Music

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The Department of Music at Berkeley is one of the oldest and most prominent in the country, bringing together a renowned group of composers, scholars, and performers. The graduate program is ranked among the top in the nation. The department offers the MA/PhD and the PhD degrees (for those who have previously completed the master’s degree) in composition and scholarship, the latter with options in the history and literature of Western music and in ethnomusicology. The Music Department does not offer the terminal MA degree. The program provides graduate students with a solid mastery of their discipline while cultivating a sense of intellectual and creative independence. Students are free to explore related fields of study both within the music program itself and in the larger university. Graduates of the Music Department play prominent roles in distinguished musical institutions across the nation and abroad.

Students are supported by both fellowships and teaching opportunities. A typical funding package consists of tuition plus a stipend of at least $26,000 per year guaranteed for at least five years (MA/PhD) or four years (PhD), as well as funding for one summer. Additional support for summers and research travel is available by application.

Concentration Areas

Composition

Students in composition are encouraged to create music that is personal both in style and content while building a firm technical foundation. Composition is taught through seminars and independent studies by all composers on the faculty. Opportunities exist for public performances of student compositions, including chamber, vocal, and orchestral works. Facilities are available for work in electronic and computer music. 

Ethnomusicology

Students in ethnomusicology prepare for ethnographic research, through the study of cultural theory and methodology from various disciplines. Each student’s program is individually designed in consultation with an adviser, including opportunities for drawing on Berkeley’s considerable resources in related disciplines and area studies. 

History and Literature

Students in the history and literature program gain skills for historical research while developing a sense of critical inquiry and intellectual independence. The MA program introduces students to musicological methods and techniques and at the same time seeks to broaden their horizons through a variety of courses, including analysis and ethnomusicology. The PhD involves more detailed work in research seminars and special studies. Dissertation topics at Berkeley have run the gamut of scholarly approaches and subjects, from source studies to theoretical or critical works, and from early medieval chant to the music of the present day. 

The Master of Arts Degree

The period of study in all areas of specialization is from three to (more typically) four semesters ending with the MA comprehensive examination. The general course requirement for the MA is 24 units, at least 12 of which must be in the graduate series in music.

The Doctor of Philosophy Degree

Since the PhD degree is awarded for original, creative achievement, not for the mere completion of a course of study, course and unit requirements are not rigidly prescribed. There is an academic residence requirement of two years. The amount of time needed to complete the PhD varies considerably from one student to another, but students are encouraged to proceed as fast as they can and as the nature of their doctoral project allows. It is expected that the typical student (having obtained an MA degree) will have pursued sufficient course work, fulfilled all the supplementary requirements, and taken the qualifying examination, advanced to candidacy, and completed a prospectus for the doctoral project by the end of two years. After this time the only requirement is that the student satisfactorily complete the doctoral project.

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Admissions

Admission to the University

Minimum Requirements for Admission

The following minimum requirements apply to all graduate programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
  2. A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
  3. If the applicant comes from a country or political entity (e.g., Quebec) where English is not the official language, adequate proficiency in English to do graduate work, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT test, 570 on the paper-and-pencil test, or an IELTS Band score of at least 7 (note that individual programs may set higher levels for any of these); and
  4. Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in the given field.

Applicants Who Already Hold a Graduate Degree

The Graduate Council views academic degrees not as vocational training certificates, but as evidence of broad training in research methods, independent study, and articulation of learning. Therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to pursue new subject matter at an advanced level without need to enroll in a related or similar graduate program.

Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree only if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.

Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.

The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:

  1. Applicants with doctoral degrees may be admitted for an additional doctoral degree only if that degree program is in a general area of knowledge distinctly different from the field in which they earned their original degree. For example, a physics PhD could be admitted to a doctoral degree program in music or history; however, a student with a doctoral degree in mathematics would not be permitted to add a PhD in statistics.
  2. Applicants who hold the PhD degree may be admitted to a professional doctorate or professional master’s degree program if there is no duplication of training involved.

Applicants may apply only to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle.

Required Documents for Applications

  1. Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. If the applicant is admitted, then official transcripts of all college-level work will be required. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) attended. If you have attended Berkeley, upload your unofficial transcript with your application for the departmental initial review. If you are admitted, an official transcript with evidence of degree conferral will not be required.
  2. Letters of recommendation: Applicants may request online letters of recommendation through the online application system. Hard copies of recommendation letters must be sent directly to the program, not the Graduate Division.
  3. Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants from countries or political entities in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada). However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:
    • courses in English as a Second Language,
    • courses conducted in a language other than English,
    • courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and
    • courses of a non-academic nature.

