Courses of Study 2019-2020 
    May 21, 2024  
Courses of Study 2019-2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


In the College of Arts and Sciences .

Course Offerings  


A. Richards, chair; K. Ernste (Fall 2019), S. Pond (Spring 2020), director of undergraduate studies; B. Piekut, director of graduate studies; C. Appert, X. Bjerken, B. Boettcher, M. Gotham, J. Haines-Eitzen, R. Harris-Warrick, A. Hicks, R. Isaacs, K. Kilburn, A. Kim, C. Kim, A. Lewandowski, A. Madrid, E. Marshall, P. Merrill, C. Miller, R. Moseley, M. Papalexandri Alexandri, P. Pastore, J. Pepinsky, J. Peraino, R. Sierra, M. Sparhuber, J. Spinazzola, S. Spinelli, L. Tayeb, M. Yampolsky, D. Yearsley, N. Zaslaw. Emeritus: M. Bilson, A. Groos, M. Hatch, S. Monosoff, D. Randel, D. Rosen, S. Tucker, J. Webster


Musical Performance and Concerts:

Musical performance is an integral part of Cornell’s cultural life and an essential part of its undergraduate academic programs in music. The department encourages music-making through its offerings in individual instruction and through musical organizations and ensembles that are directed and trained by members of the faculty. Students from all colleges and departments of the university join with music majors and minors in all of these ensembles:

Vocal ensembles
  Chamber Singers
  Glee Club
Instrumental ensembles
Brazilian Ensemble Dexia Sambar
  Chamber Flute
  Chamber Music Ensembles
  Chamber Orchestra
  Cornell Hip-Hop Collective
  Gamelan Ensemble
  Performing Chamber Wind Music
  Jazz Band
  Jazz Combos
  Music Improvisation Ensemble
  Percussion Group
  Steel Band
  Symphony Orchestra
  Wind Symphony

Information about requirements and conditions for academic credit can be found in the following listings for the Department of Music. Announcements of auditions are posted on our the Department of Music website during registration each fall semester and, where appropriate, each spring semester as well.

The university is also home to many student-run musical organizations not affiliated with the Department of Music, including the Big Red Marching Band and Big Red Pep Band, and several a cappella groups. Information is available directly from each group.

The Department of Music and the Faculty Committee on Music sponsor more than 140 formal and informal concerts each year by Cornell’s ensembles, faculty, and students and by distinguished visiting artists. The great majority of these concerts are free and open to the public. Lectures and concerts are listed at Additional information is available through the events office (607-255-4760).

The Major:

The Music major carries the study of music to an advanced level through the integration of scholarship and performance, involving close engagement with the creation and reception of music across an array of historical, theoretical, and cultural contexts. It is designed to accommodate both students who are oriented toward eventual graduate or professional work in music and those who wish to take a more general approach, often in conjunction with a major in another department.

Incoming students who intend to major in music should schedule a Pre-Major Advising Consultation during Orientation Week by signing up at the Arts & Science Open House or by emailing the Director of Undergraduate Studies. At this consultation, students will discuss their musical background and demonstrate their level of experience with theory and performance.

Students who decide to pursue the music major after their Freshman Year should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies to devise a program of study.

We recommend, but do not require, students to enroll in  MUSIC 1101 - Elements of Music  in the fall semester of their Freshman Year. This course introduces students to the range of concepts and issues in the field of music, and familiarizes students with many members of our faculty.

Potential majors should enroll in  MUSIC 2201 - Introduction to Music Studies  in the Spring, which is a required course for the major.

MUSIC 2101 - Theory, Materials and Techniques I  and  MUSIC 2102 - Theory, Materials and Techniques II  form a two-semester sequence that will generally be taken in the Sophomore Year. Potential majors should also attend the first meeting of MUSIC 2101  in the Fall semester, when a music theory diagnostic exam will be administered. This will indicate whether students should proceed with MUSIC 2101 , which is required for the major, or switch into MUSIC 1105 , in which case they should plan to take MUSIC 2101  in Fall 2020.

