Minimum of 12 courses / 38 credits
Optional Introductory Course, depending on previous knowledge of music theory
- MU 070 Fundamentals of Music Theory
May be substituted for one of the electives, with the approval of the Chairperson.
Theory, Analysis, and Composition Courses - four courses total
- MU 070 Fundamentals of Music Theory, or equivalent
Required of all majors:
- MU 110 Harmony
- MU 211 Chromatic Harmony
- MU 312 Counterpoint
Choice of any one course:
- MU 214 Form and Analysis
- MU 215 Jazz Harmony
- MU 315 Composition Seminar
- MU 316 Tonal Composition
Historical Courses - three courses total
Required of all majors:
- MU 209 Twentieth Century Music
Choice of any two:
- MU 201 Medieval-Renaissance Music
- MU 203 Music of the Baroque
- MU 205 Music of the Classic Era
- MU 207 Music of the Romantic Era
With permission of the Chairperson, a composer or genre course may be substituted for a period course.
Cross-Cultural Courses - two courses total
Required of all majors, a choice of one from each of the following two groups:
- Group I - Non-Western tradition
- MU 301 Introduction to World Music
- MU 306 African Music
- MU 307 Musics of Asia
- MU 301, 306, and 307 also satisfy the Core Cultural Diversity requirement
- Group II - Western tradition
- MU 320 Music and America
- MU 321 Rhythm and Blues in American Music
- MU 322 Jazz in America
- MU 326 History of Jazz
- MU 330 Introduction to Irish Folk Music
Required Senior Seminar - one semester
The Senior Seminar (MU 405) is ordinarily open only to senior music majors. The Seminar entails a series of weekly projects allowing majors to investigate issues in depth with special emphasis in one of the areas listed above -- theory and composition, history, cross-cultural, or performance. The Seminar serves as preparation for a senior project, with supervised reading, research, writing, and discussion.
Electives - two courses
The student will choose a minimum of two semester courses in whatever category is appropriate to his or her particular interest, whether it is in music theory and composition, performance, history, or cross-cultural studies. Students with performance emphasis must have three semesters of private instruction for credit. The three credits for private instruction will be bundled into a full course only upon completion of the jury at the end of the third semester of lessons. See Credit for Performance.
Corequisites for the Major
- Performance/Ensemble Experience
Minimum of two semesters/ Each major must have two semester of experience in performance in some capacity and may choose from any organized performance group at Boston College, such as Boston College Symphony Orchestra; Chamber Music Ensemble; Popular Styles Ensemble; Irish Traditional Music classes; University Chorale, Madrigals, Voices of Imani, or student a capella group; Concert Band, BC bOp, through more informal students groups, by consultation with Chairperson, or through private lessons.
- Listening Repertory Lists
Majors will be asked to identify important works from the Western tradition in a series of Listening Repertory exams. Each year of the music major (normally three), a list of works will be given to the student that they must be able to identify by the end of the year. A listening test on each of three lists of works will be administered until the student passes.
- Ear Training/Sight Singing
All Majors will be expected to have passed the minimum competency requirements in Ear Training and Sight-Singing before graduation. The course MU 081-082 Ear-Training and Sight-Singing, a one-credit course, is designed and recommended as an aid to passing this test.
Recommended Course of Study
Information for First Year
Included in the University's Core Curriculum is one course in the Arts (Fine Arts, Music, or Theatre). MU 066 Introduction to Music, and MU 070 Fundamentals of Music Theory, and MU 033 History of Rock and Roll & Popular Musics in the U.S. are the Music Department's Core offerings. They are designed for the non-musician as well as the student who has studied music. Prospective music majors and minors should reference the Recommended Course of Study listed below. Students with advanced musical backgrounds and interests should speak to the Director of the Undergraduate Program in Music regarding appropriate upper-level courses. The department offers MU 301 Introduction to World Music as an option for the Cultural Diversity requirement of the Core.
All students declaring the music major should try as freshmen to take or test out of MU 070 Fundamentals of Music Theory, a course covering the notation of music and fundamental ear-training. Freshmen who feel they may wish to consider majoring in music (or wish to fulfill the Core requirement in Fine Arts by taking a music course) should take MU 005 The Musical Experience or MU 066 Introduction to Music. Either of these courses is a general introduction to the field and its various methodologies, and a student may receive retroactive credit for the major if passed with a B+ or higher.
Harmony and Chromatic Harmony should be taken in sequence along with MU 081-082, Ear Training/Sight Singing Labs. Two history courses in Western Music (selected from Medieval-Renaissance, Baroque Music, Music of the Classical Era, Music of the Romantic Era, Music of the Twentieth Century, or a composer or genre course) or one history course and one cross-cultural course should be taken. The first year's required Listening Repertoire should be mastered. Some performance experience (Orchestra, Chorale, Band, Chamber Music, non-Western performance, and/or private lessons) should be started and pursued throughout the rest of the major.
Counterpoint and a choice of Jazz Harmony, Form and Analysis, Orchestration or Composition and a second or third history course and/or a cross-cultural course should be taken. The second year of the required Listening Repertoire should be mastered.
Any advanced courses in the department relevant to the particular emphasis the student has chosen—performance, composition, history, or cross-cultural—and the Senior Seminar, which will help the student synthesize previous course work, should be taken. The final year of the required Listening Repertoire should be mastered.