The M.A. program, offered in the fields of ethnomusicology, historical musicology, and music theory, is designed to acquaint the student with methods of scholarly research. It provides broad general training in addition to opportunities for specialized research in particular areas of inquiry.

Prescribed curricula are flexible, providing latitude to meet diverse individual needs. A thesis is required and the program is normally of two-year’s duration.

Areas of scholarly research emphasis pursued by faculty include Renaissance sacred polyphony; source studies in the music of Bach and other major composers; Reformation and Counter-Reformation; nineteenth-century topics (program music, form, harmony); twentieth-century American music, Second Viennese School; issues in rhythmic analysis; theory construction and analytical method; computer-based analysis; aspects of modern and contemporary music and musical life; and music of East Asia (especially China and Bali). The faculty in performance and composition includes many figures well-known throughout Canada and beyond for their work in concert, on radio, and on CDs.

 

 

Ethnomusicology

Division Chair: Dr. Michael Tenzer

The program is designed to educate scholars and performers both to teach and to engage with the shifting lines of inquiry and methodological debates that define the field. To date the U.B.C. School of Music's Ethnomusicology division faculty have focused their research on Asian musics, especially those of Korea and Indonesia, but the program can accommodate interests in ethnomusicology's wide range of geographic areas and intellectual issues. We strongly encourage performance, close interaction with related disciplines (Anthropology, Area Studies, Sociology, Linguistics, etc.), as well as border crossing within music.

Students with an interest in designing a course of study integrating ethnomusicology with Western theory, composition, or historical musicology are encouraged to inquire. The Ethnomusicology Division is located in the Old Auditorium (Room 206). Students from the social sciences or from Asian studies, with backgrounds in music, are also encouraged to apply, though some remedial work in music may be required.

Entrance Requirements

The candidate must ordinarily possess a B.Mus., B.S., or B.A. degree and demonstrate strengths in a range of musical skills, including musicianship, transcription, and analysis, as well as prose writing skills. No rigid prerequisites are specified but a music major is strongly recommended, including courses in World Music Cultures and close study of individual world areas. Solid grounding in performance and/or fieldwork is an asset. Applicants should demonstrate interest in the practice and perspectives of ethnomusicology in its broadest senses, including its place (and the place of music) in the history of ideas and cultural relations. Predetermination of a focused research topic can certainly be helpful but is not expected at this stage. Sustained interest in European Art Music may prove beneficial. It is also recognized that ethnomusicology is closely related to other disciplines, such as anthropology, sociology, folklore, Asian studies (or other area studies), and linguistics. Students with Bachelor's degrees in these disciplines are encouraged to consider this program and discuss its prerequisites prior to application.

Residence Requirements
The Faculty of Graduate Studies requires Master's students to be in residence on a full-time basis for at least one winter session, and 12 months. For virtually all students, however, two winter sessions of full-time study will be necessary to complete the program as stipulated below. Only in cases of special preparation, such as graduate credits accumulated elsewhere, should students contemplate programs shorter than the two-year norm. On the other hand, students admitted in spite of deficient preparation may have to spend more than two winter sessions earning their degrees.

Faculty may offer students the option of acceleration intoto the Ph.D. in Music (Emphasis on Ethnomusicology) after they have completed one year in the M.A. program.

Curriculum (Total = at least 32 credits)

  • 529 Introduction to Ethnomusicology: History and Orientations - 3 credits
  • 530 Readings in Ethnomusicology - 3 credits
  • 549 Thesis - 6/12 credits (Note 1)
  • 565 World Music Ensemble - 2 credits (Note 2)
  • Two 500-level seminars in Ethnomusicology, Musicology, or Music Theory - 6 credits
  • Music Electives - 6 credits (Note 3)
  • Cognate Electives - 6 credits (Note 4)
  • German, French, or language of area specialization (Note 5)

Notes

  1. Students shall register in Music 549 beginning in the summer session following the first year of study, and remain registered in it through the completion of the program. Where the scope of the project warrants, and at the discretion of the student's committee, a thesis may be accorded as many as 12 credits. Extra thesis credits (beyond the 6-credit norm) will not, however, be acceptable in lieu of required courses unless one or more of the latter are not offered during the student's period in residence.
  2. Graduate students may take up to 6 credits of Music Performance, but only 2 credits may be counted towards the M.A. requirement.
  3. Courses normally chosen from among the area courses (400 level) or from courses in historical musicology (period courses or 500 level courses where background is adequate). Elective courses must be at the 300 level or higher; a maximum of 6 credits of courses at the 300 or 400 level may be counted toward graduate credit.
  4. Courses normally chosen from the related disciplines of anthropology, linguistics, and area studies, in consultation with the student's committee. Elective courses must be at the 300 level or higher; a maximum of 6 credits of courses at the 300 or 400 level may be counted toward graduate credit.
  5. Language area must ideally be related to the student's area of concentration. The examination procedure outlined in Reference 5 of the M.A. program in Historical Musicology will apply. The language requirement may optionally be satisfied by completion of two years of university course work with a minimum of second class standing.

