In the University of Pittsburgh Department of Music, we make music through composition, improvisation, and performance, and explore music’s meaning in the structure of individual works, the relationships between them, and their place in the cultures that produce them. The sensory and practical cannot be separated from the theoretical and abstract in the musician’s world. Thus, music enjoys a special place in our endeavor to understand ourselves.
Students from throughout the University, regardless of declared major, are encouraged to pursue these interests by participating in the Department’s multi-faceted program. The Department of Music has assembled a diverse faculty, including experts in composition, performance, theory, history, jazz, and ethnomusicology, and is committed to conducting its activities within an atmosphere that encourages communication and cooperation within that diversity.
Students interested in taking applied lessons or participating in performing ensembles are encouraged to contact the appropriate faculty members prior to the start of each semester. Auditions for ensembles are typically held during the first week of classes or by appointment.
View admissions information for Undergraduate students.
Music Major and Minor
The Department of Music confers a bachelor’s degree and a minor in music. Undergraduates interested in pursuing a major in music choose a course of study from among five tracks, which offer broad foundation in music scholarship while tailoring specific elements of music study to the student’s individual talents and interests.
The Composition track is intended for students interested primarily in creating music of any genre, acoustic or electroacoustic.
Global & Popular Music Track
The Global and Popular Music track offers theoretical and methodological training in the study of global and popular music and engages students with cutting-edge ethnographic research.
The Jazz track provides opportunities for each student to develop their individual interests and strengths in jazz performance, composition, and scholarship.
Music & Cultural History Track
The Music & Cultural History track provides students with a background in the history, culture, and practice of music in the Western imagination.
The Performance track is intended for students who want to explore and improve their skills as performers in a wide range of genres.
The Music Minor is intended for students who are interested in supplementing their prior experiences in music. The curriculum includes core courses shared with all tracks of the Music Major, which provide structured study of skills-based musicianship, music theory, history, the study of other traditions, and performance studies.
Students from all over the University participate in ensembles, and are often joined by faculty and members of the community at large.