The music department offers women an integrated curriculum that nurtures their understanding of and involvement in the musical arts. Instruction in the areas of music theory, music history and ethnomusicology, and solo-ensemble performance prepare music majors for graduate study and careers in music, while providing minors and other students with a fundamental exposure to the musical field. As part of a humanistic discipline, the department teaches students to engage music through critical thinking, writing and speaking; in the area of artistry, it develops competence in musical activity through listening, analysis, composition and performance; and pursuant to the goals of the college, the department provides musical opportunities for experiential learning and service.
The program offers majors a balanced approach to the study of the history, theory and performance of music; and it ends with a capstone senior seminar. Music majors and minors pursue a course of study that emphasizes one or more of the primary areas within the discipline, i.e. music theory, musicology/ethnomusicology, as well as performance. Students also have the opportunity to pursue interests in composition or world music, as well as individual or ensemble performance.
Instruction is available on all modern orchestral instruments, keyboard and voice, as well as some renaissance and baroque instruments, jazz, improvisation and accompanying.
Presser Hall houses the department of music’s classrooms, studios and offices, rehearsal and performance halls, a music technology lab, practice rooms and storage rooms for instruments owned by the college or by students. The Julia Thompson Smith Chapel provides another attractive performance space on campus.
The department makes available to students musical instruments, including Steinway grand pianos, a German double harpsichord (Wolf Instruments), organs (Austin, Brombaugh, Schlicker, and an early 19th century American chamber organ), a complete set of drums from Ghana and some orchestral and percussion instruments.
MUS-106 MUSICAL ELEMENTS IN GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE (4)
Basic concepts and terminology for music in a cross-cultural context. Examination of music in human life through case studies of traditions from around the world, with an emphasis on migration of people and traditions, and changing musical meanings over time.
PHY-150 GLOBAL MUSIC AND PHYSICS (4)
This course answers musical questions using physics: "Why does a zurna sound different from a ney? Or a french horn from a bugle?" "Why does every culture recognize the interval of the octave?" We will cover both music topics like pitch, instrumentation, intensity, and quality; and physics topics like standing waves, interference, and frequency analysis. Students work in teams to pursue measurements relating physics and music during class time, and exploring case studies from around the world.
Satisfies SUMMIT in STEM distributional requirement as well as lab science requirement from older catalog. Offered Fall 2016.
MUS-204 HISTORY OF JAZZ (4)
A study of the personalities and styles that define American jazz and an examination of the socioeconomic conditions that fostered and nurtured it.
Offered alternate years
MUS-205 AMERICAN POPULAR MUSIC (4)
A chronological study of American popular music from the 18th century through the present, with an emphasis on 20th century styles, technology, and media history. Works examined in terms of musical and textual content and in the light of their sociological contexts.
Offered alternate years
MUS-206 TOPICS IN MUSIC AND CULTURE (4)
Special interest topics that address the intersection of music and culture, for example, Introduction to Music Industry or The Beatles.
Offered on an occasional basis.
MUS-219 WOMEN IN WORLD MUSIC (4)
An historical and sociological overview of the various roles women have played in music in cultures around the world as composers, performers, teachers, entertainers and patrons, etc., from antiquity to the present day, with emphasis on non-Western traditions. It is recommended that students take 106 prior to enrolling in this course.
(Cross-listed with WS-219)
MUS-301 MUSIC BEFORE 1750 (4)
A chronological study of Western art music from the Greek civilization through Baroque era. Offered alternate years
Prerequisite: MUS-106, MUS-109
MUS-302 MUSIC SINCE 1750 (4)
A chronological study of Western music since the mid-18th century.
Offered alternate years
Prerequisites: MUS-106, MUS-109
MUS-306 MUSIC IN THE UNITED STATES (4)
Explores traditions borne of unique circumstances and interactions of diverse groups in the United States from the pre-Colonial era to the present. Topics include “Yankee tunesmiths,” broadsides, shape-notes, with emphasis on concert music from the late 19th century onward.
MUS-350 TOPICS IN MUSIC HISTORY (4)
Special interest topics, such as genres, repertoires and national music, offered on an occasional basis according to student interest and as the need arises.
MUS-360 TOPICS IN ETHNOMUSICOLOGY (4)
Special interest topics, such as methods in ethnomusicology, area studies and history of the discipline, offered on an occasional basis according to student interest and as the need arises.
