Skip to main content

Graduate Course Descriptions

For a complete listing of courses, please refer to the UCSD General Catalog.


Music 201A. Projects in New Music Performance: Just Intonation (1-4 units)

Performance of contemporary music. Different sections represent active performance ensembles. A core requirement for graduate degree students as outlined in the curriculum. The number of units is based on work performed by agreement with instructor. See instructors for additional information. Additional Description: This workshop will focus on the intricate tuning issues of extended just intonation. It will begin with the 5 limit intervals and chords exploring difference tone tuning, enharmonic issues and the syntonic comma. The workshop will include the prime number partials 7, 11 and 13 with many of the chroma associated with those partials. Of particular interest is the general application of utonality as presented and used by Partch and Johnston. Maximum of 7 students with consent of instructor. Instructor: John Fonville

Offered: Winter

Music 201A. Projects in New Music Performance: (1-4 units)

Performance of contemporary music. Different sections represent active performance ensembles. A core requirement for graduate degree students as outlined in the curriculum. The number of units is based on work performed by agreement with instructor. See instructors for additional information. New students should attend graduate auditions during Welcome Week. Additional Description: Instructor: M.Dresser

Offered: Winter

Music 201A. Projects in New Music Performance: Palimpsest (1-4 units)

Performance of contemporary music. Different sections represent active performance ensembles. A core requirement for graduate degree students as outlined in the curriculum. The number of units is based on work performed by agreement with instructor. See instructors for additional information. New students should attend graduate auditions during Welcome Week. Additional Description: Rehearsals and performance of works by Reynolds, Stockhausen, Frey and Qingqing Wang. Instructor: Aleck Karis

Offered: Winter

Music 201A. Projects in New Music Performance: Opera (1-4 units)

Performance of contemporary music. Different sections represent active performance ensembles. A core requirement for graduate degree students as outlined in the curriculum. The number of units is based on work performed by agreement with instructor. See instructors for additional information. New students should attend graduate auditions during Welcome Week. Additional Description: "Kallisti Chamber Opera" Project. Three performances of chamber opera repertoire, TBD. Enrollment by permission of instructor.  Instructor: Susan Narucki

Offered: Spring

Music 201A. Projects in New Music Performance: Quiet Music (1-4 units)

Performance of contemporary music. Different sections represent active performance ensembles. A core requirement for graduate degree students as outlined in the curriculum. The number of units is based on work performed by agreement with instructor. See instructors for additional information. New students should attend graduate auditions during Welcome Week. Additional Description: "Quiet Music Ensemble". Professor Erik Carlson

Offered: Spring

Music 201B. Projects in New Music Performance: Improvisation Ensemble (1-4 units)

Performance of contemporary music. Different sections represent active performance ensembles. A core requirement for graduate degree students as outlined in the curriculum. The number of units is based on work performed by agreement with instructor. See instructors for additional information. New students should attend graduate auditions during Welcome Week. Additional Description: Improvisation Workshop. Instructor: Anthony Davis

Offered: Winter

Music 201B. Projects in New Music Performance (4 units)

This laboratory introduces the methods of Butch Morris' Conduction idiom; a platform for conducted compositional language and improvisatory experimentation. Defined by Morris as "an improvised duet for ensemble and conductor", participants will perform in a residency at the Loft throughout the month of February. Discussion and evaluation of other conducted improvisational techniques including Walter Thompson's Soundpainting and Anthony Braxton's Language Music will also be explored. Instrumentalists from all areas including electronics are welcome and prior experience improvising is not necessarily required. Instructor: Stephanie Richards

Offered: Winter

Music 201C. Projects in New Music Performance: Percussion Ensemble (rfbf) (1-4 units)

Performance of contemporary music. Different sections represent active performance ensembles. A core requirement for graduate degree students as outlined in the curriculum. The number of units is based on work performed by agreement with instructor. See instructors for additional information. New students should attend graduate auditions during Welcome Week. Additional Description: Percussion Ensemble red fish blue fish. Instructor: Steven Schick