Frequently Asked Questions about Ethnomusicology for Prospective Students

Ethnomusicology PhD Dissertations (completed since 2002)

 

 

Historical Musicology

Division Chair: Dr. David Metzer

The M.A. and Ph.D. programs in musicology at the UBC School of Music offer students advanced training leading to professional careers in teaching and scholarly research. Graduate students enjoy a program that balances sound historical methods with critical interpretation, and forges interdisciplinary connections to music theory, ethnomusicology, and the humanities in general. The musicology faculty's areas of expertise range from Medieval repertories through music of the 21st century, and represent a variety of scholarly approaches and critical methods.

Graduates of UBC's graduate programs in musicology have obtained professional positions at the University of Toronto, University of Victoria, University of Cincinnati, Indiana University, the City University of New York, the City University of London, and elsewhere.

This program is designed to examine the language and notation of music. Students will be identifying the patterns and structures of techniques used by composers across and within genres, styles and historical periods. Our technical approach to analyzing music theory provides students with a strong grasp of concepts encompassing all the elements of music such as rhythm, harmony, melody, form and texture.

Entrance Requirements
The candidate must possess a B.Mus. or B.A. degree which entails completion of the following U.B.C. courses or their equivalents: Music 100/101/105, 200/201/205, 300, and two of 410-415, 120/121, 220/221 and 241. In addition, at least three of the upper level history courses (350, 352, 353, 354, 355, 356, 357) are essential.

Residence Requirements
The Faculty of Graduate Studies requires Master's students to be in residence on a full-time basis for at least one winter session and 12 months. For virtually all students, however, two winter sessions of full-time study will be necessary to complete the program as stipulated. Only in cases of special preparation, such as graduate credits accumulated elsewhere, should students contemplate programs shorter than the two year norm. Moreover, students admitted with deficiencies may have to spend more than two winter sessions in residence.

Curriculum (Note 1) 

  • A.
    500 Advanced Musical Analysis - 3 credits (Note 2)
    512 Directed Individual Studies - 3 credits (Note 2)
    520A Introduction to Music Research - 3 credits (Note 3)
    549 Thesis - 6/12 credits (Note 4)
    German or French (Note 5)
  • B.
    523 Seminar in Medieval Music - 3/6 credits
    524 Seminar in Renaissance Music - 3/6 credits
    525 Seminar in Baroque Music - 3/6 credits
    526 Seminar in Classical Period Music - 3/6 credits
    527 Seminar in Nineteenth-Century Music - 3/6 credits
    528 Seminar in Twentieth-Century Music - 3/6 credits
  • C. Music Electives*
    (*Non-Music electives may be taken as necessary with the Advisor’s approval. Elective courses must be at the 300 level or higher; a maximum of 6 credits of courses at the 300 or 400 level may be counted toward graduate credit.)
    502 The Structure and Function of Music Theories - 3/6 credits
    503 Topics in the History of Music Theory - 3/6 credits
    504 Theories of Non-Tonal Pitch Relationships - 3/6 credits
    511 Topics in Musical Aesthetics - 3/6 credits
    521 Seminar in Performance Practices - 3/6 credits
    522 Seminar in Notation of Polyphonic Music - 3/6 credits
    529 Introduction to Ethnomusicology - 3/6 credits
    531 Seminar in Ethnomusicology - 3/6 credits
    532 Advanced Studies in Music History and Musicology - 3/6 credits
    533 Aesthetics of Music - 3/6 credits
    471 or 571 Music Performance - 2 credits (Note 6)

Notes

  1. The curriculum is normally to comprise at least 30 credits, including all of Section A and at least 9 credits of Section B, with the remaining credits to be drawn from Sections B and C. (If a 12-credit thesis is undertaken, the curriculum will normally involve 36 credits.)
  2. This course may be repeated for credit.
  3. Music 520A must be taken in the first term of graduate study. Students who have had a similar course previously may be exempted from this requirement: please see the Student Advisor or chair of the Graduate Committee. If exempted, students may substitute 3 elective credits.
  4. Students shall register in Music 549 beginning in the summer session following the first year of study, and remain registered in it through the completion of the program. Where the scope of the project warrants it, and at the discretion of the student's committee, a thesis may be accorded as many as 12 credits. Extra thesis credits (beyond the 6 credit norm) will not, however, be acceptable in lieu of required courses unless one or more of the latter are not offered during the student's period of residence.
  5. The German or French reading requirement shall be tested by an examination administered by faculty within the division of Musicology. During the examination the student will be provided with a roughly 500-word excerpt in the original language (generally relevant to the student’s field of research), and given 60 minutes to provide a written translation that demonstrates accurate comprehension of the passage (a polished translation is not required). The student may use a dictionary for this examination. In cases where a faculty member in the division of Musicology is not available or competent to administer such an examination, arrangements will be made with faculty in another department at UBC.
  6. Graduate students may take up to 6 credits of Music Performance, but only 2 credits may be counted towards the M.A. requirement and up to 4 credits for the Ph.D. Although ensemble work may be taken throughout a candidate's residency, these credits may not be counted towards the M.A. or Ph.D. requirement.
 

