Requirements for Major
This program presents the study of music as one of the liberal arts. Students develop their understanding of music through critical and comparative studies; theory and analysis; composition; and development of skills in musicianship and performance.
In order to fulfill the requirements for a major in music, a student must complete at least 30 credits of academic course work. No course receiving a grade lower than C- will count toward major requirements. Note that a student may not use the same course to satisfy more than one requirement. For example, a student may use MUSI 471 (Instrumental Conducting) to satisfy either an elective requirement or the performance requirement, but not both.
It is possible to complete the music major in two years. However, we recommend that students interested in music study begin taking major-level courses during their first two years. MUSI 305 and MUSI 331 are appropriate choices, because they introduce concepts and skills that are helpful in other major-level courses; other 300-level MUSI courses are also good choices for first- and second-year students who have musical experience.
Students planning careers in music should try to complete at least 12 credits of advanced departmental course work beyond the minimum major requirements, choosing these courses in careful consultation with the major advisor. In addition, advanced performing students should perform a full recital in their fourth year.
We strongly encourage students who may major in music and who have had instrumental or vocal training to continue their performance studies through MUPF offerings and to participate in curricular performing groups, MUEN and MUBD. However, no more than eight credits of performance may be counted toward the 120 credits required for graduation from the College.
Introduction to major-level study - 3 credits.
II. Four Core Courses
- Critical and comparative studies in music – at least 6 credits. Two courses, including one course chosen from MUSI 300 (Studies in Pre-Modern Music [to 1500], MUSI 301 (Studies in Early Modern Music [1500-1700]), MUSI 302 (Studies in Eighteenth-Century Music), MUSI 303 (Studies in Nineteenth-Century Music); and another course chosen from MUSI 307 (Worlds of Music), MUSI 308 (American Music), MUSI 309 (Performance in Africa), MUSI 312 (Jazz Studies).
- Basic Theory – 3 credits. MUSI 331 (Theory I). This course requires fluency in music notation. Students not meeting this prerequisite may improve their skills by taking MUSI 131 (Basic Musicianship), but this course does not count toward the 30 credits required for the major.
- Composition – 3 credits. One course chosen from MUSI 336 (Tonal Composition), MUSI 337 (Songwriting), MUSI 338 (Introduction to Post-Tonal Composition), MUSI 339 (Introduction to Music and Computers), MUSI 431 (Theory III), MUSI 432 (Tonal Counterpoint), MUSI 435 (Interactive Media), MUSI 440 (Computer Sound Generation and Spatial Processing), MUSI 443 (Sound Studio), MUSI 445 (Computer Applications in Music), MUSI 447 (Materials of Contemporary Music).
- Performance – 2 credits. One course (2 or more credits) or, in the case of 1-credit lessons or ensembles, two semesters of the same course. Any 1- or 2-credit course listed under the mnemonic MUBD, MUEN or MUPF may count toward this requirement. Other courses satisfying this requirement include academic courses with performance emphasis: MUSI 230A,B, or C (Keyboard/Fretboard Skills, 2 credits), MUSI 309 (Performance in Africa, 4 credits), MUSI 334 (Basso Continuo, 3 credits), MUSI 471 or 472 (Instrumental Conducting, 3 credits), MUSI 474 (Music in Performance, 3 credits) MUSI 475 or 476 (Choral Conducting, 3 credits).
- Musicianship – 1 credit. MUSI 333A, B, or C. Further credits for musicianship at this level do not count toward the minimum 30 credits for the major.
IV. Four Electives
- Electives – at least 12 credits. Four additional MUSI courses (at least 3 credits each) numbered 300 level or above. Of these, at least one must be a seminar, that is, a 400-level special-topic course, taught with an emphasis on reading and discussion, and in which each student accomplishes substantial original work, either in several projects through the semester or a single, large-scale project. In every case, the selection of electives must have the approval of the music advisor.
Distinguished Majors Program In Music
The Distinguished Majors Program allows outstanding music majors to work on large-scale projects during their last two semesters at the University. The project may consist of a thesis, a composition, or the performance of a full recital; a project that combines these components is also possible.
Majors normally apply to the program during their sixth semester. After a preliminary discussion with the DUP, a student arranges supervision by a main advisor and two other committee members, and submits a proposal to the DUP and Department Chair. Each spring, the DUP announces detailed application procedures and a deadline.
Work on the Distinguished Majors project normally takes place through three credits of independent work in the last two semesters at the University. These credits do not count toward music major requirements. A student working on a thesis or composition normally takes MUSI 493-494, at three credits each. A student preparing a recital normally takes honors-level private performance lessons. MUPF 493-494, at two credits each, as well as an academic independent study pertinent to the recital program, MUSI 493-494, at one or more credits each.
Projects are due by the last day of classes in the second semester of work; a student’s committee may set an earlier date of completion. The committee evaluates the completed project and submits a report to the full-time faculty. Students completing projects may receive the B.A. with Distinction, High Distinction, or Highest Distinction in Music, provided the cumulative GPA at graduation is 3.4 or above (a CLAS rule).
Any level of distinction is an unusual honor, showing strong Department admiration for a student’s work. The Department awards Highest Distinction only rarely. A completed project that is less than excellent will receive no distinction.
For more information, contact Laura Butterbaugh, McIntire Department of Music, 112 Old Cabell Hall, P.O. Box 400176, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176; (434) 924-3052; www.virginia.edu/music.