Requirements for the Major and Minor in Music

Requirements for the Major in Music (MUS)

The major in Music leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree. All courses offered for the major must be passed with a letter grade of C or higher.

Completion of the major requires 63 credits.

Admittance to the Major

Any student wishing to major in Music must pass an audition in voice or instrument and a musicianship examination that tests aural skills and musical literacy (elementary theory, interval recognition, simple melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic dictation, and sight singing). The undergraduate musicianship examination is given four times each year: the first or second day of each semester, in February, and at the end of April. Auditions are held in the General and Scholarship Auditions in February of each year and during the first week of classes. Students should consult the Department office or contact the director of undergraduate studies to sign up for the undergraduate musicianship examination and to make an appointment for an audition. Please see the department webpage for information on how to audition.

A. Study within the Area of the Major

1. Theory:
MUS 121 Musicianship I, MUS 122 Beginning Keyboard, MUS 141, MUS 142 Keyboard Harmony A, B, MUS 220, MUS 221 Musicianship II, III, MUS 321, MUS 322 Tonal Harmony I, II, MUS 323 Techniques of Music, 1880 to the Present, MUS 331 Musicianship IV, MUS 421 Analysis of Tonal Music, MUS 422 Analysis of Post-Tonal Music

2. History and Literature:
a. MUS 130 Sound Structures, MUS 350 Western Music before 1600, MUS 351 Western Music, 1600-1830, MUS 352 Western Music from 1830 to the Present 

Two additional music history courses numbered 450 (each semester a different topic will be offered) or one additional history course numbered 450 plus one other elective selected from the following: MUS 432 Counterpoint, MUS 434 Orchestration, MUS 439 Composition, MUS 487 Independent Project. All 487 projects which are to used to fulfill the elective requirement must be approved by the Undergraduate Studies Committee one semester before the course is to be undertaken. Such projects may include a lecture-recital or full recital with researched program notes. 

3. Study of Individual Instrument or Voice:
a. A minimum of four semesters from courses in the series MUS 161
- MUS 187 Performance Study (2 credits each) or MUS 361 - MUS 387 Advanced Performance Study (4 credits each).

Mandatory co-registration in a performance ensemble for each semester of lessons.  Instrumentalists should enroll in MUS 262 University Orchestra, MUS 263 University Wind Ensemble, or MUS 264 Jazz Ensemble. Singers should enroll in MUS 261 Stony Brook Chorale.  Pianists and guitarists should enroll in MUS 391 Chamber Music.

Note: No more than 30 credits of individual instruction in instrument or voice may be included in the 120 credits required for the B.A. degree.

B. Upper-Division Writing Requirement

As evidence of acceptable writing skills in the discipline, students majoring in Music must submit to the director of undergraduate studies a portfolio of three papers no later than one month before the end of their junior year. Papers written for music history courses (MUS 350MUS 351MUS 352 or higher) or for MUS 421 or MUS 422 are preferred, but in any case at least two of the three papers must be from such a course. The remaining paper may have been written for other courses in the humanities or fine arts, such as English, theatre arts, or foreign languages. The papers should demonstrate a mastery of language sufficient to express clearly and accurately concepts of sophistication commensurate with upper-division work. A special committee reads the papers and assesses the quality of writing. The committee communicates the results of its assessment by the end of the student's junior year. If writing skills are judged deficient, the committee recommends a course of action for the improvement of such skills and reviews examples of writing during the senior year. Students must demonstrate acceptable writing skills before they graduate. Students who need extra work on writing skills may be identified as early as during MUS 130 and asked to do additional work or writing courses in order to be able to pass their Upper-Division Writing Requirement when they are juniors.

Students should consult with the department advisor to ensure that their plan for completing the Upper Division Writing Requirement is consistent with university graduation requirements for General Education.  Students completing the Stony Brook Curriculum (SBC) must complete a course that satisfies the "Write Effectively within One's Discipline" (WRTD) learning objective to graduate.  The Upper Division Writing Requirement is consistent in most cases with the SBC learning outcomes for WRTD.