Offered: Fall,Winter,Spring

Music 201D. Projects in New Music Performance: Composition Juries (1-4 units)

Performance of contemporary music. Different sections represent active performance ensembles. A core requirement for graduate degree students as outlined in the curriculum. The number of units is based on work performed by agreement with instructor. See instructors for additional information. New students should attend graduate auditions during Welcome Week. Additional Description: First year Collaborative Projects for Performers and Composers. Only first year performance students can enroll in this course. Instructor: Steven Schick

Offered: Fall,Winter,Spring

Music 201D. Projects in New Music Performance: 2nd Year Juries ( units)

Offered: Fall

Music 202. Advanced Projects in Performance (1-4 units)

Advanced performance of new music with members of the performance faculty (SONOR). Students taking this course do not need to take Music 201 that quarter. Enrollment by consent of instructor/director of SONOR. Additional Description: Students must submit a Performance/Project Proposal Form (located on the Music Intranet) to the Graduate Advisor. This form must include titles, composers, instrumentation, duration, proposed course credit, performers, and have supervising faculty and Performance Chair approval. Each group will be mentored by a member of performance faculty. May be taken in lieu of 201.  The number of units is based on work performed by agreement with instructor. See instructors for additional information. For FALL only: Students may (but are not required to) present the work(s) in public performance.

Offered: Fall,Winter,Spring

Music 203A-B-C-D. Advanced Projects in Composition (6,6,6,1-4 units)

Meetings and laboratory sessions devoted to the study of composition in small groups. Consent of instructor required. Additional Description: The composition seminar, required of all entering graduate composers, is taught on a rotating basis by the Music Department composition faculty and has several purposes: to intensify the collegiality of student composers both with regard to ideas and techniques and to become better acquainted with each other's outlooks and needs in order to achieve the most congenial and productive match-ups between faculty and students for subsequent individual study. Seminars typically include group meetings and individual attention as appropriate. Composition Juries - At the end of the first Fall quarter in residence (in January), and again following Spring quarter (in October), all new graduate composition students are reviewed in juries by the composition faculty. Following the performance and discussions of the day, the composition faculty meets to assess the students' work. Details about the jury process are provided during Welcome Week and throughout the quarter. Instructor: Rand Steiger

Offered: Fall,Winter,Spring

Music 204. Focus on Composition (2 units)

The purpose of this seminar is to bring in the entire population of the graduate composition program (all students and faculty) for in-depth discussion of critical issues in music theory and composition. Each meeting will feature a formal presentation by either a student, faculty member, or visitor, followed by lively and challenging debate on relevant issues. Additional Description: Seminar meets throughout the year on a biweekly basis in the evening. Participation is required of all enrolled graduate composition students every quarter in residence. Other students are welcome to participate. Each session begins with a one-hour talk (including recordings) by the featured composer, followed by at least one hour of discussion. Lively and challenging debate on relevant issues is encouraged. Instructors: Chinary Ung (Fall), Lei Liang (Winter), and Rand Steiger (Spring)

Offered: Fall,Winter,Spring

Music 205. Focus on Integrative Studies (2 units)

Meets on a biweekly basis to facilitate presentations by advanced students and invited guests and to encourage in-depth discussion between students, faculty, and visitors about theoretical and artistic issues of interest. Participation is required of all enrolled IS students until advanced to candidacy. Others are welcome to participate. Additional Description: Instructors: Sarah Hankins (Fall), Amy Cimini (Winter), and Nancy Guy (Spring)

Offered: Fall,Winter,Spring

Music 206. Experimental Studies Seminar: Listening Room (4 units)

Additional Description: Listening Room: Affect, Aesthetics, Politics This experimental and experiential course centers listening as an embodied, performative, psychoanalytic and ethical act. We will explore modes, practices and theories of listening through immersive engagement with musical works and sound art pieces across diverse "genres," and in varied spatial/territorial configurations. Coursework will include regular reading, writing and discussion, as well as creative projects and staging/performance opportunities. Instructor: Professor Sarah Hankins.

