Undergraduate Bulletin

Spring 2024

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 or 451 (each semester a different topic will be offered) or one additional history course numbered 450 or 451 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

The upper-division writing requirement for music majors will be fulfilled by submission of two approved papers: one from an advanced music history course, either MUS 351, MUS 352, or MUS 450, and one from an advanced music analysis course either MUS 421 or MUS 422. Students will register for MUS 459 and submit approved papers with an approval form signed by the instructor to the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Music. Once both approved papers have been submitted, the Director of Undergraduate Studies will certify that the student has met the upper-division writing requirement in music and give a grade for MUS 459 

Nature of the papers

Any paper submitted to fulfill this requirement must have at least 4 pages of expository text (exclusive of musical examples, bibliography, diagrams, etc.) in 12-point font with normal margins. Grammar, spelling, sentence and paragraph structure must all be correct. The topic must be clearly stated and developed. The pages must be numbered. Any footnotes, citations, or bibliography must be properly supplied and formatted according to the principles in Jonathan Bellman’s A Short Guide to Writing About Music (2007) or in Richard Wingell’s Writing about Music: An Introductory Guide, 4th edition (2009). All musical examples must be properly formatted with clefs, captions, measure numbers, and correct notation. They must be large enough to be easily legible. Diagrams or Figures must be neat and clear.

Both papers should demonstrate the capacity to write clear and correct English at all levels (sentence, paragraph, sections, entire essay), to use musical concepts and terminology correctly, and to present ideas and arguments in an organized and effective way.  

Approval Process

1) When a student wishes a paper submitted in one of the designated courses to be accepted as fulfilling part of the Writing Requirement, that student will submit the “Upper Division Writing Requirement Form” to the course instructor along with the assigned paper. (See attached form.)

2) After having read and graded the paper, the course instructor will either indicate on the form that the paper satisfies a component of the writing requirement, or will indicate that it does not satisfy the requirement. In the latter case, the instructor will provide suggestions for improvement in writing skills, which may include advice to take further courses in writing or in English.

3) If the paper is not approved for the upper-division writing requirement, the student must submit another paper for the appropriate category (history or theory), either a subsequent one written for the same course or a paper from another course.

4) Students must submit written work of a quality that can satisfy the upper-division writing requirement on a first reading. Instructors are not obligated to guide revisions of papers that do not demonstrate adequate upper-division writing proficiency on initial submission. An instructor may, however, at his or her discretion, offer to consider one revision if the original paper is very close to meeting standards of writing proficiency.

5) Once the form approving the paper for the writing requirement has been signed, the student will submit a copy of the paper along with the signed form to the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Music.

6) When the Director of Undergraduate Studies has received from a student two papers—one from a history course, one from an analysis course—with signed forms indicating that each has been approved for the Upper Division Writing Requirement, then the requirement will have been fulfilled by that student.  

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 Minor in Music (MUS)

The minor in Music (MUS) is 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 Music minor (MUS) 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 Music Theory minor (MTY), 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 minor requires 20 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.

Requirements for the minor

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 Timbre 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:

Requirements for the Minor in Ethnomusicology (ETH)

For requirement information regarding the Minor in Ethnomusicology (ETH), see the Ethnomusicology section of this Bulletin.

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.

Requirements for the Minor in Music Theory (MTY)

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