Selecting Courses

Fall Courses

100-01  Rudiments of Music  MWF 9:00-9:50
In this half-semester course students will become familiar with the elements of music notation (staves, clefs, pitch names, note and rest values) and with some of the basic skills necessary for college-level music instruction (e.g., construction and identification of scales, intervals, triads, and basic diatonic functions).
Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
L. Schipull
Notes: Meets for only the first half of the semester

102 Music and Technology  MW 1:15-2:30
It is now possible to record, manipulate, notate, and compose music with a variety of powerful and flexible tools using the personal computer. This course will focus on hands-on experience with various sorts of music software, including recording and editing, mixing, synthesis and midi interfaces, notation, and various instructional programs. In the process of experimenting with these tools and operating on their favorite musical styles, students will learn a good bit of notation, ear training, and rudimentary principles of arrangement and composition. Basic computer literacy (such as comfort with basic editing commands and the concept of keyboard shortcuts) is required.
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
T. Ciufo

131-01  Basic Musicianship  MTWThF 9:00-9:50
Explores the ways in which sound is organized into musical structures. Topics include the physical properties of sound; the basic vocabulary of Western music (scales, key signatures, intervals, triads, rhythm, meter); and an introduction to musical form and analysis. Includes extensive practice in music reading, sight singing, ear training, and critical listening.
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
L. Schipull
Coreq: MUSIC-131L.

FYSEM 110-01 Adventures in Music:  TuTh 10:00AM - 11:15AM
Designed for students with or without prior musical experience, 'Adventures in Music' explores the materials of music. Through reading, hands-on interaction with instruments and their players, discussions and recordings, students will explore concepts of pitch, time, space, structure and timbre, thereby enriching their perception of the world of sound. The best way to access the indescribable in music is often to make music. With this in mind the class will embark in mini composition projects culminating in a final project that utilizes the knowledge acquired over the duration of the course.
T. Ng

FYSEM 110-01 Music in Women's Communities TTh 10:00-11:15
This course surveys music in a range of women’s, and womxn’s, communities and ensembles—from medieval convents and “all-girl” swing bands to Cuba’s Camerata Romeu and the Butterfly Music Transgender Chorus. Although the focus will be on Western art music, we will also encounter women’s music from Ghana and Bulgaria, and women’s rock/pop festivals and DJ collectives. Performers and conductors will visit the class, and we will learn about the history of music ensembles at the College.  You do not need to be a musician or know how to read music; listening across cultures and genres, we will contemplate the opportunities and challenges of womxn-only spaces for music in the twenty-first century.
A. Mueller

203 Sound Ecology and Sonic Art TTH 11:30-12:45
The field of acoustic ecology is particularly concerned with how we create, interpret and interact with the sounds around us and how imbalances in the soundscape may affect human health and the natural world. Through reading, discussion, listening sessions, independent research, and hands-on projects, we will examine the broad interdisciplinary fields of acoustic ecology and sonic art. We will engage historical, conceptual, and aesthetic aspects of sound as a cultural, environmental, and artistic medium, with an emphasis on listening, psychoacoustics, soundscape studies, field recording and soundscape composition. We will question predominate ideas regarding the relationships between location, environment, sound, silence, music, and noise, and test these ideas through individual and group research as well as hands-on sonic art projects.
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
T. Ciufo
Permission of the Instructor is required of all students who wish to register.

220 Music and Film  TTh 11:30-12:45
This course is for all who stay to the end of the credits, purchase soundtracks, and argue over who should have won the Oscar for Best Score, along with anyone else interested in the undervalued importance of music to the general effect of a motion picture. We will explore and discuss the myriad ways in which these two media interact. The course will focus on classic scores by Herrmann, Morricone, and Williams, as well as the uses of pre-existing music in films of Kubrick and Tarantino.
Crosslisted as: FLMST-220MU
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
D. Sanford
Prereq: MUSIC-100, MUSIC-102, MUSIC-103 or MUSIC-131.

232-01  Theory II  MTuWThF 10-10:50am
This course provides continued study of diatonic theory, including seventh chords in all inversions and an introduction to chromatic theory. Includes part writing, analysis, ear training, and keyboard harmony.
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
D. Sanford
Prereq: MUSIC-231.
Coreq: MUSIC-232L.

242 Conducting I  TTh2:40-3:55
Fundamentals of conducting: gestures, rehearsal techniques, study of representative short scores, and practice leading primarily choral ensembles. Videotaping, class recital.
Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
T. Ng
Prereq: MUSIC-231.