Offered: Fall

Music 206. Experimental Studies Seminar: Weather Systems (4 units)

"Weather Systems," will be an examination of the expanding performance practice of percussion as seen through the live performance of important works from the percussion repertoire. Though percussionists will be very welcome in the class, you'll see from the syllabus that our work will be aimed at any performer interested in developing robust models of interpretation, at composers who wish to explore percussion sounds, and at scholars who are interested in examining a developing performance practice in light of important musical issues of the day. The schedule of performances is subject to change, but the experience of works in live performance will be a core idea of the class. Additional Description: In "Weather Systems," Music 206, we will seek to address interpretive, compositional, and cultural issues by examining percussion solo and chamber music. While percussionists will be welcome in the class, the intended student cohort is a diverse one, not exclusively percussionists or even performers. This course might be of interest to interpreters of any instrument who seek to develop interpretative models for their own playing, to composers who wish to understand the deeper structures within the rich lexicon of percussive sounds, and finally to anyone interested in examining a developing performance practice in relation to the important questions of its time. In each class, we will consider a work or works of percussion music—whenever possible in live performance—and examine the interpretive and compositional dimensions of the work in light of a proposed theme. Please see the syllabus below. The schedule subject to change. Students will be asked to write two essays, of exactly 1,000 words each, that elaborate the relationship between a piece of music and a theme of the student's design. Instructor: Professor Steven Schick

Offered: Fall

Music 206. Experimental Studies Seminar: Exploring timbre through psychoacoustics and instr (4 units)

Additional Description: During the 2019 academic year, there is a pair of 206 seminars (FQ and WQ) concerning the composing, rehearsing, recording, and performance of instrumental etudes for a fixed quartet (violin, bass clarinet, trombone, and percussion). The shared purpose of the two seminars is the exploration of the relationship between psychoacoustics, timbre, and the imaginative design of instrumentation. The seminars are related to an international consortium, ACTOR, that emanates from McGill University in Montréal. Fall Quarter concentrates on the psychoacoustic and behavioral grounding of the project and the composition of individual "timber etudes" by seminar members. The Winter Quarter concentrates on discussing and rehearsing the works composed, recording the outcome, revising for improvements and then a second period of rehearsal and recording. For more details consult Professors Reynolds (FQ) and Steiger (WQ).

Offered: Fall

Music 207. Critical Studies Seminar: Music & Politics in East Asia (4 units)

This seminar will examine the relationship between music and politics in East Asia. Fundamental to the subject are ancient Chinese writings on the power of music to shape society as well as relations between heaven and earth. Over the course of the seminar, we will consider case studies from medieval and early 20th century China, the policies and operas of the Cultural Revolution, and political entanglements of pop singers in the 21st century-China. Anti-nuclear protest music in Japan and music's role in national branding and protest in contemporary Korea will also be investigated. Additional Description: "Jazz Criticism & Historiography: Reading Between the Lines." Andy Fry. Since its hazy origins almost a century ago, jazz has been one of the most hotly debated of all musics, both in the US and around the world. Imbued, of course, with discourses of race, nation and culture, it has also engaged key debates of gender, sexuality, geography, hybridity and class. In this seminar we will discuss both historical texts (from the outraged middle classes of the twenties and thirties through the Civil Rights era and beyond) and recent studies attempting to make sense of this complicated legacy for jazz and jazz studies today. We will therefore be examining processes of reception, transmission, and the writing and re-writing of history (as well as the ideologies that inform them) that are of wide import to a critical engagement with any music. No specialist knowledge of jazz will be required, although students with no background would do well to familiarize themselves with one of the basic texts in advance. Analytical paper required.

Offered: Spring

Music 207. Theoretical Studies Seminar (4 units)

Seminars on subject areas relating to the established dimensions of music and in which theoreticians have produced a substantial body of work. These include studies in analysis, timbre, rhythm, notation, and psychoacoustics. Offerings vary depending on faculty availability and interest. Analytical paper required.