Students in the College of Arts and Sciences usually declare their majors during their sophomore year. Prerequisites for admission to the major are completion of  MUSIC 2101 - Theory, Materials and Techniques I  and  MUSIC 2201 - Introduction to Music Studies  with an overall grade of B or better in each course. In consultation with the director of undergraduate studies, students are expected to have chosen an advisor from among the department faculty before acceptance into the major, which is decided by the faculty as a whole. Once admitted to the major, students design their program of study with their advisor.

Music majors must complete the Core Curriculum plus at least two electives. The electives allow students to focus in diverse areas, such as composition, performance, jazz studies, Western art music, Asian music, vernacular musics, etc. Elective courses are generally numbered 3000-4000 and are 4 credits. A selection of 1000-2000 courses can be enhanced with additional content and an extra credit by combining the course with MUSIC 3901 - Supplemental Study in Music : students should consult the relevant instructor for information on this option’s availability and the extra work it entails. Students intending to pursue graduate study or professional work in music should consult with their advisors about taking further advanced courses in addition to the two required electives.

Prerequisite Requirements:

The following courses are pre-requisites for the major. A grade of B or better in needed to qualify.

Core Curriculum Requirements:

Majors are expected to meet the following curriculum requirements with a grade of C or better:

1. General Requirements

2. Materials & Techniques

4. Collaborative Performance

Two semesters of Collaborative Performance in a musical organization or ensemble is required. If the organization or ensemble is not sponsored by the Department of Music, participation must be registered and overseen via a 1-credit independent study with a faculty member. (Courses are typically numbered 3601-3660 and 4601-4651.)

5. Electives

In addition to the above required courses, majors must take either one further 3000 or 4000-level elective (History & Culture, Materials & Techniques, or a suitable course cross-listed in another department), or 4 credits of Individual Instruction (MUSIC 3511 MUSIC 3512 , MUSIC 3513 , MUSIC 3514   and/or MUSIC 4501 ).

When to Take Courses:

A form is kept in the department office through which music majors and their advisors keep track of the student’s progress through the music curriculum. The ideal sequence of required classroom courses for a music major would be as follows:

Freshman Year: 1000/2000-level H&C or M&T course (preferably MUSIC 1101  in the Fall); MUSIC 2201  in the Spring

Sophomore Year: MUSIC 2101  (Fall); MUSIC 2102  (Spring); MUSIC 2207 , or MUSIC 2208 , or MUSIC 2209 

Junior Year: MUSIC 3211 ; one 3000/4000 H&C or M&T

Senior Year: Remaining 3000/4000 H&C or M&T; additional 3000/4000 elective (if student does not take 4 credits of Individual Instruction)


Any year: Collaborative Performance (at least two semesters)

Aside from this particular sequence, there are many paths though the Music Major. Students should discuss the possibilities with their advisors or the Director of Undergraduate Studies.


The honors program in music is intended to provide special distinction for the department’s ablest undergraduate majors. Students who have maintained a GPA of 3.5 in the major, and an average of 3.0 in all courses, may apply to work for music honors in the second semester of their junior year (the deadline is April 1). The music faculty will review the applications and inform applicants if their application is successful. As soon as possible thereafter, but no later than the first day of their senior year, the student forms a committee of three or more faculty members to guide and evaluate the honors work.

In their senior year, candidates enroll in MUSIC 4911 -MUSIC 4912 , with the chair of the honors committee as instructor.

Candidates are encouraged to formulate programs that allow them to demonstrate their musical and scholarly abilities, culminating in an honors thesis, composition, or recital, to be presented not later than April 1 of the senior year. An oral examination on the honors project will be administered by the candidate’s committee not later than April 20. The level of honors conferred is based primarily on the candidate’s performance in the honors program, and secondarily on the candidate’s overall record in departmental courses and activities.

Honors Symposium

In years where there are at least two May degree students working on honors theses, the Department will hold an honors symposium during spring semester. Each honors student will present his or her project for 20 minutes. Thesis writers may read a paper and show some visuals; students doing a performance project will also make a verbal presentation, bringing in the analytical component of their thesis.


Interested and eligible students should send an e-mail including the description of a proposed project (no longer than 300 words) to the Department of Music’s Director of Undergraduate Studies via the Music Undergraduate Coordinator, Fumi Nagasaki-Pracel ( by April 1 of their junior year.