If applicants have previously been denied admission to Berkeley on the basis of their English language proficiency, they must submit new test scores that meet the current minimum from one of the standardized tests.

Where to Apply

Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page

Admission to the Program

Applicants for the combined MA/PhD or PhD programs are required to specify the concentration they wish to apply: Composition, Ethnomusicology, or Music History and Literature. Applicants are encouraged to name at least two faculty with whom they wish to work as part of their application.

All applicants are required to submit supplemental materials as part of their application to our program. Applicants in Ethnomusicology or Music History & Literature will submit examples of scholarship, and Composition applicants will submit scores and recordings of their compositions as part of their respective applications.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Normative Time Requirements

Normative Time to Advancement

Normative to advancement for all concentrations is eight semesters.

Normative Time in Candidacy

Normative time in candidacy for the Composition and Music History & Literature concentrations is four semesters. Normative time in candidacy for the Ethnomusicology concentration is six semesters.

Total Normative Time

Total normative time for the Composition and Music History & Literature concentrations is twelve semesters. Total normative time for the Ethnomusicology concentration is fourteen semesters.

Time to Advancement

Curriculum

Composition Concentration

Students are generally expected to take a minimum of two graduate-level seminars in the department per semester until the MA degree has been completed (end of fourth semester).

MUSIC 157BOrchestration3
MUSIC 156Studies in Musical Analysis3
MUSIC 201AProseminar in Computer Music4
MUSIC 203Seminar in Composition (must be taken every semester until student passes the MA exam)4
MUSIC 290Colloquium (must be taken every semester until the student passes the PhD QE)1
Ethnomusicology Concentration

Students are expected to take a minimum of two graduate-level seminars in the department each semester until the MA degree has been completed. In addition, they are expected to attend events in the colloquium series and to participate actively in the discussion.

MUSIC 200BIntroduction to Music Scholarship II4
MUSIC 200CIntroduction to Music Scholarship III4
MUSIC 243Transcription and Analysis in Ethnomusicology4
MUSIC 244ATools of Ethnomusicological Research4
MUSIC 244BResearch Design for Ethnomusicologists4
Two courses from the MUSIC 130 series
One course in the student's area of specialization
History & Literature Concentration (H&L)

Although courses in musicology at the graduate level will constitute the core of any program of study at the MA level, students may supplement those courses with a graduate course in another department that might be relevant to eventual dissertation work, with language courses (graduate or undergraduate), or with undergraduate courses in music that help to meet the proficiencies required for the entrance exam’s various subjects (harmony, counterpoint, sight singing, score reading, and dictation). In general, courses at the graduate level are more appropriate for music graduate students to enroll in than undergraduate courses. It is expected that students take a minimum of two seminars in the department each semester until the MA is completed. Students should take courses with as many professors in the H&L program as possible.

MUSIC 200BIntroduction to Music Scholarship II4
MUSIC 200CIntroduction to Music Scholarship III4
Workshop series in research methods (Fall semester of first year)
Research seminars:
Students entering at MA level: At least five courses numbered between MUSIC 210-220, before entering PhD program
Students entering at PhD level: Four courses numbered between MUSIC 210-220

Courses

Music

MUSIC 200A Music Scholarship I 2 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2009, Fall 2008, Fall 2007
Principles of music bibliography, techniques of library research, history of music printing and publishing. Presentation of results in written and oral forms. Students in Ethnomusicology will take the first half of the course for 2 units. Students in History and Literature will take the entire course for 4 units.

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MUSIC 200B Introduction to Music Scholarship II 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2016, Fall 2015, Fall 2014
Principles and methods of scholarly research in Western art music, especially history and criticism of music; use of documents, and design of projects. Presentation of results in written and oral forms.

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MUSIC 200C Introduction to Music Scholarship III 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2016, Fall 2015, Fall 2014
Introduction to issues and methods in ethnomusicology, from the perspectives of both the social sciences and music. Presentation of results in written and oral forms.

Introduction to Music Scholarship III: Read More [+]

MUSIC 201A Proseminar in Computer Music 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2015, Fall 2014, Fall 2013
Overview of the field of computer music and its application to music composition. Practices, procedures, and aesthetics related to the application of newer technologies to music composition will be covered in tandem with contemporary research topics in computer music. Recent computer music repertoire with its related technologies will be examined. Students in this proseminar must have advanced musical training and knowledge of the history and repertoire
of electro-acoustic music.
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MUSIC 202 Seminar in Contemporary Music 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2016, Spring 2015, Fall 2012
Studies in 20th-century music.

