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The Music BA: Musicology (HiTEC) Track

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. There is no audition, performance, or recital requirement for the Music BA track in musicology.

Meet our Musicology Faculty
Monica HershbergerJames KimballMichael Masci

rite of spring

early recording

Program Requirements: 45 credits

Every student declaring a Music BA elects to focus in either Music Performance; Musicology HiTEC; Jazz and American Music Studies; or Music Business, Recording, and Production. Regardless of area of study, all students begin with a set of basic requirements that balance training in musicianship with methods for critical inquiry. Students electing to focus in Musicology complete additional, specialized coursework as described below. 

Musicianship and Critical Methods Requirement

The basic requirements for the Music BA balance training in musicianship with methods for critical inquiry and exploration of our rich musical world.

Total Credits: 26

Musicianship Requirement

  • MUSC 139, 140  Piano I and II (2cr)
  • MUSC 189  Elements of Music Theory (3cr)
  • MUSC 256  Elements of Diatonic Harmony and Polyphony (3cr)

Critical Histories and Methods

  • MUSC 236, 327 Thinking through Music I and II (6cr) 
  • MUSC 226 Music History I: Music in the European City, 1685-1803 (3cr)
  • MUSC 227 Music History II: Key Figures in Music History, Beethoven to Beyoncé (3cr)
  • MUSC 315 Music Analysis (3cr)
  • MUSC 331-339 Seminar in Musicology or Ethnomusicology (3cr)
Additional Musicology (HiTEC) Requirements

Total Credits: 19

One course chosen from (3cr):

  • MUSC 217 Jazz in America
  • MUSC 222 History of American Musical Theatre 
  • MUSC 231 Introduction to Ethnomusicology
  • MUSC 232 Folk Music in America

Electives, chosen from (16cr):

  • Music History, Theory, Criticism and Ethnomusicology
  • Harmony, Composition, and Conducting
  • Music Business, Recording and Production

For a complete listing of course numbers and titles, as well as courses the meet the elective requirement, see the Musicology HiTEC information sheet.

Program Design

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 are 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

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

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.