In addition to its performing, instructional, and concert activities, the department offers numerous courses for nonmajors, many of which carry no prerequisites and presuppose no previous formal training in music. Consult the following course listings, and for further information consult the Director of Undergraduate Studies or the department office, 101 Lincoln Hall (607-255-4097).

The Minor:

Admission to the minor must be declared no later than the second semester of the junior year.


To apply:

  • Obtain a “Music Minor Application” from the Department of Music, 101 Lincoln Hall.
  • Based on your interests, select and obtain the agreement of a faculty member who is willing to serve as the minor advisor. Have your intended advisor sign the minor application form.
  • Schedule an appointment with the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Bring the completed form to the appointment along with a copy of your current Cornell transcript. The informal transcript you regularly receive is acceptable.
  • Return the approved form to the Department of Music, 101 Lincoln Hall

After the start of the seventh semester, admission is by petition only. Such students should attach a statement outlining their credentials and reasons for wishing to pursue a minor in Music.

All students must submit an exit statement to the advisor and the DUS articulating the intellectual interests that were developed by work done for the minor and how his or her program of musical studies reflects a coherent learning agenda.

Those enrolled in the Music minor are considered members of the Music department and are encouraged to participate in all program activities.

The following courses are required to fulfill the undergraduate minor in Music:

1. Theory, Materials, and Techniques (3-5 credits)

At least one three to five credit course in the category of Theory, Materials, and Techniques.

2. History and Culture (3-4 credits)

At least one three to four credit course in the category of History and Culture.

3. Performance (3 credits)

At least three credits of courses in the category of Collaborative Performance and/or Individual Instruction. At least two credits must come from Collaborative Performance courses. Students may earn the remaining credit from a course in either category.

4. Electives (8 credits)

Eight credits from any other Theory, Materials, and Techniques, History and Culture, or Collaborative Performance courses.  A maximum of five of these credits may be earned from Collaborative Performance courses.

Computing in the Arts Undergraduate Minor:

A minor in Computing in the Arts with an emphasis on music is available both to music majors and to students majoring in other subjects. For more information, please consult, or contact the director, Professor Graeme Bailey.


Music Library. The Sidney Cox Library of Music and Dance in Lincoln Hall has an excellent collection containing periodicals, books, scores, parts, sound and video recordings, microforms, rare materials, and electronic resources. Its depth and breadth serve the needs of a wide variety of users on the campus and its listening and video viewing facilities are open to all members of the Cornell community.

Concert Halls. The Department of Music sponsors more than 140 concerts annually. Cornell’s principal concert halls are Bailey Hall Auditorium (about 1,400 seats), Sage Chapel (about 800), and Barnes Hall Auditorium (about 280).

Rehearsal Spaces and Practice Rooms. Departmental ensembles rehearse primarily in Lincoln Hall, Bailey Hall, Barnes Hall, and Sage Chapel. Twenty-six studios in Lincoln Hall are available for individual practice by pianists, vocalists, and instrumentalists who are members of the Cornell community. Of these, seven have grand pianos, five have upright pianos, and one has percussion instruments.

For information about access to the practice rooms, see or contact the department office.

Instruments. Six concert grand pianos are available for performances in the various concert halls, plus several historical keyboard instruments, including fortepianos, harpsichords, and clavichords. Four distinctive organs are available to qualified individuals for lessons and practice. In addition, the music department owns a limited number of string, wind, and percussion instruments that may be used by members of the department’s ensembles.

Cornell Electroacoustic Music Center (CEMC). The Cornell Electroacoustic Music Center comprises three project studios, a 14-workstation teaching lab in the Music Library, and a primary multichannel studio. Several live performance and recording rigs are also available, from hand-held to solid state. A combination of commercial and open-source software solutions service an array of student and faculty interests, including sound manipulation and sound specialization, live performance, multimedia, intelligent music systems (adaptive and algorithmic composition), music notation, sound art and experimentation, and high-resolution recording. The center operates its own web server with space for web hosting, data backup, and remote login. CEMC’s facilities are state-of-the-art and can accommodate almost any creative inclination.