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Undergraduate Program


Courses are 4 credits unless noted otherwise.

Note: Please see below for detailed information on the courses offered this year.

MUSC 100      Experiencing Music.

A new approach to "music appreciation" that could be offered only at the U of R, with its extraordinary musical resources, including nearly 800 concerts and recitals per year, a professional-quality recording studio, and the largest academic music library in the New World.  This enjoyable course celebrates the "ears-on" experience of various aspects of musical performance and assumes no previous technical training in music.  Participants will develop listening skills through the enjoyment of live musical presentations, in-class performances, discussions with the performers and living composers and guided listening sessions.  Students will attend some rehearsals and concerts, including at least one Rochester Philharmonic concert at the Eastman Theatre.  Web sites and other technological media will also be used in lieu of text.  (Alternate Spring Semesters)


MUSC 101      Elements of Music.

A course for the student with no previous musical experience.  Topics covered include notation, intervals, chords, and other basic concepts of tonal harmony, with application to the study of a wide range of styles including popular idioms.

Students should not be able to read music.  Students who complete MUSC 110 may NOT enroll in MUSC 101. Credit will NOT be given for both.  (Fall and Spring)


MUSC 104      Carillon.

Private carillon instruction, weekly 30-minute lessons or the equivalent.

By audition only.  Permission of instructor required. (2 credits)


MUSC 109      Musicianship I: Literacy Skills.

This course introduces students to basic musicianship skills.  The course begins with exercises in pitch matching and basic interval recognition and progresses toward other skills, such as singing simple melodies at sight, sight-reading various rhythmic patterns, and dictating simple melodies and chord progressions.

We recommend that prospective music majors, especially those with prior singing experience skip this course and begin with MUSC 113.  (Fall and Spring)  (1 credit)


MUSC 110      Introduction to Music Theory.

Basic concepts of music theory, addressing students with some musical experience in an instrument or voice, but little or no music theory.  Scales, keys, intervals, chords, basic part-writing, and other fundamental aspects of musical structure.  Some ear training and aural skills.

Prerequisite: The ability to read music, preferably in both treble and bass clefs.

Students who have completed MUSC 101 may NOT register for MUSC 110.  Students should not be able to read music.  Students who complete MUSC 110 may NOT enroll in MUSC 101.  Credit will NOT be given for both.  (Fall and Spring)


MUSC 111      Theory I.

This course introduces students to essential aspects of music theory, including harmony, rhythm and meter, melody, form, and texture.  The course will draw upon music from a variety of styles and genres, including pop, rock, jazz, musical theater, film music, and “classical” music.  Prospective music majors should begin their theory requirement with this course.

Prerequisites: MUSC 101, 110 or permission of instructor (placement test).  (Fall only)


MUSC 112      Theory II.

This course focuses on the same broad topics as MUSC 111, and draws from a similarly varied repertoire, but introduces more complex concepts, including chromatic harmony and scales, advanced formal analysis, key changes, elaborate rhythmic and metric patterns, and intricate textural layering.

Prerequisite: MUSC 111.  (Spring only)


MUSC 113      Musicianship II.

This course develops basic musicianship skills with an emphasis of diatonic sight-singing, rhythmic sight-reading, and dictation of diatonic melodies and chord progressions.  The exercises and in-class activities are similar to MUSC 109 but at a more advanced level.

(Fall and Spring) (1 credit)


MUSC 114      Musicianship III.

Continuation of MUSC 113 with an increased emphasis on chrom- aticism, especially simple modulation and mode mixture.  The course puts emphasis on ensemble singing and aural analysis.

Prerequisites: MUSC 113 or permission of theory coordinator.  (Fall and Spring) (1 credit)


MUSC 115      Musicianship IV.

Continuation of MUSC 114 with greater emphasis on chromaticism and aural analysis.

Prerequisite: MUSC 114.  (Fall and Spring) (1credit)


MUSC 116      Keyboard Skills I.

Introduces students to the keyboard as a vehicle for broader musical development.  Covers basic piano technique, sight-reading of simple chord progressions, realization of figured bass, and basic improvisation.  No prior keyboard training required.

Permission of instructor required.  (Fall and Spring) (2 credits)


MUSC 117      Keyboard Skills II.

Continuation of MUSC 116.  Students completing this course fulfill the piano proficiency for the music major.

Prerequisite: MUSC 116 permission of instructor.  (Fall and Spring) (2 credits)


MUSC 118      Beginning Piano for Non-Music Majors I.

Elective course for non-music majors from River Campus with no previous keyboard instruction and cannot read music.  The course will include technique, fundamental skills, and repertoire.

*NOTE: limited seating due to keyboard availability, no additional students taken once the sessions are full.  Classes on ESM campus.

See ESM website for info on start date, cancellations, etc;             (Fall only) (2 credits)


MUSC 119      Beginning Piano for Non-Music Majors II.

Continuation of MUSC 118. *Ssee note above.  (Spring) (2 credits)


MUSC 120      Symphony and the Conductor.

