BM in Theory/Composition Majors are required to take four semesters of music theory and ear training, three semesters of music history, between two and five semesters of private composition lessons, orchestration, form, counterpoint, computer music, conducting and 13 credits of music electives. Majors are required to perform regularly in School of Music ensembles, take eight semesters of lessons on their major instrument, and pass a piano competency test. In the senior year, Theory/Composition majors prepare either a Senior Thesis (research project) or a Senior Composition Recital under the guidance of a faculty member in the Department of Music Theory and Composition. The BM degree program prepares the student for more advanced study in composition and/or theory at the graduate level.
The audition for the BM in Theory/Composition is based on two factors: 25% of the audition is a measure of the student's compositional and/or analytic skills. Prospective Composers will be expected to show and discuss three of their original scores. If a recording is available of the score, students are encouraged to bring it to the audition. Prospective Theorists will be expected to take a written analysis test, providing harmonic and formal analysis of three short compositions from different musical eras. 75% of the audition is a measure of the student's skills in sight-singing, dictation and piano. Students will be expected to sing diatonic melodies at sight, take dictation of diatonic chord progressions, and aurally identify a variety of tertian chords. Students are expected to prepare a piano work of early-intermediate level difficulty.
Elective course offerings in the BM and MM Music Theory/Composition degrees allow the student to customize a program that best meets his or her needs and specific interests. Recent topics for the department's popular upper-level seminars in music theory have included: The Psychology of Music, Medieval Music: Performance and Practice, Interactive Computer Music, Song writing: Analysis and Composition, and Music of Our Time. The weekly seminar in Composition features performances of students' works and presentations by guest composers. Past guest speakers have included Jennifer Higdon, Daniel Asia, Robert Carl, Barbara White, Jay Reise, Anna Weesner, Thomas Whitman, Daniel Dorff, James Freeman, Tina Davidson, David Conte, Haskell Small, Curt Caccioppo and Jennifer Barker.
Reading/recording sessions of student compositions by professional ensembles take place every year, featuring such ensembles as The Colorado String Quartet, Network for New Music, Orchestra 2001 and Strata. Readings are also available through the local chapter of the American Composers Forum, including sessions with The Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, Relache, Orchestra 2001 and Network for New Music. The department coordinates concerts of new music each semester, featuring new compositions by student and faculty composers, performed by the New Music Ensemble (a collection of student and faculty performers). In addition, students have the opportunity to work with the University Theater program.
The Elective Studies in an Outside Field program is designed for those students who desire a general music program while at the same time pursuing a secondary interest outside of the School of Music. The Handbook for Students in Music - Undergraduate Division should be consulted for the current general and music requirements.