The music major is founded on a balance between the fields of Music History, Ethnomusicology, Theory, and Composition. Five core courses provide a foundation for the broad study of music, introducing the wide range of traditions within the subject and providing training in a series of specialized skills and tools that facilitate and deepen that study.
While it is possible to complete the major in two years, students should try to begin the major in their freshman or sophomore years; which allows the completion of course work at a moderate pace. The flexibility within the major means that advising plays a crucial role so students are strongly encouraged to consult with the Undergraduate Chair as well as their College advisors. Regular consultation with the Undergraduate Chair will help insure an orderly progression through the requirements for the major.
If you are interested in declaring music as a major contact Megan Webb, academic coordinator in MUSC. Potential majors will meet with the undergraduate chair and should complete a short declaration statement (a short paragraph) describing their interests, goals and hopes for completing the major. Why are you choosing a music major? Do you have an additional major or minor? If so, what? Which subfields are you most interested in exploring (history, composition, theory, ethnomusicology)? Do you think you would like to write a senior thesis to graduate with honors? Do you have any ideas yet about what you want to do with your major after Penn?
1. Core Courses (6 c.u.’s):
(Prerequisite to each of these courses is Music 1700  or the ability to read and analyze music.)
A. Core Courses in Music History, Ethnomusicology and American Music- (3 c.u.)
Music 2300  – Introduction to European Art Music
Music 2400  – Introduction to the Musical Life of America
Music 2500  – Introduction to Ethnomusicology
B. Music Theory Core Courses - (3 c.u.)
Music 2700  – Music Theory and Musicianship I (1.5 c.u.)
Music 2710  – Music Theory and Musicianship II (1.5 c.u.)
(Both theory courses are required and meet five hours per week, with three hours of theory instruction and two of musicianship training; MUSC2700 AND 2710 fulfill College Formal Reasoning and Analysis Foundational Requirement).
2. Course Electives (4 c.u.):
Chosen from list below in consultation with the Undergraduate Chair in Music
MUSC3300  – Historical eras and topics: earlier periods
MUSC3310  – Historical eras and topics: later periods
MUSC3320 – Themes in Music History. (Course content/Topic will change term)
MUSC3340  – Performers. (Course content/Topic will change each term)
MUSC3450  – Studies in African-American Music
MUSC3660  – Performance, Analysis, History
MUSC3510  — Music and Healing
MUSC3520  – Music, Religion, and Ritual in South and Southeast Asia
MUSC3550  – Accordions of the New World
MUSC3560  – Music and Performance of Africa
MUSC3570  – Caribbean Music and Diaspora
MUSC3580  – Latin American Music
Theory and Composition Courses:
MUSC3700  – Music Theory and Musicianship III (advanced) (1.5 c.u.)
MUSC3710  – Compositional Practices I (Historical Practices)
MUSC3720  – Compositional Practices II (Contemporary Practices)
MUSC3730  – Orchestration
MUSC3740  – Composition for Musicians (prerequisite 2700(170])
Electronic Music Courses:
MUSC3200  – Modular Electronic Music Systems
MUSC3210  – Recording Music
MUSC3220  – Interactive Musical Instrument Design and Coding
3. Capstone Seminars. (2.0 c.u.)
All majors take two seminars (typically in their Junior or Senior year). Capstone seminars are taught by all members of the standing faculty on a rotating basis; topics covered will vary and students may repeat registration in MUSC4300, 4500, and 4700. The seminars may sometimes be offered as joint classes with the graduate program. MUSC Majors may enroll in graduate seminars (with the permission of the instructor). Graduate courses can satisfy the capstone requirement.
MUSC4300  – Seminars in Music History
MUSC4500  – Seminars in Ethnomusicology
MUSC4700  – Seminars in Theory and Composition
4. PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENT (2 c.u.)
All MUSC majors are required to complete 2 c.u.’s of participation in performance/ensemble courses. The performance requirement can be met using the following courses:
Four sections of MUSC 0070, .5 c.u. per course. MUSC0070 must be taken for a letter grade (Pass/Fail registration option may not be utilized for this course). Read more about our Performance Ensembles here. [https://music.sas.upenn.edu/performance/ensembles]
MUSC0100  or 0110  (Marian Anderson Performance Programs).
MUSC0100 is a two semester performance course for majors and minors. Auditions are required. Please read more about the program here.
MUSC 3660 may be taken multiple times, but can only count once as a major elective, and no more than twice toward the performance requirement. Please note that a course that counts as an elective may not ALSO count toward the performance requirement
To be eligible for departmental honors, a student must have a 3.5 grade point average within the department, and must have completed a senior thesis [registration in MUSC 4097  and 4098  required. See complete guidelines.
-Only one credit transferred from another institution (domestic or study abroad) may count toward requirements.
-Majors and minors must receive a grade of C or above to satisfy requirements (courses with grades of C- or below will not count). Further, the student must have a minimum 2.0 GPA for all courses taken towards the major of minor.