The concentration in Music integrates theory, history, ethnomusicology, technology, composition, and performance. Upon completing two foundational courses in theory and musicianship, concentrators have the flexibility to craft an intellectual pathway based on their particular interests and goals. The curriculum is supported by the Orwig Music Library, a state-of-the-art facility with holdings of over 40,000 books and scores and an equal number of sound and video recordings. Concentrators are encouraged to participate in one or more of the departmentally sponsored performing organizations: Chorus, Orchestra, Jazz Band, Wind Symphony, Chamber Music Performance, Electroacoustic Ensemble, Sacred Harp/Shape-Note Singing, Old-time String Band, Javanese Gamelan, or Ghanaian Drumming.
Concentrating in Music
If you choose Music as a Concentration*, you will be expected to achieve well-rounded training as a musician, regardless of the genre(s) in which you specialize. This training is manifested in the following general components:
Fundamental skills are important for any musician, and therefore a minimum of two music theory/musicianship courses are required of all students who wish to Concentrate. Students have the opportunity to enter into various theory courses according to their interest and experience.
Historical and cultural knowledge of music is another key area from which Concentrators are required to complete courses. These courses may be studies of Western or non-Western forms of music.
The creation of music is also central to the Music Concentration. Students are encouraged to make music in a number of ways, including participation in ensembles, solo performance, composition, music production, and/or conducting.
Music faculty will be available to advise students on shaping the flexible parts of their Concentration and achieving their goal at Brown.
● 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 Advance 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 1000 level
All 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.
Honors in Music (optional)
Faculty Rules stipulate “Brown University shall, at graduation, grant honors to students whose work in a field of concentration has demonstrated superior quality and culminated in an honors thesis of distinction.”
In order to apply for Honors in Music, a student must fulfill the following criteria:
- The student must have acquired a 3.5 cumulative grade point average overall.
- The student must also have acquired a 3.5 cumulative grade point average in courses that count toward the concentration. (“S with distinction” equates with “A”. Grades of “S” are not computed in the grade point average.)
The Department designates three kinds of projects leading to honors in music:
(a) Research project in history, theory, or ethnomusicology.
(b) Performance project accompanied by pertinent research of lesser scope than (a). (Scholarly program notes required)
(c) Composition/Computer Music project. (score required if applicable; recording and/or video documentation desired, short project description)
NOTE: the term HONORS COMMITTEE refers to a student’s honors thesis advisor and readers.
A student wishing to propose a project should proceed as follows:
- An honors candidate must secure a faculty advisor and a second reader to serve as an honors committee for his or her project by the end of the year before graduation—typically, the end of the sixth semester. At the beginning of the penultimate semester the student will submit a proposal describing the project to the honors committee for approval. The proposal must receive committee approval and be given to Mary Rego for distribution to the full faculty by the first day of the first full week of classes of the semester. The department faculty will vote on the proposals at the next regularly scheduled meeting. Decisions will be based on the student’s overall performance in music courses and on the quality of the proposal. The advisor will notify the student of the faculty’s decision.
- It is expected that honors projects will normally take two semesters to complete. Students pursuing honors may choose to register for MUSC 1970 in the Fall and/or in the Spring. In any case, they will establish a series of regular meetings with their advisor. By finals week of the penultimate semester, honors candidates must demonstrate substantial progress by submitting to the honors committee a partial draft of a paper or composition or, for performance projects, by playing a significant portion of the programmed repertoire. Failure to make sufficient progress may result in the termination of the honors project.
- Last semester deadlines: Honors candidates must submit a complete draft to their honors committee by the first day of classes following the eighth week of the last semester. The committee will comment on the project and suggest revisions. Revisions must be completed, and the final project submitted to the honors committee by the first day of classes two weeks later. In the case of performance projects, this means that both the public performance and the scholarly component must have been completed by this date. In the case of research projects, all figures, notes, bibliography, and other critical apparatus must have been completed. Failure to make the deadline may result in the forfeiting of honors by the candidate, though the student may complete the project as a capstone project.
- The honors committee will confer to determine their views on their projects. If the second reader is outside Music, the advisor may solicit a written recommendation about the merits of the project.
- The advisor will deliver a copy of the completed thesis to the Mary Rego by the middle of the eleventh week of the last semester so that it may be made available for review by the full faculty. (Online, or hard copy on reserve in the Music Library.)
- During the twelfth week of the last semester, the advisor will report on the project at a meeting of the Department faculty for a vote. The advisor will notify the student of the faculty’s decision.
- Honors recipients will present their projects at a Department of Music Convocation held once annually at noon on the first day of final examination period in Semester II.