The Music BA: Musicology (HiTEC) Track

Overview: What is Musicology?

If you've ever wondered about the meanings behind Chopin's piano nocturnes, the rich history of folk music in your community, wanted to analyze the changes in Miles Davis' "So What," or compose your own music, then you should explore Musicology at Geneseo! The Music BA with a focus in Musicology HiTEC (History, Theory, Ethnomusicology, Composition) approaches the study of music as a humanistic discipline, critically examining a variety of musical practices and their histories, ranging from the classical to the popular to the non-western. The program takes an integrated approach to the musicological disciplines, bringing a variety of critical, theoretical, and ethnographic perspectives to bear on the study of music. In addition, students may also complete coursework in music composition as part of this focus. 

The structure of the Musicology HiTEC focus is largely elective driven. Students work with an advisor to identify their particular interests and learning goals, leading to a final portfolio of scholarly or creative work.

Program Requirements

For a detailed list of program requirements, including program learning outcomes and course descriptions, please see the College Bulletin.


  • MUSC 139 - Piano I Credit(s): 1
  • MUSC 140 - Piano II Credit(s): 1
  • MUSC 189 - Elements of Music Theory Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 256 - Elements of Diatonic Harmony and Polyphony or  MUSC 258 - Elements of Jazz Harmony Credit(s): 3

Critical History & Methods

  • MUSC 226 - Music History I: Music and the European City, 1685-1803 Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 227 - Music History II: Key Figures in Music History, Beethoven to Beyoncé Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 236 - Thinking Through Music I Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 315 - Analytical Methods Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 327 - Thinking Through Music II Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 331-339 Musicology Seminar Credit(s): 3

Musicology & HiTEC Electives

Students should take 19 credits of electives chosen from the following list.* Electives should include at least one additional course in History, Criticism & Ethnomusicology at the 200 level, and at least 9 credits at the 300 or 400 level. 

Musicology/HiTEC Electives

​​​​​History, Criticism, & Ethnomusicology

  • MUSC 217 - Jazz in America Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 222 - History of American Musical Theatre Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 231 - Introduction to Ethnomusicology Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 232 - Folk Music in America Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 331 - Studies in Keyboard Literature: (subtitle) Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 333 - Studies in Vocal Literature: (subtitle) Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 334 - Music and Film: (subtitle) Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 335 - Studies in Instrumental Literature: (subtitle) Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 336 - Music, Gender, and Sexuality: (subtitle) Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 337 - Music, Race, and Ethnicity: (subtitle) Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 338 - Folk Music in New York State Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 339 - Folk and Popular Music Studies: (subtitle) Credit(s): 3

Harmony, Composition, & Conducting

  • MUSC 256 - Elements of Diatonic Harmony and Polyphony Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 257 - Elements of Chromatic Harmony Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 258 - Elements of Jazz Harmony Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 259 - Elements of Accompaniment and Figured Bass Credit(s): 1
  • MUSC 317 - Orchestration Credit(s): 2
  • MUSC 346 - Jazz Harmony and Improvisation I Credit(s): 2
  • MUSC 347 - Jazz Harmony and Improvisation II Credit(s): 2
  • MUSC 356 - Contemporary Harmony for Composition Credit(s): 2
  • MUSC 357 - Counterpoint Credit(s): 2
  • MUSC 365 - Conducting I Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 366 - Conducting II Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 456 - Composition for the Music Major Credit(s): 2

Music Business, Recording, & Production

  • MUSC 102 - Introduction to Music Technology Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 202 - Introduction to Music Business and Entrepreneurship Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 302 - Music Recording and Production Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 303 - Film and Game Scoring Credit(s): 3

*In addition to the electives listed above, students may also include 3 semesters of ensemble participation (MUSC 160 and 165), three semesters of applied study, and one 3- or 4-credit course, from another humanities or social science discipline, with an emphasis on theory, toward the elective requirement. 

Total: 45 credits

Meet our Musicology Faculty    š

James Kimball
Michael Masci

Program Design š

The Music BA with a focus in musicology is organized around three pillars of study: Musicianship; Critical History, Theory, and Analysis; and Research and Integrated Inquiry. Each area contributes to the achievement of specific learning outcomes.



The first year centers around a year-long course in musicianship, with students receiving instruction in basic solfège, written harmony, keyboard, and aural skills. In addition to written mastery of all music theoretical rudiments, learning outcomes for the first-year musicianship course focus on the development of skills necessary for creative expression in music. These include a conceptual understanding of the rudiments of music theory, including scales, keys, and chords; an ability to sing and transcribe diatonic melodies as well as those that modulate to closely related keys; and an ability to provide a written three- or four-part harmonization of a diatonic melody or bass, as well as those that modulate to closely related and relative keys, making appropriate use of standard cadential and sequential patterns. Students interested in composition continue on to a second year course that focuses on the composition of more complex musical textures along with keyboard and accompaniment technique. 

Critical History, Theory, & Analysis

Critical History, Theory, & Analysis

Students in their second year take a variety of courses introducing them to basic question and methods in music history, ethnomusicology, criticism, and analysis, including the foundational course in "Thinking through Music." These courses provide students with a critical vocabulary for discussing, analyzing, and evaluating claims made about music and its myriad cultural-historical contexts. Following these foundational courses, students may choose from a variety of musicological subfields ranging from ethnographic and archival work, to cultural theory and formal analysis. Upper-division courses also emphasize engagement with scholarly literature and method. 

Research & Integrated Inquiry

Research & Integrated Inquiry

In the final year, students have the option to complete a final portfolio of written or creative work. Beginning in their junior year, students work with their advisor to formulate guiding questions meant to help students direct their research and creative work. The final contents of the portfolio are determined in consultation with the student's advisor. Students frequently present their work at undergraduate conferences or at Geneseo's day-long symposium of undergraduate research, GREAT Day.