MUS-109 MUSIC THEORY I: FUNDAMENTALS (4)
This introductory course teaches the rudiments of music in sufficient depth to enable the student to read music and describe musical relationships. The course focuses on the fundamental elements of musical structure, including scales, keys, intervals, chords, melody, meter, and rhythm.
MUS-110 MUSIC THEORY II: DIATONIC HARMONY (4)
This course continues the study of musical structure, including the development of aural skills via computer-assisted instruction. Exploring both classical and popular music, course topics include diatonic chord relationships, voice leading, tonal syntax and prolongation, chord inversions, cadences, and non-chord tones.
Prerequisite: MUS-109 or successful completion of placement exam
MUS-209 MUSIC THEORY III: CHROMATIC HARMONY (4)
A continuation of 110, this course explores chromaticism, covering topics such as secondary dominants, modulation, modal mixture, chromatic chords, and the basics of musical form. Students will improve their aural skills and technical vocabulary and increase their musical creativity through composition.
MUS-210 MUSIC THEORY IV: CONTEMPORARY TRENDS (4)
The culminating course in the theory sequence, this course explores the dissolution of the tonal system and the alternative means of structuring music that emerge during the 20th and 21st centuries. Topics include advanced chromaticism, nondiatonic scales, nonfunctional pitch centricity, set theory, serialism, and jazz.
MUS-311 ARRANGING AND ORCHESTRATION (4)
This course equips students with the fundamental techniques and aesthetics of scoring for diverse instruments and ensembles, including strings, winds, brass, percussion, and full orchestra. Emphasis is placed on score examination, familiarization with current software applications, and creative instrumentation.
MUS-312 FORM AND ANALYSIS (4)
An examination of musical form drawing parallels between traditional and nontraditional musical practices. Through discussion and study of the classical repertoire, and comparative analysis with jazz, popular, and non-Western music, students will develop versatile tools for the analysis and comprehension of structures and organizing principles in a wide variety of musical styles.
MUS-370 TOPICS IN MUSIC THEORY (4)
Special interest topics in music theory, for example advanced tonal analysis and music perception, offered on an occasional basis according to student interest and as the need arises.
Prerequisite: Either MUS-209 or MUS-210, depending upon the topic
MUS-410 DIRECTED READING (1-4)
Directed reading courses are open to qualified juniors and seniors to pursue reading outside a program's listed courses. Please see the Special Curricular Opportunities section for more information.
MUS-440 DIRECTED RESEARCH (1-4)
Directed research courses are open to junior and senior majors to work with a faculty member on a project related to particular field of intellectual or artistic interest. Please see the Special Curricular Opportunities section for more information.
MUS-450 INTERNSHIP (1-4)
Please see the Special Curricular Opportunities section for more information.
MUS-480 SENIOR SEMINAR (4)
Specialized areas of music designed to meet the needs of students in the seminar.
Open to senior music majors only
MUS-490 SENIOR THESIS (4)
A senior thesis gives superior students the opportunity to write a thesis about a project related to particular field of intellectual or artistic interest. Please see the Special Curricular Opportunities section for more information.
Applied Music Courses
The applied-music fee equates to just over $40 per hour for 14 hour-long individual lessons, or just over $20 per hour for 14 hour-long group lessons. The fee applies to all full-time and part-time students as follows:
- Individual lessons for non-major or minor: $600 per semester.
- Group lessons for non-major or minor (150, 170, 180, 190): $300 per semester.
- Individual lessons on primary instrument/voice for officially declared major or minor also concurrently participating actively in an approved music ensemble: $150 per semester; this subsidized rate covers music minors for the first four semesters of enrollment in one applied-music area.
- Group lessons for minors (or for music majors who are vocalists enrolling in up to 4 semesters of class piano in preparation for the piano-proficiency examination): $75 per semester.
Applied-music fees are charged after the add period ends. To qualify for subsidized applied-music lessons, a student officially must declare her music major or music minor at the Office of the Registrar by the end of the withdrawal period; otherwise the full applied-music fee will be charged.
The college offers one credit for each hour of instruction in applied music; or two credits for an optional junior recital (399) or senior recital (499).
Student may register for half-hour lessons for one-half of the credit and one-half the fee; however, this option is not available for group instruction or for 399 or 499. Students may apply a maximum of 14 credits toward graduation.
The prerequisite for applied music is permission of the department chair.