Offered: Winter,Spring

Music 210. Musical Analysis: Analysis and the Extrapolation of Principles (4 units)

The analysis of complex music. The course will assume that the student has a background in traditional musical analysis. The goal of the course is to investigate and develop analytical procedures that yield significant information about specific works of music, old and new. Reading, projects, and analytical papers. Prerequisites: graduate standing in music; others by written consent of instructor and department stamp. Additional Description: This offering divides the Quarter into two parts: In the first five weeks, analyses are presented by the instructor. The last five involve presentations by designated grad Groups from the seminar. The goal is to re-conceive analytic discoveries, extrapolating principles so that they may become useful tools/approaches in any creative endeavor. The members of the seminar are divided into equal groups, each identified with one of the five subject works. The group members are discussants for the instructor's presentations during the first half of the Quarter, then collaborate to reach a consensus-extrapolation which they present during the second half. The subject works are: Xenakis: Achorripsis [Resource Identity and Utilization], Cage: Solo For Piano from the Concert for Piano and Orchestra [Strategies of Invention/Procedure], Feldman: Triadic Memories [Strategies of Re-contextualizing for Scale], Saariaho: Orion (I. Memento mori, II. Winter Sky, III. Hunter) [Utilization of Graphic and Poetic Stimuli; Post-spectralist Orchestration], Takasugi: Sideshow [Multi-media Dimensionality] Instructor: Roger Reynolds

Offered: Winter

Music 211. Introduction to Ethnomusicology (2 units)

Introduces the field of ethnomusicology by highlighting important thinkers, concepts, and issues and by orienting students toward work of an anthropological, ethnographic, or comparative nature. Students who have taken and passed MUS 208A may not get credit for MUS 211. Fall 2018 Placeholder for MUS 215A.

Offered: Fall

Music 215A. Seminar in Integrative Studies I (4 units)

Seminar discussions and individual meetings devoted to the interdisciplinary study of music, sound, and society. Students are introduced to key ideas, important thinkers, and influential practitioners in an array of related fields, and are invited to explore the intersecting roles of culture, cognition and creativity, and how musical behaviors and phenomena relate to matters of ideology, nationality, ethnicity, social class, race, and gender. Instructor: Jann Pasler Additional Description: This course is part of a year-long core sequence required of all entering graduate students in the Integrative Studies program. It is taught on a rotating basis by faculty in the Integrative Studies area. Students are evaluated through regular writing assignments, and, on completion of the entire core sequence (MUS 215 A-B-C), students take a preliminary examination designed to evaluate one's command of the course materials and of scholarly research and writing conventions more broadly.

Offered: Fall

Music 215B . Seminar in Integrative Studies II: Music Ethnography (4.0 units)

Seminar discussions and individual meetings devoted to the interdisciplinary study of music, sound, and society. Students are introduced to key ideas, important thinkers, and influential practitioners in an array of related fields, and are invited to explore the intersecting roles of culture, cognition and creativity, and how musical behaviors and phenomena relate to matters of ideology, nationality, ethnicity, social class, race, and gender. Instructor: Nancy Guy Additional Description: Integrative Studies Seminar: Music Ethnography (MUS 215B) This course familiarizes students with music scholarship that employs ethnographic and oral history research methods. Students will critique recent and classic works primarily drawn from the ethnomusicological literature, engage in practical writing exercises, and produce a major research project.

Offered: Winter

Music 215C. Seminar in Integrative Studies III (4 units)

Seminar discussions and individual meetings devoted to the interdisciplinary study of music, sound, and society. Students are introduced to key ideas, important thinkers, and influential practitioners in an array of related fields, and are invited to explore the intersecting roles of culture, cognition and creativity, and how musical behaviors and phenomena relate to matters of ideology, nationality, ethnicity, social class, race, and gender. Instructors: David Borgo and Anthony Davis Additional Description: This course is part of a year-long core sequence required of all entering graduate students in the Integrative Studies program. It is taught on a rotating basis by faculty in the Integrative Studies area. Students are evaluated through regular writing assignments, and, on completion of the entire core sequence (MUS 215 A-B-C), students take a preliminary examination designed to evaluate one's command of the course materials and of scholarly research and writing conventions more broadly.