 

Music Theory

Division Chair: Dr. John Roeder

This program is designed to examine the language and notation of music. Students will be identifying the patterns and structures of techniques used by composers across and within genres, styles and historical periods. Our technical approach to analyzing music theory provides students with a strong grasp of concepts encompassing all the elements of music such as rhythm, harmony, melody, form and texture.

Entrance Requirements
The entering student should have a Bachelor's degree in Music, or a B.A. with a very extensive music component, and should have completed the following U.B.C. music courses or their equivalent: Music 100, 101, 200, 201, 300, 120, 121, 220, 221, 309, 310, keyboard harmony, and any two of 410-415.

Residence Requirements
The Faculty of Graduate Studies requires Master's students to be in residence full-time for at least 12 months including one and no more than five winter sessions. Normally the M.A. in Music Theory, including thesis, will be completed in two years. Students admitted in spite of deficient preparation may have to spend more than two years earning their degrees.

Curriculum (Total = at least 30 credits)
The program includes a minimum of 12 credits in music theory courses at the 500-level, as part of a minimum 24 credits in music at the 500-level.

  • 500 Advanced Musical Analysis - 6 credits (Note 1)
  • 501 Readings in Schenkerian Theory - 3 credits
  • 504 Theories of Non-Tonal Pitch Relations - 3 credits
  • 520A Introduction to Music Research - 3 credits (Note 2)
  • 549 Thesis - 6 credits (Note 3)
  • Graduate Music elective - 3 credits (Note 4)
  • Electives - 6 credits (Note 5)
  • German (Note 6)

Notes

  1. Music 500, a 3-credit course, should be taken twice, each time on a different topic.
  2. Music 520A must be taken in the first term of graduate study. Students who have had a similar course previously may be exempted from this requirement: please see the Student Advisor or chair of the Graduate Committee. If exempted, students may substitute 3 elective credits.
  3. Students shall register in Music 549 beginning in the summer session following the first year of study, and remain registered in it through the completion of the program.
  4. Any 500-level music course, possibly including MUSC 500 again on a third topic.
  5. Any course in music or another subject, at the 300 level or above. Must be approved by the student’s supervisory committee. May include MUSC 410, if the supervisory committee requires it in the student’s program. A maximum of 6 credits of courses at the 300 or 400 level may be counted toward graduate credit.
  6. The German reading requirement may be met by passing the Educational Testing Service's GSFLT in German or by passing German 433 and 434 (6 credits) at U.B.C. No substitution of another language may be made.

Thesis
The thesis will be an essay of substantial scope, comprising expository discussion, appropriate illustrative material (graphs, figures, musical examples), and a bibliography.  As a general rule, the thesis as a whole ought not to exceed 80 pages in length, including examples.

Often, the thesis will be an analysis of a major work or a group of shorter works. Such analysis should be a significant contribution to the literature either in that it treats a work or repertoire previously untreated or insufficiently explored, or because it approaches its subject from a perspective in some way original.

The thesis may also be:

  • a) a study focusing on a particular analytical issue as it applied to a specific musical repertory;
  • b) a taxonomic study (e.g. a classification of harmonic progression found in a particular repertory);
  • c) a diachronic study, in which the evolution of a structure or a structural device is explored;
  • d) a critical study, focusing on an issue treated in the contemporary literature of music theory;
  • e) an historical study, dealing with the work of an important theorist and possibly involving translation;
  • or f) another topic approved by the student's committee.

Continuation to the Ph.D. in Music Theory
Students accepted to the Ph.D. program will have usually completed a M.A. degree in music (usually but not necessarily in music theory), and will normally have demonstrated their ability for independent scholarly work in the form of a written thesis. Students in the M.A. program who anticipate continuing to the Ph.D. at U.B.C. immediately upon completion of the M.A. requirements (including the thesis) are recommended to augment their course loads slightly by including two of the theory courses required for the Ph.D. (502, 503, or 511).

Exceptionally, a student who has completed 18 credits in the first year of the M.A. program in music theory may be offered admission directly into the Ph.D. (without the M.A. thesis requirement) if the student has demonstrated sufficient mastery of theoretical notions and sufficient development as a scholarly writer. 

 

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