Music

Requirements

MAJOR: MAJOR: Music Theory and Musicianship: 3 courses, 12 units (Music 151, 251). Music History and Culture: 4 courses, 16 units (Music 261, 263, one 200- or 300- level non-Western or popular music course (280, 285,  385, or 386), and one additional course numbered 200 or higher, chosen in consultation with your Mmusic advisor). One 300- level writing intensive course taken in the junior year and Music 490: 2 courses, 8 units. Senior Seminars: 2 courses, 6 units (Music 390, 490). Electives: 2 courses numbered 200 or higher, 8 units chosen in consultation with your Music advisor. Applied Study: 2 units (MUSA 100-105 and Music 139, MUSA 201-206). Ensemble: 2 units (Music 120-129).

The following course clusters are intended as guides for students interested in pursuing an emphasis in performance or in composition in their last two years at the College. Students interested in music history, ethnomusicology, theory and analysis, or critical studies in music and culture will consult with their departmental advisor to craft and execute an appropriate plan of study.

Students interested in vocal performance:
Private applied study each semester in residence
Ensemble participation each semester in residence
Two years of French, Spanish, or German
MUSC 115 (Topics in Opera)
MUSC 257 (Composition I)
MUSC 260 (Western Music and Culture: Chant to 1600)
MUSC 262 (Western Music and Culture: 1789-1914)
MUSC 285, 385 (Topics in the Critical Study of Music)

Students interested in instrumental performance:
Private applied study each semester in residence
Ensemble participation each semester in residence
MUSC 257 (Composition I)
MUSC 262 (Western Music and Culture: 1789-1914)
MUSC 272 and/or 273 (Instrumental Conducting, Choral Conducting)
MUSC 285, 385 (Topics in the Critical Study of Music)

Students interested in composition:
Private applied study each semester in residence
Ensemble participation each semester in residence
MUSC 257, MUSC 357 (Composition I and II)
MUSC 130, 230 (Electronic Music, Advanced Electronic Music)
MUSC 262 (Western Music and Culture: 1789-1914)
MUSC 272 and/or 273 (Instrumental Conducting, Choral Conducting)
MUSC 285, 385 (Topics in the Critical Study of Music)

COMPREHENSIVE REQUIREMENT: Senior music majors complete a senior project related to the student's area of interest. All senior projects involve both a written and an oral component. Each component is graded High Pass (HP), Pass (P), or Fail (F). A final grade of Pass with Distinction (PD) on the senior comprehensive will be awarded if all components (written, aural, and performance, if applicable) are graded High Pass.

In the Fall semester of their junior year, students submit a proposal for their senior project to the Music Department faculty for approval. Students with a particular interest in music history, ethnomusicology, theory and analysis, or critical studies in music and culture will propose a senior thesis of 25 or more pages in length. Students with a particular interest in composition will prepare a portfolio of original compositions, including both acoustic and electro-acoustic music, some of which will be presented in a composition recital during the senior year. Composers will write an argument-driven analytic paper of 10 pages or more in length, focusing on the work of a composer whose work has influenced their styles. Students with a demonstrated ability in performance or conducting will propose a junior and a senior recital, and will write an argument-driven analytic paper of 10 pages or more in length oon a piece or pieces of music on the senior recital. Students with other specific musical interests will complete a project designed with their advisor.

All seniors will present their work in a public forum during the spring semester. If, one month in advance of a scheduled senior recital date or thesis presentation/submission, the Music faculty determine that the senior has not sufficiently prepared to complete the project in time, the senior must take a written examination in lieu of the recital or thesis submission/presentation in order to fulfill the senior comprehensive requirement. The faculty will supply questions drawn from the material of that senior’s course of music study at Occidental. The examination must be completed by the end of the final examinations week of that semester and receive a grade of B-minus or better in order to fulfill the requirement. The examination may be retaken up to two times and after that semester, at a mutually agree-upon date and time. No two examinations will be alike.

MINOR:

Emphasis in Performance: 20 units, including MUSC 151 and 250, one course from MUSC 261 or 262, and four semesters each of applied music study and ensemble participation.

Emphasis in Ethnomusicology: 20 units, including Music 150, one course from Music 102-105 and 111, one 200- or 300-level non-Western or popular music course (280, 285, 385 or 386), and two additional courses at or above the 200-level agreed upon with your Music advisor. These two courses must be related to ethnomusicological approaches and methodologies – courses in sociology, cognitive science, psychology, and linguistics, for example, may be appropriate.

Emphasis in Music History: 20 units, including Music 151 and 250; 261; then either two from 260, 262, 263, OR one from 260, 262, 263 and one music-history elective 200-level or above, agreed upon with your Music advisor.

Emphasis in Music Theory: 20 units, including Music 151, 250, 251; 261; one 200+ elective from Composition, Conducting, Topics in Advanced Analysis, or other course agreed upon with your advisor.

Emphasis in Composition and Media: 20 units, including Music 151 and 250, 257, 130 and 230, one semester of applied music study or ensemble participation, and one additional course at or above the 200-level agreed upon with your Music advisor. This course may be taken outside the Music Department: Sound Design for Theater, Film, and Multimedia (THEA 248), or Sound Theory and Design (ARTM 240), for example. MUSC 117 would also be a good choice for an additional course.

WRITING REQUIREMENT: Students majoring in Music will satisfy the final component of Occidental College's college-wide writing requirement by successfully completing a writing-intensive 300 level course in the junior year with a grade of B- or better and receiving a notation of "Satisfactory" for its writing component. Students not achieving a "satisfactory" notation by either of these means will be required to undertake additional coursework in academic writing during the final two semesters of study. Students should familiarize themselves with the departmental requirement at the time of declaring the major. See the Writing Program for additional information.

HONORS: Students who have achieved at least a 3.25 average in their music courses and have demonstrated exceptional potential in performance, composition, music history or theory may apply for the Honors Program at the beginning of their junior year. For information about the Honors Program, students should consult with their Music Department faculty advisor. See the Honors Program for additional information.

AWARDS: The Elinor Remick Warren Award is presented for the most outstanding student composition. The Peters Prize is awarded to the student who has done the most to promote music on the Occidental campus. The James F. English and Marie E. English Award is given to the most promising vocal student, and is used for one year of private vocal study at Occidental College. The Marcia Hannah Farmer Award is given to a vocal student and is applied toward private vocal study at Occidental College.

MUSIC THEORY PLACEMENT: A Music Theory placement examination is given during Orientation each Fall. All Music students will begin their Music Theory and Musicianship study in one of three ways: by taking MUSC 101 (no prior experience with music fundamentals), MUSC 150 (some experience with music fundamentals, and intent to continue with the Music Theory sequence), or MUSC 151 (an AP Music Theory score of 4 or 5 or significant prior work in Music Theory).