University of Pittsburgh

Composition Track

You can  view complete descriptions for Department of Music courses by visiting

Composition Track           42 credits           Music BA Curriculum

This track is intended for students interested primarily in creating music of any genre, acoustic or electroacoustic. A solid background in music history, music theory (including tonal harmony and 20th-21st century techniques) and musicianship is essential for composers, as is competence on an instrument or voice. Students will have the opportunity to hear their music read or performed by guest performers and ensembles as well as groups such as the University Orchestra. Students will develop their individual musical voices through close mentorship by faculty and will create a final portfolio of their compositional work. Download the Course Requirement Completion Checklist.

PREREQUISITE COURSE (must be completed prior to declaring the Music Major):

MUSIC 0100 – Fundamentals of Western Music – 3 credits

  • Students must earn a letter grade of B- or better in this course in order to declare a Music Major or Minor
  • Students may elect to take the Music Theory placement exam in lieu of enrolling in MUSIC 0100. A passing grade of 80% is required in order for the placement exam to meet this requirement.

CORE COURSES [21 credits]

   credits    course number & name

3        MUSIC 0222:           Music History 1

3        MUSIC 0411:           Theory 1

1        MUSIC 0412:           Musicianship 1

1        MUSIC 0416:           Musicianship 2

3        MUSIC 1310:           Introduction to Global & Popular Music

3        MUSIC 0711:           History of Jazz    -OR-

          MUSIC 1326:           Afro-American Music in the US

1        MUSIC ____:           Performance course (1 per semester)

1        MUSIC ____:           Performance course (1 per semester)

1        MUSIC ____:           Performance course (1 per semester)

NB: Performance courses are either private lessons or ensembles.

Must include at least one world music ensemble, to be selected from the following:

MUSIC 0615: Carpathian / MUSIC 0660: African Drumming / MUSIC 0690: Gamelan

3        MUSIC 1904:           Senior Seminar

NB: All Core and Required Courses must be completed prior to registering for

MUSIC 1904: Senior Seminar. MUSIC 1903: Senior Project may be taken concurrently.

1        MUSIC 1903:           Senior Project

NB: See separate document detailing Senior Project parameters


   credits    course number & name

3        MUSIC 0224:           Music History 2

3        MUSIC 0415:           Theory 2

3        MUSIC 0417:           Theory 3

3        MUSIC 0419:           Theory 4

3        MUSIC ____:           One elective from the 1200, 1300, or 1400 level

Two composition courses to be selected from the following (6 total credits):

3        MUSIC 1421/1422:  Composition 1/2

3        MUSIC 1431:           Instrumentation & Orchestration

3        MUSIC 1441:           Electronic & Computer Music 1

3        MUSIC 1442:           Electronic & Computer Music 2


Schedule an appointment to speak with Prof. Roger Zahab, Director of Undergraduate Studies or Dr. Susan Rice, Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Return to the Undergraduate Homepage

Copyright 2009 | Site by UMC Web Team