Offering the student glimpses into the world of standard orchestral performance as well as an overview of the métier of the orchestra conductor.  In addition to the ability to read music, knowledge of basic music theory, participants must have a love for and active interest in symphonic music and the process of its preparation and performance.  In addition to class lectures, students will visit orchestral rehearsals off-and on-campus, view rehearsal and performance videos, enjoy interactions with local conductors, arts managers, orchestral musicians, and also attend orchestra concerts.

Prerequisite: MUSC 111 or Permission of Instructor.  (Alternate Spring Semesters only)


MUSC 121      World Music in Context.

In this introductory course, students will engage with a variety of musical genres, instruments, and performance techniques from different areas of the world.  Through reading assignments, listening examples, film clips, and participatory activities, students will study how people in difference places engage with music as a sonic and social practice.  Students will also learn how to write about music as a form of social practice through short reading responses and structured essay assignments.  No prerequisites.  (Spring or Fall)


MUSC 122A    History of Jazz I.

This study of Jazz, as an American musical art form, will be structured around the lives and music of jazz musicians, across a range of instrumental, vocal, and ensemble genres.  Course focuses on jazz titans, those individuals and musical groups distinguished by their seminal and permanent influences, such as Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, or Coleman Hawkins or shorter intense careers, such as Charlie Parker.  Blues, ragtime, swing, bebop, cool, progressive, and free jazz are landmark terms.  And finally, study of the musical history will be enhanced by considerations from sociological, linguistic, and philosophical perspectives.  The instructional format includes lectures, discussion and intense emphasis on listening.  This course is designed for students with little or no musical training; simple technical, musical vocabulary and concepts will be provided.  Reading, listening assignments, brief written assignments and two exams.  No prerequisites. (Fall Only)


MUSC 122B    History of Jazz II.

This course will focus on Jazz music and  musicians in the latter half of the 20th century (ca. 1955-2000).  We will investigate the relationship of Jazz to the following topics: new musical styles, other art forms, changes in American society, technological developments, and the evolution of recording, broadcast, and news media.  In doing so, we will consider not only musicians who first emerged as leaders during this period (Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Wynton Marsalis, John Scofield), but also those whose careers began earlier (Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Gil Evans) and continued into the 1950s and beyond.  We will also examine how repertoire from previous historical periods came to be viewed by subsequent generations of musicians and listeners.  The instructional format includes lectures and discussion along with in-class viewings/listenings of recorded performances.  This course is designed for students with little or no musical training.  The coursework will consist of assigned readings, listenings, brief written assignments and two exams.  No prerequisites.


MUSC 123      Music of Black Americans.

This course will focus on the development of African American music from the 19th century through the latter part of the 20thcentury. We will study how African American music can be used a lens through which to understand the black American experience and the social and political landscape of American society as a whole. The historical, social, economic, and musical factors of various black American music genres will be examined with the aim to understand how African Americans constructed identity and interpreted the world around them.  We will also discuss the performative aspects of these genres in order to understand how black music artists used their bodies and asserted their agency through performance on stage.  Genres to be explored include the 19thcentury spiritual, the blues, gospel, jazz, early rock and roll, soul music, funk, rhythm and blues, and hip hop, among others.  (Fall only)


MUSC 124      Signed Sealed & Delivered: Deals & Innovations that Changed the Music Industry Forever.

A look at the historical deals and innovations that have impacted the music business between 1877 to present.  From ground breaking inventions to brilliant marketing initiatives to hushed back-room deals, this course will expose the key moments where the record industry changed forever, both for good and bad.  (2 credits)


MUSC 125      History of Rock Music.

This course will explore the history of rock music, emphasizing primarily the period between 1955 and 1990.  The periods preceding (1900-1955) and following (1990-present) will also be considered to a limited extent.  Discussion and reading will focus mostly on the music, identifying a wide variety of rock-music styles within the historical context of the development, transformation, and interaction of pop styles of these decades in general.  Issues of technological development, social, political, and cultural context, race and gender, and music-business practices will also be considered.

No prerequisites: Knowledge of technical musical terms and ability to read music are NOT required.


MUSC 126      Opera.

A small number of representative operas will be used to highlight the history of this controversial 400-year old art form and its creators, performers, and audiences.  Drama, music, staging, spectacle, and dance will be examined as components of production.  Divas welcome.

Prerequisite: ability to read music.


MUSC 127      The Blues.

The origins of the Blues in the context of African-American culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it's rapid rise to becoming the dominant popular music in the African- American community, and the discovery of blues by white audiences.  (REL 151).


MUSC 128      Women and Music.

This course will focus primarily on women composers but will also include material on women as performers, patrons, and consumers, as well as consideration of the role that gender plays in the experience of music.  No prerequisite.


MUSC 129      The Rolling Stones and British Blues-Rock.

The music of the Rolling Stones is examined, starting with the earliest music from 1962 and extending to the early 1970s.  Emphasis will be on the band's stylistic development, as well as on the British blues movement of the early to mid 1960s.  The music of other blues-based British groups, including Blues Incorporated, the Yardbirds, the Animals, the Bluesbreakers, Cream, and Led Zeppelin, will also be considered.