283-01 History of Western Music III:  TTh 1:15-2:30
The third in a three-semester survey of Western music history. Details to be announced.
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
A. Mueller
Writing-Intensive
Prereq: Music 100 or Music 131.

341 Conducting II  TTh 2:40-3:55
Conducting II builds on fundamentals of conducting from Music 242. The course will include gestural vocabulary, moving fluently between choral and instrumental conducting, introduction to keyboard realization of scores, relationship between interpretation and conducting, and rehearsal preparation. The conducting class forms the core of the ensemble for the class.
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
T. Ng
Prereq: MUSIC-242.

374 Advanced Seminar in Ethnomusicology  MW 1:15-2:30
Designed for music and non-music majors, this advanced seminar examines core theoretical and methodological issues in ethnomusicology and the debates that have shaped its practice since its origins in the early twentieth century as comparative musicology. Drawing on musical traditions from different parts of the world and supplemented by workshops conducted by visiting professional musicians, the course explores the interdisciplinary approaches that inform how ethnomusicologists study the significance of music "in" and "as" culture. Topics covered will include ethnographic methods, the intersection of musicological and anthropological perspectives, the political significance of musical hybridity, applied ethnomusicology, and sound studies.
Crosslisted as: ANTHR-316ET
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive

B. Omojola
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

Spring Courses

Spring 2018 Classes

100-01  Rudiments of Music MWF 9:00-9:50 Pratt Room 109
In this half-semester course students will become familiar with the elements of music notation (staves, clefs, pitch names, note and rest values) and with some of the basic skills necessary for college-level music instruction (e.g., construction and identification of scales, intervals, triads, and basic diatonic functions). Meets for only the first half of each semester.
D. Sanford

131-01  Basic Musicianship MTWThF 9:00-9:50  Pratt Room 109 (TTh Labs in Warbeke Room)
Explores the ways in which sound is organized into musical structures. Topics include the physical properties of sound; the basic vocabulary of Western music (scales, key signatures, intervals, triads, rhythm, meter); and an introduction to musical form and analysis. Includes extensive practice in music reading, sight singing, ear training, and critical listening.
Meets Humanities I-A requirement
D. Sanford

102 - Music and Technology  MW 1:15-2:30  Pratt Room 103
It is now possible to record, manipulate, notate, and compose music with a variety of powerful and flexible tools using the personal computer. This course will focus on hands-on experience with various sorts of music software, including recording and editing, mixing, synthesis and midi interfaces, notation, and various instructional programs. In the process of experimenting with these tools and operating on their favorite musical styles, students will learn a good bit of notation, ear training, and rudimentary principles of arrangement and composition. Basic computer literacy (such as comfort with basic editing commands and the concept of keyboard shortcuts) is required.   
T. Ciufo

103 - History of Jazz  TTh 11:30-12:45  Pratt Room 109
This course will follow the origins and evolution of jazz from the late nineteenth century to the present, with emphases on prominent stylistic trends and significant individuals. Along with some analysis of the musical language jazz employs, the music will be examined in its relation to the social contexts that helped produce and shape it. The ability to read music is not a requirement for this course.
Meets Humanities I-A requirement
D. Sanford

228 - African Opera  MW 1:15-2:30 Pratt Room 109
(Writing-intensive course; Theatre 215AF) In this course, African opera will provide the framework for exploring salient features of African music. The course will begin by examining a wide range of performance elements, including ensemble practice, the role of dance, and musical storytelling. The second part will feature practical sessions culminating in a public performance of an African  opera. Students will work with visiting and local musicians and choreographer. The practical sessions will afford students an opportunity to reflect on the theoretical issues examined earlier on in the semester, and gain practical knowledge of the African operatic tradition.
Meets multicultural requirement; meets Humanities I-A requirement
B. Omojola

231 - Theory I  MTWThF  10-10:50  Pratt Room 109 (TTh Labs in Pratt Warbeke Room)    
Studies two part counterpoint, four part harmony (part-writing, inversions, harmonization, figured bass and non-harmonic tones) and composition of simple period forms. Includes analysis, ear training, solfege, use of notation software and keyboard harmony.
Meets Humanities I-A requirement
L. Schipull
Prereq. Music 100 or 131

