Carnegie Mellon University

School of Music

Where artistry and innovation share center stage

Composition

With an intense program in composition and a university environment enriched by computer technology, the School of Music places a strong emphasis on contemporary music. All members of the composition faculty are professional composers, who share the creative evolution of their own works with their students in a master/apprentice relationship. Students compose works for all types of instrumental and vocal groupings.

The School of Music’s Contemporary Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, and the School’s resident string quartet provide performance and reading opportunities of new student works. Each spring, the quartet holds a string quartet competition of student works. All entries are presented in a public reading session; the winning composition is then performed and recorded by the quartet.

In their senior year, composition majors compose an orchestral piece to be performed and recorded by the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic. Each year the renowned Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra also presents a public reading of student orchestral pieces from Carnegie Mellon, Duquesne University, and University of Pittsburgh.

The foundation of the Undergraduate curriculum contains five elements:

  • Studio: weekly individualized instruction within a major area of study
  • Theory: to develop listening skills, to acquire theoretical knowledge, to recognize structural techniques, and to manipulate technological resources
  • History: in depth study of western music and survey of non-western styles and structures
  • Ensemble Work: student participation in some of the School of Music Ensembles
  • Academics: one General Studies course outside of the School of Music per semester and six semesters of Elective courses

Carnegie Mellon courses are measured in units rather than credits or credit hours, with three units equaling a standard credit. More information here

COURSE TYPE

SEMESTERS REQUIRED

Music Theory

10

Studio

8

Music History

8

Major Ensemble

6

General Studies Courses

6

Eurhythmics

4

Keyboard Studies

4

Solfege

4

Electives

4

Music Technology

2

Performance Electives

2

Conducting

2

 Theory Teaching

 1

For more specific information regarding curriculum for the undergraduate Composition program please refer to the Undergraduate Course Catalog.