No previous training or ability to read music is required.


MUSC 130      The Beatles, the British Invasion, and Psychedelia.

The history of the Beatles career and music is explored in the context of the band’s stylistic development, as well as against the backdrop of social, cultural, technical, and music-business events and issues of the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

No background in music theory or ability to play a musical instrument is required.


MUSC 131      Rock Music in the 1970’s.

This course will survey rock music in the 1970s, paying special attention to ways in which 70s styles developed out of 60s styles.  Artists considered will include Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Yes, Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Allman Brothers, The Eagles, Black Sabbath, The Cars, Tom Petty, The Sex Pistols and Elvis Costello, plus many more.

No previous musical training required.


MUSC 132      StarMakers: Inside the Publicity Machine.

Will include a historical overview of music stars and the publicity campaigns used to promote their careers.  From Frank Sinatra-1940s; through Elvis Presley;-1950s; through The Beatles & The Rolling Stones in the 1960s, up through self-indulgent 70s with acts like Elton John, Kiss, and Prince, up to today's high profile campaigns for Justin Bieber, Rhianna and Lady Gaga.  Students will be versed in the art of writing an artist bio, press releases, and in the various types of Public Relations events staged to gain publicity.  Starmakers will also look at the various types of publicity such as career launching; crisis management (scandals; sudden death of celebrity) and tour press.  We will also look at how social media has become a game changer for music publicity.  (2 credits)


MUSC 133      Musical Theater Workshop.

Intensive practical experience with scene-and-song work in the repertory of popular musical theater genres.  Weekly rehearsals and critique sessions, with emphasis on characterization, technical skills, sub-textual dimensions, and stylistic considerations.  Some reading assignments, but emphasis is on the preparation for performance.  Initial and concluding videotaping of "audition piece".

Prerequisite: One year of voice instruction; permission of instructor (by audition).  (Spring only)


MUSC 134      Style and Genre: Introduction to Music History.

An introduction to the history of Western classical music from the Middle Ages to the present, with emphasis on recognition of the chief stylistic characteristics and understanding of major genres of each period.

Prerequisite: MUSC 112 or permission of instructor.  (Fall or Spring semester)


MUSC 135A    American Musical Theater.

A historical and critical survey of the Broadway musical, with a focus on its so-called Golden Age (from Oklahoma! to Cabaret).  Weekly listening, reading, and video assignments with analysis of dramaturgy, lyric and musical forms, process of adaptation and production, modes of performance.

Prerequisite: ability to read music or strong background/interest in musical theater.  (Alternate Spring semesters)


MUSC 135B    Sondheim and the Modern Musical Theater

A historical and critical survey of the American musical theater from roughly 1960 to the present, as reflected principally in the works of composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim and/or producer/director Harold Prince.  Analysis of lyrics, musical forms and idioms, process of adaptation and production, modes of performance.

Although prior completion of MUSC 135A is recommended, students with a strong background in musical theater will be admitted as well.  (Fall, alternate years)


MUSC 136      Exploring Classical Music.

It offers an in-depth look at the history of classical music from Medieval music through today, and makes parallels to trends in visual art and other fine arts mediums.  Connections will also be drawn to developments of popular music idioms.  The course culminates in the ability to further explore a class piece of the student's choice.  It includes the opportunity to observe an RPO rehearsal for free.


MUSC 137      Christian Worship in the Reformation.

This course equips students to understand the key role of music in shaping the new identities and beliefs of the Christian communities that emerged from the Reformations of the sixteenth century: Lutherans, Calvinists, Anglicans, and Roman Catholics, including colonial societies around the globe.  We will study the link between faith, music, and community in Lutheran chorales and Puritan psalms, Palestrina's masses and J. S. Bach's Passions, and music from colonial Latin America.  In light of theological literature of the time we will study how music served as a form of ritual and prayer for communities and individuals.  This historical knowledge will enable students to understand the roots of livingtraditions of Christian worship today.

No musical or theological background required.


MUSC 138      Intro to Art of Conducting.

This course introduces the basics of conducting technique, score study, interpretation, rehearsing, and programming.  While the class will acknowledge differences in leading various ensembles, the focus will be on orchestra conducting.  The class will include the opportunity to lead students in the class in live performance.  As such, students should feel comfortable performing on an instrument or singing as part of a group.  Students must be able to read music and analyze harmonic and formal structures.

Prerequisite: MUSC 112 required. MUSC 211 strongly recommended.  May take concurrently with MUSC 211.  (4 credits)


MUSC 139      Judaism and its Music

In this seminar, we will read some of the classic works of modern Jewish philosophy.  Authors include Hermann Cohen, Franz Rosenzweig, Emmanuel Levinas, and Joseph Soloveitchik.  (REL 217).


MUSC 140      Religion and Hip Hop Culture

This course considers an often overlooked element in the study of hip hop culture, religion.  Specifically, the course offers students the opportunity to examine the variety of ways that religion finds expression in the dynamic cultural medium of hip hop.  Class format includes lectures, discussions, films, and video/music presentations.  (REL 170)


MUSC 141      Introduction to Audio and Music Engineering.