Applied Music-Class Instruction
(includes courses for absolute beginners)
MUS-150A CLASS PIANO I (1)
Class instruction on piano for beginning students. Students are taught in a piano laboratory, and those who complete 150A will normally proceed into MUS-150B unless the instructor believes the student’s skills are developed sufficiently to warrant her being placed in MUS-151 for individual lessons.
MUS-150B CLASS PIANO II (1)
Class instruction for students who may have had some training on the instrument but whose skills are undeveloped and in need of review. Laboratory instruction for them begins at this level. Students from 150A also elect 150B unless exempted by the instructor. Students with adequate training begin individual lessons in 151.
MUS-150C CLASS PIANO III (1)
Development of skills necessary to demonstrate piano-proficiency competencies required of singers.
MUS-150D CLASS PIANO IV (1)
Continuation of MUS-150C. Completion of all piano-proficiency requirements of singers, including repertoire requirements.
MUS-160A-B CLASS STRINGS I (1)
Beginning instruction for students on the cello in a group setting.
MUS-160B-A CLASS STRINGS II (1)
Continuation of Class Strings I.
170A-A CLASS GUITAR I (1)
Beginning instruction for students with no previous experience with playing the guitar. Introduction to guitar tablature and exposure to easier repertoire including classical, folk and popular material.
170B-A CLASS GUITAR II (1)
Continuation of MUS-170A for advanced beginners.
MUS-180A CLASS VOICE I (1)
Development of elementary singing skills, including fundamentals of vocal technique, diction and pedagogy. Develops self-confidence for small ensemble and solo singing. Repertoire includes popular, musical theatre, classical and traditional music. This course is a prerequisite for further applied-voice study.
MUS-180B CLASS VOICE II (1)
Continuation of MUS-180A for advanced beginners.
MUS-190A CLASS WINDS I (1)
Beginning instruction for students with no previous experience playing a wind instrument.
MUS-190B CLASS WINDS II (1)
Continuation of MUS-190B.
Applied Music-Individual Instruction
(Fees: see above)
Accompanying: MUS-153, MUS-353 (1)
Bassoon: MUS-194, MUS-394 (1)
Cello: MUS-173, MUS-373 (1)
Clarinet: MUS-193, MUS-393 (1)
Composition: MUS-143, MUS-343 (1)
Flute: MUS-191, MUS-391 (1)
Guitar: MUS-175, MUS-375 (1)
MUS-175B is 30 min lesson for 0.5 credits. Fee is $290 per semester.
Harp: MUS-176, MUS-376 (1)
Harpsichord: MUS-141, MUS-341 (1)
Horn: MUS-197, MUS-397 (1)
Improvisation: MUS-156, MUS-356 (1)
Jazz Saxophone: MUS-189, MUS-389 (1)
Oboe: MUS-192, MUS-392 (1)
Organ: MUS-161, MUS-361 (1)
Percussion: MUS-292, MUS-492 (1)
Piano: MUS-151, MUS-351 (1)
Saxophone: MUS-195, MUS-395 (1)
String Bass: MUS-174, MUS-374 (1)
Trombone: MUS-198, MUS-398 (1)
Trumpet: MUS-196, MUS-396 (1)
Tuba: MUS-293, MUS-493 (1)
Viola: MUS-172, MUS-372 (1)
Violin: MUS-171, MUS-371 (1)
Voice: MUS-181, MUS-381 (1)
Junior Recital: MUS-399 (2 credits)
Senior Recital: MUS-499 (2 credits)
Many opportunities exist for participation in musical ensembles for students, staff and faculty. Please visit the Ensembles page for descriptions and audio for each. There are no fees for participating in a music ensemble at Agnes Scott. Some ensembles are open to all without audition, while others require an informal audition and permission of the director, prior to registration for the first time. The ensembles offer one credit per semester and are numbered as follows:
MUS-131 Collegiate Chorale* (1)
MUS-132 Sotto Voce* (1)
MUS-133 Joyful Noise (1)
MUS-134 Orchestra* (1)
MUS-136 Strings Chamber Ensemble* (1)
MUS-137 Keyboard and Winds Chamber Group* (1)
MUS-138 Musical Theatre Workshop* (1)
MUS-139 Jazz Ensemble* (1)
MUS-215 World Percussion (1)
*Prerequisite: Written permission of the ensemble director required for first enrollment.