Professors Dolan, Niblock (Chair)
Music is a creative art form in which sounds are selected and combined to be heard over time. It is also a means of communication and expression. The study of music enables consumers (listeners), re-creators (performers), and creators (composers) to increase their understanding of both the sounded and written aspects of musical language. Departmental courses accommodate a wide variety of musical backgrounds so that students can either begin or continue their musical development in three different areas:
- Music Theory courses that concern the sound materials that are used to construct musical works, their organization into systems, and their interrelationships, which give rise to musical significance. Students learn to recognize and reproduce the basic elements both in sound and in notation, both in isolation and in complete musical contexts.
- Music History courses that concern musical style; its historic progression through different times, places, and cultures; and specific composers and works which contributed to that progression. Students learn to recognize by sound and sight the ways in which musical elements are combined as compositional conventions: within a particular work, within the output of a composer, and by different composers in a particular time or place.
- Courses that focus on performance, the actual production of music in sound. As the physical requirements of playing different instruments are applied to the elements of the score and to interpretative decisions, the potential of notation becomes the reality of sounded music. Repertoire for soloists is studied individually in applied lessons; repertoire for groups of performers is studied in ensembles.
Students who wish to declare a performance minor in Music may be asked to perform a solo work for Department faculty so that appropriate advising can be offered regarding performance requirements. All student musicians are encouraged to take the Music Placement Exam and to begin lessons as early as possible in their time at Allegheny.
Music Learning Outcomes
Successful Music students are expected to:
- Demonstrate a broad understanding of Music Theory and Music History both as categories of musical significance and with regard to specific works and composers;
- Demonstrate competence as a performer on the chosen instrument both in solo and ensemble repertoire.
- Understand tools and methods used in musical research and be able to analyze sources accurately and critically.
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