Provides an introduction to the science and technology of audio.  Students will learn about the vibration of strings, musical tuning systems, overtones and timbre, modes of oscillation through the concept of a guitar.  Fourier analysis, transducers and passive electrical components and circuits will be introduced when discussing amps and audio components. Hands on projects introduce the fundamental concepts of electronics, including voltage, current, resistance and impedance, basic circuit analysis, ac circuits, impedance matching, and analog signals.  The course then introduces basic digital signal processing concepts, where they will use Arduinos and Pure Data to learn about conversion of sound to digital format, frequency analysis, digital filtering and signal processing and musical sound synthesis.

AME140 is recommended as an introduction to the Audio and Music Engineering major but is accessible to students of music or other non-technical disciplines who wish to learn the fundamentals of music technology.  (AME 140)


MUSC 142      Music, Poetry, and Song.

What happens when we mix music and words?  This course will study the complex and evolving relationship between music and text.  We will study songs from different styles and time periods – art songs, early music, rock, and jazz. We will learn about the rhythm and meter of poetry and how it relates to the basic elements of music.  And we will consider how words and music combine in genres such as opera, musical theater, and modern multimedia.

No prior training in music or poetry is required.


MUSC 143      Global Pop.

Through a survey of popular music from around the world, students in this class will become familiar with a range of exciting new sounds, and engage with evolving social theories of globalization.  Through a combination of readings, listening, and film, we will address questions such as what happens when popular music moves away from its place of origin and begins circulating in global space, how music participates in relationships between global power centers and their peripheries, and how changing global identities are expressed through film scores.


MUSC 144      Beethoven and His World.

This course will provide an in-depth look at this iconic composer and his music, including selections from the symphonies, string quartets, piano sonatas, and the opera Fidelio, with a special emphasis on works that will be performed live in Rochester this semester. Reading assignments and class discussions will place Beethoven's music within its tumultuous historical context amid the political upheavals of the Napoleonic era, as well as exploring the continuing influence of Beethoven on more recent musicians and creative artists.

The ability to read music is not required.


MUSC 145A    African Popular Culture

From Nigerian movies to Zimbabwean dancehall songs, this course uses popular music, dance, film, street art, bus slogans, newspapers and other sources to document African interpretations of contemporary social, political, and cultural issues.  We will let African musicians, writers, directors, and artists guide our investigation into the big questions of the class: Why is the gap between rich and poor in African societies increasing?  What is happening to gender relations?  What do African people think of their political leaders and how do they imagine political situations might improve?  Student projects may include teaching a popular African dance style; performing a popular song or theatrical skit from Africa; organizing a film screening or mini-festival; writing a research paper; or producing a podcast on African popular arts.


MUSC 146      Experience Guinea: Exploration in Drumming, Dance & Historical Context.

Kerfala Fana Bangoura will lead this exploration in Dance, Drumming and Historical Context in Guinea, West Africa.  The instructor is a native of Guinea and has been a part of prestigious National companies Les Ballets Africains and Percussion de Guinee.  The instruction will include rhythmic foundations for drummers and dancers and will build knowledge of the djembe, dundun, sangban, kenkeni, krins and bell and how they are used culturally for music and dance. Students will learn style, form, technique, and historical context of the dance right in the midst of the vibrant culture and landscape of Guinea.

Course will be offered Dec 27, 2017 - January 15, 2018.


MUSC 147      Gospel Music in America.

We will examine the historical development of gospel music, beginning with 19th century slave spirituals and ending with an examination of 21st century gospel music practices. Throughout this course, we will attempt to answer the following questions: What is gospel music?  How are the parameters of the genre defined?  How has gospel music participated in constructions of black identity and spiritual formation?  How has the sound and presentation of gospel music evolved – i.e. instrumentation, vocal aesthetic, performance persona, and technique?  Lectures and discussions will also highlight some of the perpetually controversial tensions that have come to define gospel music history and culture.  Such tensions involve the commercialization of gospel music, the ambiguity of lyrical meaning, gospel music’s flirtations with sensuality and sexuality, and debates about what constitutes “authentic” gospel music.


MUSC 149      Sound and Sense.

This seminar will be organized around a broad survey of the literature in sound studies.  We will also read and audition the work of sound artists and practitioners who have inquired into the nature of sound and sense through a variety of enactments.  Students will keep media journals – including recordings, short listening exercises, writings and sound productions–through which they can explore and reflect upon their everyday sound experiences throughout the semester.  Part scholarly seminar, part practice-based research, the course encourages a self-reflexive and performative inquiry into questions regarding the relationship of sound and sense.  Some questions to be considered include: How has sound been historically understood and constructed in relation to the senses?  How does the naming and categorizing of the senses structure knowledge and ways of knowing?  How are hearing and listening related?  How do sonic and acoustic metaphors structure consciousness?  How do concepts such as “secondary orality”?