Seminar in Contemporary Music: Read More [+]

MUSIC 203 Seminar in Composition 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
A study of relevant problems and compositional techniques of contemporary music. Original compositions required of students. Group discussion and criticism.

Seminar in Composition: Read More [+]

MUSIC 204 Studies in Musical Analysis 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2016, Fall 2014, Fall 2013
The application of analytical principles to a group of compositions and the intensive study of at least one major work.

Studies in Musical Analysis: Read More [+]

MUSIC 207 Advanced Projects in Computer Music 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
Designed for graduate students in music composition, but open to graduate students in related disciplines who can demonstrate thorough knowledge of the history of electro-acoustic music as well as significant experience with computer music practice and research. All projects are subject to approval of the instructor.

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MUSIC 208A Advanced Music Perception and Cognition 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2016, Fall 2015, Fall 2014
Experimental studies in Music Perception and Cognition. Research projects required.

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MUSIC 208B Music in Mind 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Spring 2012, Spring 2010
Research seminar dealing with "what goes on in your mind" when you make music. Topics include conceptualization, processes of learning, retention, and recall. In the context of interaction among musicians, variation and other forms of alteration (from relatively free improvisation to formulaic recomposition) with varing degrees of intentionality manifested in performances will be considered. Perception is implicated, but not a central
issue.
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MUSIC 209 Advanced Topics in Computer Music 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2013, Spring 2012, Spring 2011
Technical and musical issues in the design and development of computer-based music systems including digital signal processing for the analysis and synthesis of sound, scheduling of multiple musical control processes, perceptual and cognitive models, user-interface design, reactive real-time control, and the analysis and representation of musical structure.

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MUSIC 210 Graduate Seminar: Composers and Improvisers Workshop 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2014, Fall 2013
This course will provide a weekly forum for the exploration of strategies for composing for improvisers and improvising for composers, culminating in the presentation of new work. A number of approaches including gaming strategies, graphic and alternative notation systems, conduction, and other topics of interest to the students will be explored through performance, listening, analysis, and discussion.

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MUSIC 218 Seminar: Studies in Romantic Music 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2014, Spring 2012, Spring 2009
A highly specialized study in Romantic music. The topic will change each time the course is offered.

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MUSIC 219 Seminar: Jazz 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2012, Spring 2007, Spring 2002
A highly specialized study of Jazz. The topic will change each time the course is offered.

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MUSIC 220 Topics in Music History and Criticism 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
A specialized course in musical criticism. The topic will change each time the course is offered.

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MUSIC 230 Topics in Performance Studies 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Spring 2014
Critical survey of performance theory as it relates to music. Readings combine key foundational texts with current scholarly works from disciplines including ethnomusicology, musicology, performance studies, anthropology, and cultural studies.

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MUSIC 241 Readings in American Musical Cultures 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2011, Fall 2008, Fall 2007
Study of selected American musical cultures in relation to issues and theories pertinent to them.

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MUSIC 243 Transcription and Analysis in Ethnomusicology 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2015, Spring 2014, Spring 2012
Methods and practice of transcription applied to selected musical practices in relation to specific analytical goals. Coursework includes use of software for sound analysis and notation.

Transcription and Analysis in Ethnomusicology: Read More [+]

MUSIC 244A Tools of Ethnomusicological Research 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2016, Fall 2015, Spring 2013
Collection and organization of research data. Introduction to audio and video recording, photography, database design, interviewing, and writing fieldnotes.

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MUSIC 244B Research Design for Ethnomusicologists 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Spring 2015, Spring 2014
Instruction in designing a doctoral research project, writing a dissertation prospectus, and formulating a grant proposal. Focus also on issues such as representation and ethics. Students will normally take this course one semester prior to presenting the prospectus for their doctoral dissertation.

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MUSIC 246 Theory and Method in Popular Music Studies 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2016, Fall 2012, Fall 2010
Critical survey of the major issues raised and methodologies used in the study of popular music. Selected readings from a wide range of disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, musicology, ethnomusicology, communication, history, political science, economics, and music journalism.

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MUSIC 247 Topics in Ethnomusicology 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2016, Fall 2014, Fall 2013
A highly specialized course in ethnomusicology. The topic will change each time the course is offered.