242/341 - Conducting I & II  TTh 2:40 - 3:55 Pratt Warbeke Room
Fundamentals of conducting: gestures, rehearsal techniques, study of representative short scores, and practice leading primarily choral ensembles. Videotaping, class recital.  Conducting II builds on fundamentals of conducting from Music 242. The course will include gestural vocabulary, moving fluently between choral and instrumental conducting, introduction to keyboard realization of scores, relationship between interpretation and conducting, and rehearsal preparation. The conducting class forms the core of the ensemble for the class.
T. Ng
Prereq. Music 231, ensemble experience

269 - Projects in Sound and Media Arts T 1:15-4:05  Pratt Room 103/104
This innovative arts and technology course will explore emerging creative practices that transcend any single medium or discipline. Class meetings will combine seminar-style discussions, hands-on lab sessions, brainstorming and project development, and critique sessions for feedback on student projects. Guest artists' visits will enhance students' exposure to sound and media arts practitioners. While sound will be a primary focus of the course, students will design and realize projects that might also include still or moving images, text, spoken word, graphics, computational elements, interactivity, performance, etc. At least one project will be collaborative and involve multiple mediums.
Meets Humanities I-A requirement

T. Ciufo
Permission of Instructor

282 - History II  TTh  1:15-2:30 Pratt Room 109
(Writing Intensive) The second in a three-semester survey of Western music history, Music 282 examines the cultures of art music in Europe and the Americas from 1700-1900, focusing on the evolution of styles and genres and the changing roles of composers, performers, and audiences.
Meets Humanities I-A requirement
A. Mueller
Prereq: MUSIC-100 or MUSIC-131

321 - Art, Music and the Brain  1:15-4:05 Pratt Warbeke Room
(PSYCH-349AM) Art and music are a part of all human cultures. Is there something about the human brain that drives us to paint and sing? We will examine how the brain simultaneously processes different aspects of visual and auditory stimuli, ask how this processing may affect the way we do art and music, and explore where these phenomena may occur in the brain. As we engage in discussion and hands-on activities, we will discover the commonalities between the arts and the sciences including practice, experimentation, exploration, innovation, and creativity.
This course is limited to seniors. Prereq: At least 8 credits at the 200 level in Psychology, Neuroscience and Behavior, Art History, or Music.
Linda Laderach/Mara Breen 

334 - Music Analysis  TTh 10-11:15 Pratt Room 101
The course begins with an overview of the ways music analysis informs, and is informed by, other disciplines of musical inquiry: history, criticism, etc. The course culminates in an application of various analytic approaches to a small group of related works within the Western art music tradition. This year the topic will be adapting plays into operas, and we will study two operatic adaptations of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Purcell’s The Fairy-Queen (1692) and Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1960).
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities

A. Mueller

Prereq: MUSIC-232

FYSEM-110MD-01 - Early Music Drama TTH 11:30-12:45 Pratt Warbeke Room
This seminar will explore the development of the relationship between music and drama in Europe from its beginnings in classical Greece to the first public performances of opera in the 1630s.   We will hear, see and read selected works along the way.  These plays, rituals and entertainments will be our texts for the semester. We will discuss and write about such issues as the relationship between words and music, the interaction between music and the visual component of these works (dance, costumes, sets, acting) and the social, political and economic contexts of these texts.
R. Eisenstein


The department's introductory courses offer a solid foundation in musicianship, including music reading, sight singing, ear training, and critical listening.

In addition, Mount Holyoke offers intermediate through advanced courses in music history, ethnomusicology, theory and analysis, performance, conducting, and composition.

Advanced (300-level) courses are usually taken only in the senior year.

Auditions and the Music 100 Exemption Exam are required for official registration in all performance courses; a minimum intermediate level is required for registration in most instruments. Private instruction is offered at three levels.

First-Year Students

Introductory classes in fundamentals, music history and literature, and composition are offered for students with little or no experience; those with more experience may be able to exempt prerequisites and enter directly into the music theory or music history course sequence.

A first-year student interested in a music major or minor should take or exempt Music 100, Rudiments of Music, or Music 131, Basic Musicianship (Rudiments with a lab component), in the fall of their first year so that they may enroll in 231 in the spring of their first year. Spring entrants should exempt Music 100 when they arrive on campus so that they may enroll in 231.

First-year students may also take:

Music Exemption Exams
Students who demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the rudiments of music will be exempted from the Music 100 prerequisite for certain courses and from the Music 100 requirement associated with individual performance studies.