the musics under consideration. Classical, folk, and popular musical traditions will be considered, as will the roles of art, popular culture, and mass media. Same as IST 228.
229. Music in Cultural Perspective. (A) (NW)
A study of the notion and role of music in selected music cultures. After exploring key concepts associated with music’s universal functions, the course will study rhythm, melody, timbre, texture, harmony, form, and transmission from a cross-cultural perspective. Ability to read music required.
230. Music History 1: Antiquity to 1750. (A)
Western art music from early Gregorian chant through the florid art of the Baroque period. Includes the major stylistic developments as found in the works of Josquin, Monteverdi, Bach, Handel, and other composers. Ability to read music required.
231. Music History 2: 1750 to Present. (A)
The stylistic development of Western art music in the Classical, Romantic, and Modern eras. Selected works from each era are the focal point of the study. Ability to read music required.
238. Song Cycles. (A)
Song cycles—collections of songs unified by a common theme, narrative, or viewpoint—often tell stories. Specifically, they tell stories of individuals’ journeys (both inward and outward), transformations, and changing impressions, and they do so not only through poetry, but also through music. This course examines representative song cycles from three important moments in cultural history: German Romanticism (the early nineteenth century), the fin-de-siècle (the years surrounding 1900), and the 1960s and 70s. Within these periods we will examine cycles by a wide range of composers, including Beethoven, Schumann, Mahler, Elgar, George Crumb, and Joni Mitchell. Throughout, our emphasis will be on different conceptions of human subjectivity and the relationship between music and poetry. Prerequisite: MUS 100 or equivalent or permission.
239. Hip Hop: The Global Politics of Culture. (H) (NW)
This course will engage in hip hop's "politics of authenticity" while also offering a primer on the participation and contributions of a variety of transnational, sexual, gender, and racial/ethnic constituents. Rightfully centering and honoring the genre's Afro-diasporic influences, we will examine debates involving transnationalism, gender, sexual, and racial boundaries in hip hop. We will also explore hip hop's global relevance, such as its sonic and cultural presence in reggaetón and its spread as a global dance form. Overall, this class will prompt students to untangle hip hop’s seemingly contradictory ethos of "keeping it real" while simultaneously promoting broader ideals of cosmopolitanism and global commodification. Same as AMS 239.
301. Pops & Jelly Roll:
New Orleans and Its Music in the Early Twentieth Century. (A)
An examination of Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton’s New Orleans. The course evaluates their music and the more general style of early New Orleans jazz in relation to the geographical, social, political, and economic dynamics of that great American city in the early 20th century. Particular attention will be given to the social and musical interactions among New Orleans’ disparate ethnic groups that led to the formation of a unique style of jazz derived from ragtime, blues and the ubiquitous marching band music from that era. Same as AFS 301 and AMS 301.
302. Bebop. (A)
A history of the bebop movement in jazz of the 1940s and ‘50s. Special attention given to the social, economic, and political conditions that led a small handful of musicians to abandon Swing Era big bands in favor of the small combos that formed out of Harlem jam sessions between 1941-1943. Covers distinguishing features of the bebop style through an examination of the music of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and others. Concludes with an evaluation of the social and political meanings of bebop and its historical legacy. Same as AFS 302 and AMS 302.
315. Orchestration. (A)
Covers the ranges, capabilities, and characteristic uses of orchestral instruments through exercises, score study, and listening, and implements this knowledge in transcriptions and arrangements for a variety of ensembles in a variety of historical styles. Prerequisites: MUS 223 or permission.
322. Counterpoint. (A)
The art of 18th-century counterpoint will be studied through the analysis of masterworks by J. S. Bach and others. Beginning with species and invertible counterpoint, followed by canonic writing, compositions will then include short binary pieces, inventions and fugues. Prerequisite: MUS 223 or permission of the instructor.
323. Theory 3: Chromatic and Post-Tonal Vocabularies. (A)
Analytical study of the rhythmic, harmonic, and formal practices of Debussy, Stravinsky, Bartók, Schoenberg, Messiaen, and other composers of the last century. Includes atonal and serial music, with an introduction to set theory. Composition of short pieces using course materials. Prerequisite: MUS 223 or permission of the instructor.