C. Foreign Language
Students who intend to continue their studies beyond the B.A. degree are advised that most graduate music programs require a reading knowledge of French or German, often both. (For this purpose, but not for the entry skill in foreign language requirement, language courses may be taken under the Pass/No Credit option.)

Honors Program in Music

Candidates for honors in Music must be nominated by a faculty member who agrees to act as sponsor for the honors project. An eligible student may submit a proposal for a project to the proposed sponsor, who forwards the proposal together with a letter of nomination to the Department of Music's undergraduate studies committee. To be eligible, a student must have maintained at least a 3.00 cumulative g.p.a., and a 3.50 g.p.a. in music. After entering the honors program, a student must maintain at least a 3.50 g.p.a. in music.

Students must register for MUS 495 and complete a project in performance, composition, history, theory, or ethnomusicology. The project must have a speaking component and must be carried out under the supervision of a sponsor. The completed project is reviewed by an evaluating committee consisting of the sponsor, another member of the Music faculty, and an outside evaluator.

Complete guidelines for the honors program are available from the director of undergraduate studies.

The Minors in Music (MUS) and Jazz Music (JAZ)

Both the minor in Music (MUS) and the minor in Jazz Music (JAZ), each of which has a General track and a Theory track, are designed to provide students interested in music with a foundation in the theory and history of music and experience in a performing ensemble. Less rigorous than the Music major, the minor is not intended to prepare students for advanced study or professional work in music.

The General track is designed for students who are interested in music but who do not seek training in more sophisticated aspects of music theory and musicianship. The Theory track, for which students take Music major courses in theory and musicianship, is for students who want to acquire more specialized knowledge and skills in the areas of music theory and musicianship.

Requirements for the Minor in Music (MUS)

All courses offered for the minor must be passed with a letter grade of C or higher. At least three credits from Requirement 2 or 3 in either track must be upper division. The General track requires 20 credits; the Theory track requires 24 credits.

A Note on the Performance Requirement: With the permission of the director of undergraduate studies, students who do not pass the audition for one of the ensembles may fulfill the performance requirement through private lessons ( MUS 161 -MUS 187). For students in the minor who fulfill the performance requirement through lessons, the ensemble corequisite for private lessons ( MUS 161 -MUS 187) will be waived.

General Track

1. Theory:
MUS 119 Elements of Music or MUS 130 Sounds Structures, MUS 315 Structural Principles of Music I, MUS 316 Structural Principles of Music II or MUS 340 Introduction to Music and Technology

Note: Students well-versed in music notation and basic theory (as demonstrated by the MUS 119 challenge examination) should take MUS 130 Sound Structures

2. History:
MUS 101 and two courses chosen from the following: MUS 105 , 301-314, 319-323.

3. Performance:
Two semesters of one or more of the following:
MUS 261 Stony Brook Chorale, MUS 262 University Orchestra, MUS 263 University Wind Ensemble, MUS 264 Jazz Ensemble, MUS 266 Guitar Workshop, MUS 391 Chamber Music

Theory Track

1. Theory:
MUS 121 Musicianship I, MUS 130 Sound Structures, MUS 220 Musicianship II, MUS 221 Musicianship III, MUS 321 Tonal Harmony I, MUS 322 Tonal Harmony II

2. History:
MUS 101 and one course chosen from the following:  MUS 105 , 301-314, 319-320

3. Performance: 
Three semesters from the following: MUS 261 Stony Brook Chorale, MUS 262 University Orchestra, MUS 263 University Wind Ensemble, MUS 264 Jazz Ensemble, MUS 266 Guitar Workshop, MUS 267 Jazz Combo, MUS 268 Marching Band, MUS 391 Chamber Music

Requirements for the Minor in Jazz Music (JAZ)

For requirement information regarding the Minor in Jazz Music, see the Jazz Music section of this Bulletin.

Requirements for the Minor in Music and Technology (MTX)

For requirement information regarding the Minor in Music and Technology, see the Music and Technology section of this Bulletin.