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Overview The Department of Music serves all students who have, or want to develop, a serious interest in music, as well as students who aspire to careers in music. Academic courses and performance instruction are available at all levels, from introductory courses or lessons, requiring no previous musical study, to advanced work for ambitious majors and graduate students.
The academic faculty includes historians, ethnomusicologists, theorists, and composers. Academic courses address the historical development of music, relations between music and cultural contexts, and the specific concepts and materials of music. The department offers opportunities for study in Western European art music, computer music, jazz, popular music, African music, and other traditions of world music.
The performance faculty includes an orchestral conductor, a choral conductor, the director of the African Drum and Dance Ensemble, and several jazz musicians, along with artist/teachers for strings, brass, winds, percussion, piano, harp, guitar and voice. In addition to private lessons, instructors coach small ensembles and teach specialized courses such as jazz improvisation, West and Central African performance, and vocal chamber music. The performance faculty contributes significantly to the cultural life of the University, performing frequently in faculty recitals and as principals in the orchestra.
The department offers courses for non-majors ranging from an introduction to music, basic music theory, and keyboard skills, to special topics such as the history of jazz, Black popular performance, orchestral music, Bach, Beethoven, and opera. Courses for majors cover a wide range of topics in ethnomusicology, music history, theory, and composition. We also offer courses in special topics such as performance practice, music of the Black Atlantic, women and music, the ethnography of performance, or musical aesthetics. Many courses have no prerequisites; courses at the 300 level and above require knowledge of music notation or have other prerequisites.
Individual performance instruction for credit is available on all instruments and voice. Students receive academic credit for participation in faculty-directed ensembles, which include a fine symphony orchestra, a large chorus, a chamber choir, the African Drum and Dance Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Collegium Musicum, New Music Ensemble, and ensembles for flute, double reeds, clarinets, saxophones, brass, percussion, strings, pianos, and jazz improvisation. In addition there are numerous student-directed and community performance groups, including a chamber orchestra, Virginia Swing Orchestra, singing groups such as the Glee Club, Women’s Chorus, Black Voices, and an Indonesian gamelan.
Faculty The department has outstanding faculty in music composition, receiving numerous commissions and awards, including several awards form the National Endowment for the Arts. The department has an exceptionally strong faculty of active, innovative scholars. Members of the history, ethnomusicology, and theory faculty have published influential articles in anthologies and in prominent journals such as the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Ethnomusicology, Music Theory Spectrum, and Cambridge Opera Journal.
The department’s scholars have been chosen to cover a broad range of music and interpretive approaches, including Renaissance and Baroque music, Italian opera, jazz, African music and ethnomusicology, recent American music, aesthetics, performance theory, feminist criticism, and gender studies.
The department has a fine performance faculty of over thirty members, experienced musicians trained at such institutions as Eastman, Yale, Boston Conservatory, and the Manhattan School of Music. The orchestral conductor was trained at Peabody Conservatory and subsequently studied with Leonard Bernstein and other outstanding teachers; his performances and recordings have earned many awards. The department’s two ensembles-in-residence have made commercial recordings and perform exciting concerts of traditional repertory and new compositions. The director of jazz performance has toured and recorded with Quincy Jones, Mel Torme, Bruce Hornsby and others, and has released a commercial recording of original compositions.
Students Usually there are about fifty music majors. Some continue professionally in music, but many have careers in other areas such as law or medicine. Many students combine a major in music with a major or minor in another department.
Majors have extensive contact with faculty. Classes for the major are small, ranging from five to twenty-five students, and all are taught by faculty members. Consultation with the chair of the department or any other faculty member is readily available to all students.
Although the department has no formal performance requirement for majors, almost all music majors choose to supplement their academic studies with musical performance in ensembles and/or individual instruction, for which scholarships are available.
The Music Library The largest in the commonwealth, the Music Library contains over 50,000 books and scores and 32,000 sound recordings. The collection has traditionally focussed on classical music, jazz, and folk music; recently it added an excellent collection of opera videos, and has begun to build up its popular music collection. Students may borrow recordings and videos as well as books and scores.
The Virginia Center for Computer Music Founded in 1988, the center is the region’s most advanced facility for work in computer sound generation and related topics. In 1991, in recognition of its achievements, the program was awarded an Academic Enhancement Award by the University.
The center offers multiple workstations for music composition and research applications. The Mac-based platforms are used primarily for MIDI-based work. Program environments include MAX, HMSL, and traditional sequencer and notation packages used to drive synthesizers, digital effects processors, and samplers. These sound generators and effects processors include Yamaha, Roland, and Matrix units, and all are connected via patch bays to MIDI keyboard controllers. A NeXT network enables students to explore direct digital synthesis and manipulation of recorded sound using programs such as C-Sound, C-Mix, RtApp, and RtLisp. Both the Mac-based and NeXT systems have direct-to-disk recording capabilities and DAT decks for final mix.
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 29 credits of academic course work, including the following:
Although the major can be completed in two years, students are strongly encouraged to complete MUSI 305, MUSI 311, and at least one course in critical and comparative studies by the end of their second year. Student planning to take MUSI 332 and MUSI 431 should normally begin their study of theory in the first or second year.
Students planning careers in music should complete at least 12 hours of advanced departmental course work beyond the minimum major requirements, choosing these courses in careful consultation with the faculty advisor, In addition, advanced performing students should perform a full recital in their fourth year.
Students who major in music and who have had instrumental or vocal training are encouraged to continue their performance studies and, as appropriate, to register for MUSI 351 through MUSI 358 (Performance). Majors are also encouraged to participate in a curricular performing group, MUSI 360 through MUSI 369. However, performance courses do not count toward the 29 credits required for the major, and no more than eight hours of performance may be counted toward the 120 credits required for graduation from the College.
Distinguished Majors Program Superior students with a GPA of at least 3.4 who seek independent study culminating in a thesis, a composition, or the performance of a full recital should apply for admission to the program no later than March 15 of the sixth semester. At that time the student should be nearing completion of requirements for the major. After a preliminary discussion with the undergraduate advisor, the student must submit a formal proposal to the departmental chair, to the advisor, and to the faculty member who has agreed to supervise the project. The Distinguished Majors Committee will inform the applicant of the decision by April 15. To complete the program, the student must complete all 31 credits required for the music major plus six additional credits of Independent Study, MUSI 493, 494, resulting in an extended essay on some historical or theoretical topic, in a substantial musical composition, or in a recital performance. Three weeks prior to the last day of classes in the semester, the student submits the project for examination. After the committee has evaluated the quality of the project, the student’s work in the program, in the major courses, and his or her overall scholastic accomplishment, it recommends the degree with either no distinction, distinction, high distinction, or highest distinction. Recommendations for all forms of distinction are then passed on to the Committee on Special Programs.
Additional Information For more information, contact Sue Culverhouse, McIntire Department of Music, 112 Old Cabell Hall, Charlottesville, VA 22903; (804) 924-3052.
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