Offered: Spring

Music 215D. Seminar in Integrative Studies IV (4 units)

Meetings on a group basis with integrative studies faculty in support of individual student research projects.

Offered: Not offered this year

Music 228. Conducting (4 units)

This course will give practical experience in conducting a variety of works from various eras of instrumental and/or vocal music. Students will study problems of instrumental or vocal techniques, formal and expressive analysis of the music, and manners of rehearsal. Required of all graduate students. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. (Offered in selected years.) Additional Description: Core requirement for all graduate students. May be offered in alternate years. Instructor: Steven Schick

Offered: Spring

Music 229. Seminar in Orchestration (4 units)

A seminar to give practical experience in orchestration. Students will study works from various eras ofinstrumental music and will demonstrate their knowledgeby orchestrating works in the styles of these various eras, learning the capabilities, timbre, and articulation of all the instruments in the orchestra. Prerequisite: graduate standing. (Offered in selected years.). Instructor: Chinary Ung

Offered: Winter

Music 232. Pro-Seminar in Music Performance (4 units)

Individual or master class instruction in advanced instrumental/vocal performance. Prerequisite: consent of instructor through audition. Additional Description: Taken every quarter by students with an emphasis in Performance. Instructors: Performance faculty

Offered: Fall,Winter,Spring

Music 234. Symphonic Orchestra (4 units)

Repertoire is drawn from the classic symphonic literature of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries with a strong emphasis on recently composed and new music. Distinguished soloists, as well as The La Jolla Symphony Chorus, frequently appear with the orchestra. The La Jolla Symphony Orchestra performs two full-length programs each quarter, each program being performed twice. May be repeated six times for credit. Prerequisites: audition required. Additional Description: Students participating must enroll for credit. Instructor: Steven Schick

Offered: Fall,Winter,Spring

Music 245. Focus on Performance (2 units)

The purpose of this seminar is to bring together performance students, faculty, and guests for discussion, presentation of student and faculty projects, performances by guest artists, and master classes with different members of the performance faculty. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. (S/U grade option only). Additional Description: A regular gathering of all the performance graduate students for music-making and discussion; presentation of student and faculty projects; performances by guest performers; master classes with different members of the performance faculty. Meets biweekly. Taken by Performance emphasis MA students every quarter in residence, and DMA students every quarter until advancement to candidacy. Instructors: Performance faculty

Offered: Fall,Winter,Spring

Music 252. Integrative Studies Seminar in Systems Inquiry (4 units)

Traces the development of systems thinking and encourages work of a transdisciplinary nature, integrating models, strategies, methods, and tools from natural, human, social, and technological realms.

Offered: Not offered this year

Music 270A. Digital Audio Processing (4 units)

Digital techniques for analysis, synthesis, and processing of musical sounds. Sampling theory. Software synthesis techniques. Digital filter design. The short-time Fourier transform. Numerical accuracy considerations. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. Additional Description: Part of the three-course sequence 270ABC for first year Computer Music students. Digital techniques for analysis, synthesis, and processing of musical sounds. Sampling theory. Software synthesis techniques. Digital filter design. The short-time Fourier transform. Numerical accuracy considerations. Tamara Smyth

Offered: Winter

Music 270C. Compositional Algorithms (4 units)

Transformations in musical composition; series and intervalic structures; serial approaches to rhythm and dynamic. The stochastic music of Xenakis and Cage. Hiller's automatic composition. Improvisational models. Computer analysis of musical style. Neurally inspired and other quasiparallel algorithms. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. Additional Description: M. Puckette. Part of first year computer music sequence.

Offered: Spring

Music 270D. Advanced Projects in Computer Music (4 units)

Meetings on group basis with computer music faculty in support of individual student research projects. Prerequisites: consent of instructor and completion of Music 270A-B-C. Additional Description: Taken by Computer Music emphasis MA students every quarter of the second year, and PhD students every quarter in residence, after completion of the 270ABC sequence.