MUSC 161      Media in the Digital Age.

This course offers a unique opportunity for students to engage critically with broadcasting and the supporting areas of radio and television industries.  Students will participate in theoretical and practical applications in selected area of focus at Rochester’s public broadcasting organization, WXXI.  These areas include production for news, 1370 Connections, WRUR, Second Opinion, Homework Hotline, music, television, and audio engineering and admin support including accounting, fundraising, web development, social media, and others.  Weekly class meetings cover the basics of broadcasting including history, regulations, and formats of over-the air communications, along with an overview of changes that digital media has brought to traditional broadcasting.

This course requires students spend 8 hours p/week at the WXXI studios and offices in Rochester.  These times are to be arranged by the student, course instructor and WXXI Exec VP Susan Rogers, and the WXXI site supervisor.  Email S. Rogers  (Spring only)


MUSC 162      Music and the Mind.

Introduction to the discipline of music cognition.  Topics include empirical methods, psycho-acoustic principles, influence of Gestalt psychology, music and language, metric and tonal hierarchies, music and the brain, aspects of musical development, and research on musical memory, expectation, and emotion.  (TH 260).  (Spring only)


MUSC 181      GTR Class: Beyond the Basics.

This is an introductory guitar class that will teach guitar fundamentals and get students playing popular, rock, blues, classical, and simple jazz tunes by the end of the semester.  This course is open to all guitar enthusiasts as well as music majors/minors seeking a 'methods class' approach to learning the instrument. Electric and acoustic guitars welcome. Contact Prof Bob Sneider with any questions.  (2 credits)


MUSC 183      GTR Class: Intro to Classical Guitar.

Intro to Classical Guitar will introduce students to rudiments of classical guitar technique, including tuning, basic posture and position, chord formation, note reading, and introduction to repertoire.  Basic ensemble techniques will be incorporated into class sessions.  

(2 credits)


MUSC 191      Art and Technology of Recording.

This course covers the acoustical and psychoacoustic fundamentals of audio recording including the nature of sound, sound pressure level, frequency and pitch, hearing and sound perception, reflection, absorption and diffusion of sound, sound diffraction, room acoustics, reverberation, and studio design principles.  The course also provides practical experience in audio recording including an introduction to recording studio equipment, microphones and microphone placement techniques, signal flow, amplification, analog and digital recording, analog to digital conversion, digital processing of sound, multi-track recording and an introduction to mixing and mastering.  Each student is required to complete a substantive recording project at the end of the course.  (AME 191)


MUSC 192      Listening and Audio Production.

This course is a continuation of AME191.  Emphasis is on the development of critical listening skills and proficiency in audio mixing and mastering.  Fundamental topics covered include the human auditory system, theories of hearing and audio perception, perception of loudness and pitch, critical bands and auditory masking, beats and roughness, temporal and pitch acuity, binaural hearing.  Listening skills development include hearing “width” and “depth” in audio, mixing techniques in various musical genres, recognition of various effects including reverb, delay, compression, phasing and distortion.  Production skills development includes equalization and achieving spectral balance, the use of compression and dynamic range control, achieving depth and dimension in recordings, panning and auditory scene control.  (AME 192)


MUSC 193      Computer Sound Design.

The course is intended to provide students a basic understanding of sound design, audio recording, and working with sound for picture.  The emphasis is on demonstrations and hands-on experience to enable students to gain a practical knowledge of sound and music production using computers.  Fundamental topics include synthesizers & samplers; recording and editing with Pro Tools; sound effect creation; field recording; foley & ADR; basic soundtrack composition; and working to picture.  Many techniques are explored using hardware, software, and state of the art workstations throughout the course.  Students will complete a major sound for picture project at the conclusion of the course.  (AME 193)


MUSC 194      Audio for Visual Media.

This course is intended to provide students with a basic understanding of the process and the skills for creating music for picture.  The course emphasizes hands-on experience where students gain practical skills in scoring to picture using computers and it features guest lectures by industry leading professionals, who will share their insights on creating music for TV Shows, Advertising, Movies, Gaming, Animation, and Industrial Work.  Topics also include soft synthesizers, samplers and virtual instruments; recording and editing with Pro Tools and Logic; and sound design on audio workstations.  Students will complete a number of projects throughout the course.  (AME 194)


MUSC 201        Basic Jazz Theory & Improv I.

Rudiments of jazz, including chord and scale spellings, chord scale relationships, jazz/pop chord symbol nomenclature, basic forms, chord substitutions, piano voicing; strong emphasis on ear training and vocalization and transcription from records of jazz solos.

Prerequisite: MUSC 111 or permission of the instructor.  (Fall only)  (2 credits)


MUSC 202      Basic Jazz Theory & Improv II.

Continuation of MUSC 201.

Prerequisite: MUSC 201 or permission of the instructor.  (Spring only)  (2 credits)


MUSC 203      Susan B. Anthony and Her World.