Topics in Ethnomusicology: Read More [+]

MUSIC 248A Topics in Asian Music 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2015, Spring 2010, Spring 2006
A highly specialized course focusing on aspects of music in Asia. The topic will change each time the course is offered.

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MUSIC 249 Interpretive Theories and Music 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2014, Fall 2013, Fall 2009
Readings on interpretive theories dealing with issues such as aesthetics, identity formation, and politics of representation, from the multiple disciplines informing the study of music. The selection of theoretical writings will change each time the course is offered.

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MUSIC 250A Advanced Ethnomusicological Studies 2 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2016, Spring 2012, Spring 2011
Forum for advanced work in students' areas of specialization, with particular emphasis on addressing the integration of musical analysis with theoretical issues. Students set specific goals with faculty and meet as needed individually and as a group.

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MUSIC 258 Musical Applications of Computers and Related Technologies 4 Units

Terms offered: Prior to 2007
This course is about digital sound. Specifically, it is about music created with digital sounds. As we explore music with a computational frame of mind, we will approach each topic with explicit expectations of artistic and musical applications. Topics in psychoacoustics, music perception and cognition will be introduced to facilitate our understanding of digital manipulations and their role in the shaping of the musical experience.

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MUSIC 258A Sound and Music Computing with CNMAT Technologies 4 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2017 First 6 Week Session, Summer 2017 Second 6 Week Session, Fall 2016
Explores the intersection of music and computers using a combination of scientific, technological, and artistic methodologies. Musical concerns within a computational frame are addressed through the acquisition of basic programming skills for the creation and control of digital sound. Will learn core concepts and techniques of computer-based music composition using the Cycling74/MaxMSP programming
environment in combination with associated software tools and programming approaches created by the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies. Included will be exposure to the essentials of digital audio signal processing, musical acoustics and psychoacoustics, sound analysis and synthesis. The course is hands-on & taught from the computer lab.
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MUSIC 258B Situated Instrument Design for Musical Expression 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Spring 2016
The practice and theory of contextual instrument design for use in musical expression is explored. Students create new instruments and performance environments using a variety of physical interaction paradigms, programming practices, and musical processes emerging from the UC Berkeley Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT). Building on the methodologies established in Music 258A, the course develops aesthetic, analytic and technical skills
through discussion, empirical study, and collaborative engagement. With a balance of artistic and technical concerns, participants deepen understanding of the creative process, demonstrating the results through class installation and public performance.
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MUSIC 290 Colloquium 1 Unit

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
Meetings for the presentation of original work by faculty, visiting lecturers, and advanced graduate students. Assigned readings. In rotation members of the class will be appointed as respondents for the papers.

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MUSIC 296 Directed Dissertation Research - Music 1 - 12 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2017 8 Week Session, Spring 2017, Fall 2016
Open to qualified students who have been advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. and are directly engaged upon the doctoral dissertation.

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MUSIC 298 Group Special Studies 1 - 8 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
Open to qualified students for research or creative work on a particular topic. Not to serve in lieu of regular courses of instruction.

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MUSIC 299 Special Study 1 - 12 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
Open to properly qualified graduate students for research or creative work, including work on the doctoral dissertation. Such work shall not serve in lieu of regular courses of instruction.

Special Study: Read More [+]

MUSIC N299 Special Study 2 - 5 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2017 First 6 Week Session, Summer 2016 8 Week Session, Summer 2016 Second 6 Week Session
Open to properly qualified graduate students for research or creative work, including work on the doctoral dissertation. Such work shall not serve in lieu of regular courses of instruction.

Special Study: Read More [+]

MUSIC 300 Professional Preparation for Teaching Assistants in Music 2 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Spring 2016, Spring 2015
Special study under the direction of a staff member with emphasis on the teaching of undergraduate courses in music.

Professional Preparation for Teaching Assistants in Music: Read More [+]

MUSIC 405 Elementary Piano 1 Unit

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
Two semesters are strongly recommended for music majors who lack the basic keyboard skills needed for musicianship and harmony classes.

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MUSIC 410 Vocal Technique 1 Unit

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
A course in basic vocal techniques, primarily for students in the University Choruses, covering techniques of breathing, pronunciation, and articulation.

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MUSIC 601 Individual Study for Master's Students 1 - 8 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
Preparation for the comprehensive or language requirements in consultation with the field adviser.

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MUSIC 602 Individual Study for Doctoral Students 1 - 8 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
Study in consultation with the major field adviser, intended to provide an opportunity for qualified students to prepare themselves for the various examinations required of candidates for the Ph.D.