Offered: Fall,Winter,Spring

Music 271A. Survey of Electronic Music Techniques (2 units)

A hands-on encounter with several important works from the classic electronic repertory, showing a representative subset of the electronic techniques available to musicians. Intended primarily for students in areas other than computer music. Prerequisite: none. Additional Description: Composition emphasis students may petition through the Graduate Advisor to substitute Music 271 for the Music 291 core requirement.

Offered: Winter

Music 271B. Survey of Electronic Techniques II (4 units)

A continuation of 271A, with emphasis on live interactive techniques (e.g., audio processing; analysis/resynthesis; score following). Prerequisite; Music 271A. Additional Description: Composition students may petition through the Graduate Advisor to substitute this for the Music 291 core course. SP19 Instructor: N. Diels

Offered: Spring

Music 271C. Survey of Electronic Techniques III (4 units)

A continuation of 271A and B, with emphasis on compositional techniques (e.g., computer aided composition; production; spatialization). Prerequisite; Music 271B. Additional Description: Composition students may petition through the Graduate Advisor to substitute this for the Music 291 core course. FA18 Instructors: Steiger/Puckette

Offered: Fall

Music 272. Seminar in Live Computer Music (4 units)

Projects to create new pieces of electronic music involving research in electronic music and/or instrumental techniques. May be repeated for credit. Additional Description: Instructor: N. Diels

Offered: Fall

Music 291. Music Research Methods (2 units)

Consideration and development of research methods appropriate to graduate-level scholarship and practice-based research. Additional Description: Composition emphasis students may petition through the Graduate Advisor to substitute Music 271 for the Music 291 core requirement. May be offered in alternate years.

Offered: Fall

Music 298. Directed Research (1-4 units)

Individual research. (S/U grades permitted.) May be repeated for credit. Enrollment by consent of instructor only. Additional Description: Research with selected faculty on individual basis, with units per agreement between student and faculty. Six unit minimum required specifically for preparation of PhD/DMA qualifying exams, normally taken with each of the Music committee members for S/U grade.

Offered: Fall,Winter,Spring

Music 299. Advanced Research Projects and Independent Study (1-12 units)

Individual research projects relevant to the student's selected area of graduate interest conducted in continuing relationship with a faculty adviser in preparation for the master's thesis or doctoral dissertation.(S/Ugrades permitted.) Additional Description: Six unit minimum required in preparation of MA thesis. Twelve units quarterly required after PhD/DMA qualifying exams, to prepare for doctoral dissertation; normally taken with music committee chair and/or members for S/U grade.

Offered: Fall,Winter,Spring

Music 500. Apprentice Teaching (1-4 units)

Participation in the undergraduate teaching program is required of all graduate students at the equivalentof 25 percent time for three quarters (six units is required for all graduate students). Additional Description: All TAs must simultaneously enroll in Music 500 with the course instructor each quarter in which they are a TA. Participation in the undergraduate teaching program is required of all graduate students at the equivalent of 25% time for three quarters, or 33% for two quarters (6 units of Music 500). Units correspond to hours of work per week. Enroll as follows: 2 units = 10 hours (equivalent to 25% TA), 3 units = 13.5 hours (equivalent to 33% TA), and 4 units = 20 hours (equivalent to 50% TA.). It is the student's responsibility to seek out teaching experiences to acquire 6 units of Music 500 if no TA is assigned. NOTE: New TAs also enroll in FALL quarter for 1 unit of MUS 501 with the department Faculty TA Advisor, Prof. Sarah Hankins, for New TA Training.

Offered: Fall,Winter,Spring

Music 501-. Teaching Methods (4,4 units)

Consideration and development of pedagogical methods appropriate to undergraduate teaching. Additional Description: TAs with appointments in a non-Music department or college (e.g. 6th College) with a MUSIC department instructor enroll in Music 501, instead of 500, as follows: 2 units = 10 hours (equivalent to 25% TA), 3 units = 13.5 hours (equivalent to 33% TA), and 4 units = 20 hours (equivalent to 50% TA.). TA's must enroll in MUS 501 in FALL quarter only with Prof. Sarah Hankins for New TA Training.

Offered: Fall