The course provides an in-depth study of Susan B. Anthony and the world in which she lived. In addition to focusing on the major political issues that occupied Anthony and her coworkers—women’s rights, abolition, and temperance – the class will explore the social and cultural world of America during the century between Anthony’s birth (1820) and the adoption of the 19th Amendment (1920), with special emphasis on American musical life during this time.  The seminar-style course will incorporate in-class presentations and discussion, field trips, and writing assignments ranging from short response papers to a final research paper.

No prerequisite.  Humanities/writing intensive.


MUSC 204      Carillon.

Private carillon instruction, weekly 60-minute lessons.

By audition only.  Permission of instructor required.  (4 credits)


MUSC 205      Music in New Worlds: Global Encounters in the Age of Discoveries, 1492—1800.

After 1492, Europeans and other peoples around the globe began to discover each other in new ways, and music played a vital role in their encounters. This course equips students to develop a global perspective on music in the early modern era.  Through case studies in Latin America, New England, China, and Africa, students will gain insight into the ways people use music as an agent of political and religious power in processes of cultural exchange and conflict.  The course examines how missionaries and colonial leaders mixed musical cultures to build new social structures; and how colonial subjects responded creatively, in collaboration or resistance, to shape hybrid identities.  We will study musical practices from both sides of the encounters, including Chinese and Native American musics and exported European practices like religious choral music and popular dances.  Meets in the Robbins Library or hands-on engagement with rare books and manuscripts.

No prior musical knowledge is required.


MUSC 210      Ngoma: Drumming, Dance, and Ritual in Southern Africa.

Throughout much of Southern Africa, the word “ngoma” means drum.  It also refers to specific musical styles that combine drumming, dance, and song.  Finally, there is often a ritual dimension to ngoma, which is used in ceremonies focused around individual and social healing.  In this class, students will bring ngoma alive by learning to perform various Zimbabwean ngoma genres, with the option of specializing in either drumming or dance.  Through video clips, audio recordings, photos, and articles, we will also learn to understand ngoma within a larger cultural framework.


MUSC 211      Theory III.

Continuation of MUSC 112.  Focuses on analysis of large forms, such as sonata, rondo, and song forms.  Includes advanced study of chromatic harmony and modulation to remote keys.

Prerequisite: MUSC 112.  (Fall only)


MUSC 212      Theory IV.

Continuation of MUSC 211.  Explores the theoretical and aesthetic principles of twentieth-century music, especially in relation to earlier compositional procedures. Introduces basic post-tonal theory, including set-class analysis, transformational theory, and serial techniques.

Prerequisite: MUSC 211.  (Spring only)


MUSC 214B    Topics in Music Theory: Analysis of Popular Music.

Many people love pop music for its simplicity, but this course will reveal that pop music can often be surprisingly complex in the ways it projects structure and creates musical relationships.  Many dimensions of pop music will be analyzed, including harmony, melody, rhythm and meter, texture, form, recording technique, and text-music relationships.

Prerequisites: MUSC 112.


MUSC 216      Form in Popular Music.

This musical analysis course will examine the use of form in American and British popular music of the 20th century.  Examples will be drawn from Tin Pan Alley, stage and film musicals, country, folk, blues, jazz, r & b, rock, and hip hop.

Prerequisite: MUSC 112 or its equivalent.


MUSC 218      Music and Religion.

This course equips students to understand how and why people use singing, playing, and dancing to connect human society to supernatural sources of power.  The course is not a comprehensive survey of either music or religion, but instead focuses on case studies that reveal how people in diverse religious traditions across the globe and through history have incorporated music into their beliefs and ritual practices, or how in many cases they have struggled against the dangerous powers of music.  We will pay special attention to music's role in inter-religious encounters, such as in colonial and missionary contexts.  Musical practices studied include chanting, devotional song, South Indian and European Classical music (such as Bach and Messiaen), and contemporary evangelical worship.


MUSC 221      History of Western Music to 1600.

Survey of Western classical music through 1600, including the investigation of style, genre, transmission, contemporary theory, patronage, cultural context and meaning, etc.  Workshops deal with topics such as transcription and performance practice.

Prerequisite: Completion of or current enrollment in MUSC 111.  For sophomores and above.  (Fall)  (4 credits)


MUSC 222      History of Western Music ca. 1600 through 1750.

Survey of Western classical music from ca. 1600 to the mid-eighteenth century, with emphasis on the stylistic, generic, and performance innovations of the period; opera receives special attention.  Workshops investigate specific problems posed by notation, performance, ethics, and so on.

Prerequisite: MUSC 221, completion or current enrollment in MUSC 112.  (Spring)  (4 credits)


MUSC 223      History of Western Music 1750-1850.

The history of western art music from approximately 1730-1850, with an emphasis on analysis of the masterpieces of tonal music and their relationship to society and other arts.  Lectures with extensive listening, reading, and analysis.

Prerequisite: MUSC 222, MUSC 212.  (Fall) (4 credits)


MUSC 224      History of Western Music: 1850-Present.

The history of western art music from approximately 1850 through the present, with an emphasis on the changing meaning of "New Music" and its role in society.  Analysis of post-Wagnerian tonal music and non-tonal alternatives.  Lectures, with extensive listening and reading, as well as analytical assignments.

