2024-2025 Undergraduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 16, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Course Catalog

Music History and Cultures, BA

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Wayne Frantis, Chair
308 Bowne Hall

Theo Cateforis, Director of Undergraduate Studies
308 Bowne Hall


Theo Cateforis, Ellen Hebden, Cary Peñate, Serena Wang

The major in Music History and Cultures is designed for students who wish to study music in its historical, social and cultural contexts and in relation to other arts. Although majors are encouraged to develop performance skills, the focus of the degree is on the study of musical cultures and styles in a liberal arts environment.

For all Arts and Sciences|Maxwell students, successful completion of a bachelor’s degree in this major requires a minimum of 120 credits, 96 of which must be Arts and Sciences|Maxwell credits, completion of the Liberal Arts Core requirements, and the requirements for this major that are listed below.

Dual Enrollments:

Students dually enrolled in Newhouse* and Arts and Sciences|Maxwell will complete a minimum of 122 credits, with at least 90 credits in Arts and Sciences|Maxwell coursework and an Arts and Sciences|Maxwell major.

*Students dually enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences|Maxwell as first year students must complete the Liberal Arts Core. Students who transfer to the dual program after their first year as singly enrolled students in the Newhouse School will satisfy general requirements for the dual degree program by completing the Newhouse Core Requirements.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Explain the diverse functions and cultural meanings that music has had in both Western and non-Western societies

2. Distinguish among stylistic differences in music of different eras and from different cultures

3. Explain historical changes in music of different eras and from different cultures

4. Apply central issues and methods of scholarship in our fields

5. Express ideas clearly through writing

6. Demonstrate proficiency in musical skills

7. Demonstrate proficiency in musical performance

Lower Division Requirements (12-14 credits)

1) Musical skills (6-8 credits)

Students are required to demonstrate competency in basic musical skills by successfully completing one of the two following options:

Option A:

  • HOM 125/MTC 125 - Introductory Music Theory I
  • HOM 126/MTC 126 - Introductory Music Theory II

Option B:

  • MTC 145 - Diatonic Harmony I
  • MTC 146 - Diatonic Harmony II
  • MTC 147 - Ear Training I
  • MTC 148 - Ear Training II

2) Introduction to music history and culture (6 credits)

Students are required to complete two courses from the following list. One of these two courses must be from these 200-level music history sequences (HOM 267 , HOM 268 ,HOM 285 ).

Upper Division Requirements (18 credits)

1) Breadth requirement (9 credits)

Students must complete at least one upper-division course in three of the following four categories: European Music (HOM 360s, 460s) Sound and Technology (HOM 310s, 410s), Popular Music (HOM 370s, 470s), and Ethnomusicology (HOM 320s, 380s, 420s 480s).

2) Major electives (6 credits)

Students must take at least 6 additional upper-division credits. 3 of these credits may be earned in non-music HOA courses (i.e. art history or history of architecture). Candidates for departmental honors (see below) may use HOM 496  (3 credits) to count toward the fulfillment of this requirement.

3) 400-level course

Students must fulfill at least one of these upper-division requirements with a 400-level course.

4) Junior Seminar: Musicology in Action

This course, required of all Music History and Cultures majors, will normally be offered each spring semester. The specific content of the course will vary from year to year, but its purpose will remain the same: to stimulate critical thought about music and to hone our students’ research and writing skills.

5) Distinction in Music History and Cultures

(3 credits, required only for students earning a degree with distinction). Majors who have earned a cumulative GPA of at least 3.7 will be invited to earn a degree with distinction. In order to earn this honor, students are required to enroll in HOM 496 . These students will work independently, under the supervision of a faculty member, to complete a large-scale project in some aspect of music history or cultures. Students will determine the topic for their Distinction Project in consultation with a thesis advisor, whom they will choose from among the Music History and Cultures faculty (in exceptional cases other faculty may serve in this capacity). The thesis will also be evaluated by a second reader, chosen by the thesis advisor (in consultation with the student) from other faculty in Music History and Cultures or related disciplines. In most cases, the project will take the form of a formal essay approximately 6000 words in length. Alternative types of projects are also possible, provided that they meet with the approval of the Music History and Cultures faculty. Regardless of the topic, the project should constitute original work, serving as a persuasive demonstration of the student’s skills and talents as well as a vivid component of the student’s credentials.

Performance Requirements (4 credits)

In addition to the course requirements listed above, students in the B. A. in Music History and Cultures program are required to complete at least two semesters of individual studio lessons. Students are also required to participate in a Syracuse University performing ensemble for at least two semesters. These requirements may be fulfilled at any point in the degree program.

Extracurricular performing experience may be accepted by petition, but the student must register for HOM experience credit and have a designated music history and cultures faculty advisor.

Students may petition to have up to 6 credits of appropriate courses in music history taken outside the department (non-HOM courses) count toward the Music History and Cultures major.

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