430. Music Criticism. (A)
A seminar studying various genres of writing about music including musical diaries, analyses, musicological essays, program notes, and reviews of performances. Major works being performed in New York City or on campus provide the central repertory for the seminar. Satisfies the writing requirement in the music major. Prerequisites: MUS 230, MUS 231, MUS 222, or permission of the instructor.
490. Independent Study.
Independent study directed by the music staff. Permission of the chairperson.
Courses in Music Performance
240. Conducting. (A)
An introduction to conducting. Students develop skills in score study, aural discrimination, and gestural expression, and learn strategies for ensemble rehearsal. Final project is to rehearse and conduct a performance of a large College ensemble. Course includes an individual weekly lesson and two weekly master classes. Students enrolling in Conducting are expected to be able to read music in both treble and bass clefs, and to have a basic knowledge of music theory with respect to key signatures (both major and minor), time signatures (both simple and compound), and basic chord progressions.
340. Advanced Conducting. (A)
The course is an advanced study of conducting including technical conducting development as well as rehearsal and performance techniques. Members of the class will use a conducting baton and techniques associated with that tool. Each member of the class participates in two, 1 hour 20 minute master classes each week and each member receives a 50-minute individual lesson each week. At the end of the semester the student will rehearse the final project piece with the Franklin & Marshall Symphonic Wind Ensemble or Orchestra in preparation for a performance, which will take place on the last Wednesday of classes at 8:00 PM in the Barshinger Center for Musical Arts. Prerequisite: MUS 240 and permission of the instructor.
One half credit for participation in the following performing ensembles is accumulated over any consecutive two-semester sequence and is awarded at the end of the second semester of participation; students who wish to receive credit should enroll in the 100-level course in the first semester of participation and the 200-level course in the second. One full credit is needed to satisfy the Arts exploration requirement for graduation.
150, 250. The Franklin & Marshall College Chorus. (A)
A large choral group of approximately 80 singers that concentrates on the masterpieces of the choral repertory, both a capella and with orchestra. Two rehearsals per week. Prerequisite: Permission of the director.
151, 251. The Franklin & Marshall Chamber Singers. (A)
A select vocal ensemble of 24 singers selected by audition. Repertory includes music from a wide range of musical styles and time periods. In addition to on-campus performances, the group embarks on annual tours. Two rehearsals per week. Prerequisite: Permission of the director.
152, 252, 352, 452. The Franklin & Marshall Orchestra. (A)
A full orchestra with approximately 70 performers focusing on masterpieces of the orchestral repertoire. Two rehearsals per week. Prerequisite: Permission of the director.
153, 253. 353, 453. The Symphonic Wind Ensemble. (A)
A large ensemble for woodwinds, brass and percussionists with approximately 50 performers. Repertory ranges from masterworks of the concert band tradition to new works written for wind ensemble. Two rehearsals per week. Prerequisite: Permission of the director.
155, 255. The Jazz Ensemble. (A)
Performs music from big band to progressive jazz. Prerequisite: Permission of the director. Laboranti
156, 256. Chamber Music. (A)
Chamber Music is designed for advanced instrumental music students to experience music written for generally 3 to 8 players. These small ensembles require high artistic demands of all of the ensemble members, as each player is essentially a soloist. Ensembles in this program rehearse a minimum of twice a week for a total of not less than three hours a week. One of the two rehearsals each week is coached by a professional chamber music coach. The ensemble is expected to perform in an appropriate concert at least once a semester. Prerequisite: Permission of the director.
157, 257. African Drum Ensemble. (A)
An ensemble of up to 20 performers focusing on West African drumming techniques and the philosophy behind them. Two rehearsals per week Prerequisite: Permission of the director.
In addition to the credit-bearing courses above, faculty-directed, non-credit performance opportunities such as opera workshop and the pep band are also a part of musical life at the College.
Studio lessons receive zero to one half credit per semester and, at the 200 level, may be repeated. One full credit is needed to satisfy the Arts exploration requirement for graduation.
Studio lessons at the 100-level will include 12 30-minute lessons over the course of the semester. Students will earn 0.5 credits after taking two consecutive semesters of lessons. Students will not be required to participate in masterclasses, but at the end of the second semester they will give an adjudicated performance as part of the studio’s recital. The fee for 100-level lessons will be $456/semester.
Studio lessons at the 200-level will include 12 50-minute lessons over the course of the semester. Students will earn 0.5 credits each semester. They will participate in three masterclasses each semester and will give an adjudicated performance as part of the studio’s recital. The fee for 200-level lessons will be $760/semester.