Prerequisite: MUSC 223, MUSC 212.  (Spring)  (4 credits)


MUSC 233      Advanced Musical Theater Workshop.

Continuation of MUSC 133.

Prerequisite: MUSC 133 and permission of the instructor.  (Spring only)


MUSC 234/434 Music Analysis: The Beatles.

This course is designed for upper-level undergraduate music majors and graduate students in music.  We will analyze the music of the Beatles in detail, focusing on issues of form, harmony, textural coordination/stratification, lyrics, instrumentation, rhythm/meter, and production.

River Campus students should have completed MUSC 211, and Eastman students have completed TH 201.

Prerequisite: MUSC 211, TH 201, or the equivalent.


MUSC 235/435 Progressive Rock in the 1970s.

This seminar course is designed for graduate and advanced undergraduate students in music who have a strong background in music history and music analysis.  We will closely examine the music of the progressive rock bands of the 1970s, with emphasis on Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Emerson Lake & Palmer, and Gentle Giant.  Students will transcribe passages, closely analyze the music, and consider the music in terms of issues of form, texture, harmony, melody, instrumentation, as well in relation to a variety of music-historical and aesthetic contexts.

By permission of instructor only.  (Fall or Spring)


MUSC 236/436 Music, Ethnography, and HIV/AIDS.

Addressing the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS in the United States, United Kingdom, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Haiti, and elsewhere, this uniquely interdisciplinary course will incorporate insights from the fields of public health, medical anthropology, and ethnomusicology.  Studying the HIV/AIDS epidemic through the lens of musical expression, we will ask how individuals and communities affected by HIV/AIDS have mobilized musical sound in response to the disease.  Topics addressed within the class will include musical representations of HIV/AIDS within queer communities; the use of music in public health campaigns to raise awareness about the disease; and the mobilization of musical performance within grassroots support groups for individuals affected by HIV/AIDS.

Instructor permission required to join course.  Please describe your interest in studying music, ethnography, and HIV/AIDS, as well as any relevant coursework you have completed music, anthropology, public health, African Studies, gender studies, or any other related field.


MUSC 240      Revolutions in Sound: Artistic and Technical Evolution of Sound Recording.

This course provides a multifaceted account of the evolution of sound technologies, starting with Edison’s invention of the phonograph in 1877 through the development of microphones, radio, magnetic tape recording, vinyl records, multi-track recording, digital audio, compact discs, the MP3 format, surround sound, online music streaming, and 3D audio.  We will discuss how technology has shaped the musical experience, and, conversely, how the performance of various genres of music, including classical, rock, jazz, hip-hop, and country, has influenced the development of audio technologies.  We will also investigate, drawing from a variety of primary and secondary sources, how certain legendary recordings were produced, including those of Enrico Caruso, Bessie Smith, Les Paul, Louis Armstrong, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, and Madonna.  A special topic focuses on spatial audio for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), binaural recording, and ambisonics.  (AME 240)


MUSC 281/481 Music Analysis: Hollywood Musicals.

This course is designed for upper-level undergraduate music majors and graduate students in music. We will analyze the music of Hollywood movie musicals in detail, focusing on issues of form, harmony, lyrics, and character/story in the historical context of American popular music in the 20th century.  Songwriters studied will include Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Alan Menken and others.

Prerequisite: MUSC 211, TH 201, or the equivalent.


Ensembles            (Note: Audition required for most ensembles)


MUSC 150      Women’s Chorus.

The Women's Glee Club, a group of students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members, performs a wide variety of music.  Joint concerts with the Men's Glee Club and various instrumental groups within the college are regularly programmed.

To join, simply register for the class.  Auditions will be held during the first class.  (Fall and Spring)  (1 credit)


MUSC 152      Chamber Singers.

A mixed ensemble of 16-20 members that performs a wide variety of choral repertoire from the Renaissance to the present.

By audition only. Auditions are held each semester  Fall and Spring)  (1 credit)


MUSC 153      Symphony Orchestra.

URSO (University of Rochester Symphony Orchestra) is a university-civic orchestra whose members are selected from both UR student body and greater Rochester community.  The orchestra has been a vital part of Rochester's cultural community for over 52 years.

Membership is granted by the music director through auditions, which occur prior to the first scheduled rehearsal of each season.  Other auditions may be held as needed throughout the season. Visit the Music Department website for more info.  (Fall and Spring)  (1 credit)


MUSC 154      Chamber Orchestra.

URCO (University of Rochester Chamber Orchestra) draws its membership primarily from UR's River Campus student body.

Membership is limited and is granted by the music director through competitive auditions, which occur prior to the first scheduled rehearsal of each season.  Auditions may be held as needed during the academic year.  Additional info  on music dept website/ensembles  (Fall and Spring)  (1 credit)


MUSC 155      Chamber Ensembles.

The chamber music program facilitates formation and coaching of serious advanced chamber ensembles.

Admission by permission of the Director.  (Fall and Spring)  (1 credit)


MUSC 156      Wind Symphony.