Individual Study for Doctoral Students: Read More [+]

Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.

Faculty

Jeanne Bamberger, Adjunct Professor. Music cognition and child development.

Franck Y. Bedrossian, Associate Professor. Composition, computer music.

Benjamin Brinner, Professor. Indonesia, Java, Bali, Israel, musical memory, situated musical cognition, musical interaction, improvisation, gamelan, music and oral narrative.
Research Profile

Edmund Campion, Professor. Music, composition, musical application of computer technologies.
Research Profile

Cindy Cox, Professor. Composition, music analysis and theory, post-tonal music, piano, music and live electronics, text-setting.
Research Profile

James Davies, Associate Professor. Musics and bodies, cultural performance, romanticisms, nineteenth-century music, histories of science, pianists and pianos, singers and voice, music pedagogy and training, South Africa, colonial melodrama, township opera.
Research Profile

Jocelyne Guilbault, Professor. Cultural politics, Caribbean, popular and traditional musics, nation, diaspora, cultural entrepreneurship.
Research Profile

Matthew Hough, Assistant Teaching Professor.

Nicholas Mathew, Associate Professor. Beethoven, Haydn, music in Vienna, music and politics, music and urban culture, aesthetics, piano performance, historical performance practices.
Research Profile

Myra Melford, Professor. Jazz composition and improvisational practices.

David Milnes, Professor. Music, directing, orchestral conducting technique, music ensemble.
Research Profile

Tamara C. Roberts, Assistant Professor. Aesthetic, political, and spiritual potential of performance; Afro-Asian music and music of enslaved Africans in the U.S., Puerto Rico, intercultural percussion performance, women’s drumming communities, diasporic connections in African American and Afro-Caribbean vernacular traditions, and the technology and politics of spiritual musical practice.

Mary Ann Smart, Professor. Staging of opera, 19th-century music, opera, opera and politics, 19th-century Italy, music and gender, singers and voices, Verdi, Wagner, Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini.
Research Profile

Ken Ueno, Associate Professor. Music composition, noise, electronic music, Asian music, music of Japan, extended vocal techniques, overtone singing, musical culture of Japan, experimental improvisation.
Research Profile

Emily Zazulia, Assistant Professor. Medieval and Renaissance Music, the intersection of musical style, complex notation, and intellectual history.

Lecturers

Carla Brunet, Lecturer.

Robert Calonico, Lecturer.

Majel Connery, Lecturer.

Lisa Gold, Lecturer.

Benjamin Goldberg, Lecturer.

Rama J. Gottfried, Lecturer.

Candace Johnson, Lecturer.

C. K. Ladzekpo, Senior Lecturer.

Deirdre Loughridge, Lecturer.

Midiyanto Midiyanto, Lecturer.

Michael Orland, Lecturer.

David Pereira, Lecturer.

Doniel Mark Wilson, Lecturer.

Robert Yamasato, Lecturer.

Emeritus Faculty

Richard L. Crocker, Professor Emeritus.

Christy Dana, Senior Lecturer Emeritus.

Mary Kay Duggan, Professor Emeritus.

Edwin E. Dugger, Professor Emeritus.

Richard Felciano, Professor Emeritus.

+ Daniel Heartz, Professor Emeritus.

Marika Kuzma, Professor Emeritus.

Davitt Moroney, Professor Emeritus. Music, musicology, music performance, Italian Music.
Research Profile

+ Anthony A. Newcomb, Professor Emeritus.

John H. Roberts, Professor Emeritus. Music, music bibliography, Handel, French nineteenth-century opera.
Research Profile

Karen Rosenak, Senior Lecturer Emeritus.

+ Michael C. Senturia, Professor Emeritus.

Richard Taruskin, Professor Emeritus. Nationalism, music, musicology, theory of performance, Russian music, twentieth-century music, theory of modernism, analysis.
Research Profile

Bonnie C. Wade, Professor Emeritus.

Olly W. Wilson, Professor Emeritus.

Contact Information

Department of Music

104 Morrison Hall

Phone: 510-642-2678

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

Cindy A. Cox, DMA

104 Morrison Hall

Phone: 510-642-2678

cacox@berkeley.edu

Head Graduate Adviser

Nicholas Mathew

104 Morrison Hall #1200

Phone: 510-642-2678

Graduate Student Services Adviser

Karen Chang

104 Morrison Hall #1200

Phone: 510-642-2678

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