The semester before a Senior Recital (only), students may enroll for lessons at the 300 level as “Recital Preparation” (e.g., MUS 385 Recital Preparation: Voice). Prerequisite: a minimum of two semesters of credit-bearing lessons in the same instrument at the 200 level.
The semester of a Senior Recital (only), students may enroll for lessons at the 400 level as “Senior Recital” (e.g., MUS 485 Senior Recital: Voice). Prerequisite: one semester of Recital Preparation at the 300 level.
180, 280 A. Flute. (A)
Private lessons and masterclass in Flute. Admission by audition with the instructor.
180, 280 B. Oboe. (A)
Private lessons and masterclass in Oboe. Admission by audition with the instructor.
180, 280 C. Bassoon. (A)
Private lessons and masterclass in Bassoon. Admission by audition with the instructor.
180, 280 D. Clarinet. (A)
Private lessons and masterclass in Clarinet. Admission by audition with the instructor.
180, 280 E. Saxophone. (A)
Private lessons and masterclass in Saxophone. Admission by audition with the instructor.
181, 281 A. Trumpet. (A)
Private lessons and masterclass in Trumpet. Admission by audition with the instructor.
181, 281 B. Horn. (A)
Private lessons and masterclass in Horn. Admission by audition with the instructor.
181, 281 C. Low Brass. (A)
Private lessons and masterclass in Low Brass. Admission by audition with the instructor.
182, 282 A. Violin. (A)
Private lessons and masterclass in Violin. Admission by audition with the instructor.
182, 282 B. Viola. (A)
Private lessons and masterclass in Viola. Admission by audition with the instructor.
182, 282 C. Cello. (A)
Private lessons and masterclass in ’Cello. Admission by audition with the instructor.
182, 282 D. Double Bass. (A)
Private lessons and masterclass in Double Bass. Admission by audition with the instructor.
183, 283 A. Percussion. (A)
Private lessons and masterclass in Percussion. Admission by audition with the instructor.
183, 283 B. African Drumming. (A)
Private lessons and masterclass in African Drumming. Admission by audition with the instructor. Same as AFS 283 B.
184, 284 A. Piano. (A)
Private lessons and masterclass in Piano. Admission by audition with the instructor.
184, 284 B. Jazz Piano and Improvisation. (A)
Private lessons and masterclass in Jazz Piano and/or jazz improvisation (any instrument). Admission by audition with the instructor.
185, 285. Voice. (A)
Private lessons and masterclass in Voice. Admission by audition with the instructor.
186, 286. Guitar. (A)
Private lessons and masterclass in Guitar. Admission by audition with the instructor.
The Music Department also offers private non-credit lessons for a fee in the above areas through its “Artist/Teacher Program.”
Non-credit lessons are available with the same fee structure as credit lessons, but without the expectation that students will play in recitals or masterclasses. Individual instructors may invite non-credit students to perform on these occasions at their discretion.
Students with a financial aid package may request the Student Aid Office to take this fee into account in their aid award.
Topics Courses Expected to be Offered in 2021-2022
- MUS 272. Music, Society, and Culture.
This course explores foundational questions in music studies. Using perspectives from musicology, ethnomusicology, cultural studies, and the social sciences, we will consider how music functions in different social and cultural contexts, the myriad ways that it creates meaning, and its complex interactions with politics, religion, and expressions of identity. Case studies will be drawn from a broad range of musical traditions from around the globe. Students will develop critical listening, writing, and research skills. This course serves as the prerequisite to most 300- and 400-level courses in Music. Ability to read music required for this course.
- MUS 278. Theory 1: Tools and Concepts.
An introduction to music-theoretical thought and areas of inquiry. This course surveys topics in rhythm and meter, tonal systems, pitch relations, harmony, form, melody, and voice-leading, drawing on a diverse array of repertories and styles of music to illustrate key concepts. Students develop skills critical to music performance, composition, and analysis. It serves as a prerequisite to most 300- and 400-level courses in Music. The ability to read music in both treble and bass clefs is required, as is a rudimentary knowledge of scales, key signatures, and intervals.
- Global Popular Music.
- Music in Theatre.
- Theory 2: Harmony, Writing, Form.
- Middle Eastern Music and Culture.
- Why Music?
- Beethoven: Music and Myth. (2022 Music Criticism seminar)