Wind Symphony draws its membership primarily from the student body on River Campus and performs music of various styles, genres, and eras.

Membership by audition only. One rehearsal per week; Expected individual practice.  At least four concerts per academic year.  May also be some off-campus performances locally and on tour.  Attendance required at all rehearsals, dress rehearsals, and concerts, unless excused in advance by conductor.  (Fall and Spring)  (1 credit)


MUSC 157      Jazz Ensemble.

The Jazz Ensemble is open by audition to all U of R community, performing a wide variety of music.  Occasional guests artists and clinicians.  (Fall and Spring)  (1 credit)


MUSC 157A    Jazz Combo.

Small group playing of selections from the jazz repertoire, with an emphasis on improvisation.

Admission is by permission of instructor only.  (Fall and Spring) (1 credits)


MUSC 158      Gospel Choir.

One rehearsal per week.  Two concerts per semester.  In addition, there may be off-campus performances in local colleges, churches, and other venues in the greater-Rochester community.  The Gospel Choir performs a varied repertoire of sacred music - spirituals, hymns, traditional and contemporary Gospel, music of the praise-and-worship genre.  Students may register for credit or simply sing as choir participants.  (Fall and Spring)  (1 credit)


MUSC 159      Gamelan Ensemble.

The Eastman Gamelan  performs traditional ceremonial music and new-style music (keybar) from Bali and also new compositions for Gamelan.  (Fall and Spring)  (1 credit)


MUSC 160      Concert Choir.

A mixed ensemble of voices that performs a wide variety of choral repertoire for large chorus, including regular performances with orchestra.

An informal voicing is required for all potential members; students must demonstrate the ability to sing in tune and read music.

Prerequisite: Auditions are held each semester.


MUSC 165      Mbira Ensemble.

Mbira Ensemble The Eastman Mbira Ensemble provides a hands-on introduction to the ancient and sophisticated musical tradition of the Shona mbira of Zimbabwe.  Visiting Zimbabwean guest artists will also offer students the opportunity to delve more deeply into traditional musical practices and their cultural and spiritual context.  Songs are taught aurally so no musical experience or training is required.  May be repeated for credit.  (Fall and Spring)  (1 credit)


MUSC 168      West African Drumming Intro.

Led by Master Drummer Fana Bangoura, the West African Drumming Ensemble is dedicated to the dynamic percussive traditions of Guinea. The ensemble combines the iconic djembe hand drum with a trio of drums played with sticks, known as dunun, sangban, and kenkeni.  The powerful, multi-part relationships established by this trio of drums provide a rhythmic foundation for the ensemble, enabling djembe players to develop technique in executing both accompaniment and solo parts.  Drawing upon his experience as a soloist with the internationally acclaimed groups Les Percussions de Guinée and Les Ballets Africains, Fana engages ensemble players with a wide repertory of music from various regions of Guinea, including the rhythms of the Susu, Malinke, and Baga language groups.  (Fall and Spring)  (1 credit)


MUSC 170      Brass Choir.

Brass Choir is a 15-20 member ensemble dedicated to performing quality brass music at a high level while fostering a spirit of community among brass players on the RC.  Open to experienced trumpet, horn, trombone, euphonium, and tuba players.  (Fall and Spring)  (1 credit)



MUSC 180      Rock Repertory Ensemble.

The Rock Repertory Ensemble is devoted to performing accurate versions of songs from the rock music repertory, with selections ranging from the early 1950s to the present day.  The class is open to guitarists, bassists, drummers, keyboard players, and singers, with consideration given to winds players depending on repertory for a given semester.

Students must audition for the RRE at the beginning of each term; a sign-up sheet will be posted in the Music Department.  (Fall and Spring)  (1 credit)


MUSC 184      Sansifanyi: West African Dance & Drum Ensemble.

Sansifanyi is an ensemble that provides various performance opportunities both on and off-campus for intermediate and advanced students of African dance & drumming.  Instructor Kerfala Bangoura trains ensemble members in a performance style that integrates dance, drumming, vocal song, and narrative elements.  Dancers who enroll in Sansifanyi will learn choreographic techniques for West African dance and gain experience dancing as soloists.  Dancers will also learn focus on rhythmic timing and on drumming while dancing.  Drummers enrolled in Sansifanyi will learn extended percussion arrangements and techniques for accompanying choreography.  They will also learn how to play the breaks required of lead drummers.

Prerequisites: For Drummers one of the following: MUSC168A, MUSC168B, MUSC146 OR to audition, email For Dance, one of the following: DAN181&182, DAN 283, DAN 253, DAN 285.

This course will run simultaneously with DAN 184.  (Fall and Spring)  (1 credit)

Courses by term:

Check the course schedules/descriptions available via the Registrar's Office for the official schedules for the widest range of terms for which such information is available.



MUSC 000
MUSC 100
MUSC 101
MUSC 104
MUSC 109
MUSC 110
MUSC 111
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MUSC 114
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MUSC 168
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MUSC 191
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MUSC 468
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