Honors in Music
(click on titles to download honors theses; PDF format)
- Garry Bertholf (Performance, 2006), “John Coltrance: Jazz Improvisation, Performance, and Transcription”
- Stephen Planas (Music History, 2006), “Carl Maria von Weber’s Overture to Oberon: A History of Recorded Performances”
- Gjergji Gaqi (Performance, 2007), “Beethoven’s Heiligenstadt Testament and the Piano Sonata, Op. 31, no. 3 (‘The Tempest’)”
An honors program is available to students majoring in music who have a 3.25 overall grade point average and a 3.5 average in the major. In addition to fulfilling the requirements for the music major, honors students must take one additional course in music, approved by the department, at the 300 level or above; they must also complete the honors sequence (MU 483 and 484) in one of four areas (music analysis, music history, performance, or theory/composition). During the second semester of the junior year, students seeking admission to the honors program submit a formal proposal outlining their proposed research or creative project to the department for approval.
Honors students register for MU 483 in the fall semester of their senior year and for MU 484 in the spring. Successful completion of an honors program, as determined by a vote of the music faculty will result in the awarding of a degree “With Honors in Music.”
The department offers four areas of concentration leading to honors in the major:
1. Music Analysis: In addition to the general requirements for the honors program, the analysis honors sequence requires a written paper, typically of 60-100 pages, devoted to a particular composition, repertoire, or analytical problem. A public oral presentation based on this research is required.
2. Music History: In addition to the general requirements for the honors program, the history honors sequence requires a written paper (historical, analytical, or editorial), typically of 60-100 pages, that presents original research or that offers new insights. A public oral presentation based on this research is required.
3. Performance: In addition to the general requirements for the honors program, the performance honors sequence requires two semesters of applied music study beyond those required for the major and either: a) a full recital (typically 40-60 minutes of music) presented in the spring of the senior year and a 15-20 page historical or analytical paper focusing on one or more of the works performed; or b) a full lecture-recital (40-60 minutes of music) presented in the senior year that includes substantial historical or analytical discussion of one or more of the works performed.
4. Theory/Composition: In addition to the general requirements for the honors program, the Theory/Composition honors sequence requires a substantial portfolio of compositions completed during the senior year and a 10-15 page analytical paper devoted to a recent work by a major composer or to a significant compositional trend. The portfolio should contain at least one major work, normally an extended composition for five or more performers. A public performance of compositions from the portfolio is required. In exceptional circumstances, and with the prior approval of the department, students may pursue an honors program over one semester and JanPlan. The standards for evaluating projects in such extraordinary cases are identical to those that apply to year-long programs.
1. Proposals are due in the spring semester of the junior year by a date announced in the fall. The department chair will insure that all juniors are notified.
2. Students choose a member of the faculty as the principal sponsor of the project, and work with the sponsor in developing their proposals.
3. Admission to the honors program requires that students fulfill all prerequisites for the honors program in advance of admission, as well as majority vote of the music faculty. Criteria for admission include the strength and originality of the proposal and the likelihood that it will be completed successfully. Admission to the honors program may be made contingent upon revisions to the initial proposal.
4. Continuation in the honors program after the first semester is contingent upon satisfactory progress as certified by the faculty sponsor. In cases where the faculty sponsor (or student) feels that the work is unlikely to result in a final project at the honors level, MU 48x (Honors Research) is converted to a one-semester independent study (MU491).
5. The granting of Honors in Music requires majority vote of a committee consisting of the faculty of the music department.
6. MU 48x, Honors Research is graded with letter grades; students may earn no more than 6 credits in Honors Research.
7. Admissions to the music honors program does not guarantee that a student will be awarded honors in the major. Students whose projects are not endorsed by the faculty committee as representing work at the honors level may, however, still receive up to 6 credits for MU 48x.
8. Faculty supervision of Honors research does not count toward course credit for faculty members. Chairs will monitor faculty supervision of student research, seeking to avoid inequities in supervising loads over time.