University of Pittsburgh

Global & Popular Music Track

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Music BA Curriculum   42 credits

Global & Popular Music Track

Dr. Adriana Helbig, Advisor –


The global and popular music major offers students an interdisciplinary grounding in the study of diverse musical expressions in contemporary and historical perspective. This major offers theoretical and methodological training in the study of global and popular music and engages students with cutting-edge ethnographic research. Analyzing global and popular musics within a broader context of postcolonial, technological, and transnational development, the major engages the ever-changing balance between traditional and modern ideas of music in systems of learning, performance techniques, and ways of writing and recording music. Courses in rock, hip-hop, and the musics of Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and East Asia give students extensive grounding in the disciplines of ethnomusicology and popular music studies. 


Prerequisite course:   

MUS 0100         Fundamentals of Western Music          (3 cr.)


Core Courses for this track - 21 credits


MUS 0411 Theory 1 (3 cr.)

MUS 0412, 0416 Musicianship 1&2 (2 cr.)

MUS 0224 Music History 2 (3 cr.)

MUS 1310 Intro to Global/Popular Music (3 cr.)

MUS 0711 History of Jazz, or (3 cr.)

MUS 1326 African American Music in the US

MUS 1904 Senior Seminar * (3 cr.)

MUS 1903 Senior Project (1 cr.)

  Performance: 3 semesters (3 cr.) 

World music ensembles (1 credit each):   MUS 0549 Tabla

MUS 0615 Carpathian, MUS 0660 African Drumming, MUS 0690 Gamelan


Global & Popular Music Track additions = 21


MUS 0415 Theory 2 (3 cr)

ANTH 0780 Intro to Cultural Anthropology (3 cr)

Upper level popular music course* (3 cr)

Upper level ethno course** (3 cr)

Upper level ethno course** (3 cr)

Upper level ethno course** (3 cr)


*Popular music courses: MUS 0844 Music of the Beatles, MUS 1327 Global Hip-Hop

** Non-western music courses: MUS 1332 Music in Latin America,

MUS 1340 Music in Africa, MUS 1352 Music in Southeast Asia,


Prerequisite course:  Music 0100 must be passed with at least a “B-” grade before a student is accepted as a Music Major.


*The Senior Project may consist of a recital, a paper, an oral presentation, or other culminating project suitable to the interests and abilities of the student.  Ambitious Senior Projects could be taken as a “Special Topics-Directed Research” for 1 credit. 


* Senior Project: Each student plans a Senior Project under the guidance of a faculty member, and signs a written agreement signed by the faculty members and submitted to the Director of Undergraduate Studies that maps out the project from beginning to completion.  The project might grow out of or result from the Senior Seminar.


The Senior Project should showcase the student’s strengths and interests, whether it is:

1) performing a solo recital;

2) performing in a chamber ensemble recital;

3) having an original composition performed;

4) presenting a research paper, in either written or oral form; or

5) other type of project.

The faculty member may be regular full-time faculty, or a part-time instructor of performance or ensembles employed by the University to teach in the Music Department.  The faculty member will guide and monitor the quality of the Senior Project.


The more ambitious student who wishes to prepare and present a solo recital for 1 credit (registered as “Special Topics-Directed Research”) would write a biographical sketch of each composer represented on the recital program, write program notes, find and pay an accompanist, reserve a recital venue, and publicize the event (i.e. do sufficient work to justify the credit).


NOTE: Majors may accumulate up to 60 credits in music courses that count towards graduation.  Additional electives may be selected depending on the interests of the student from these: MUS 1222 Medieval & Early Renaissance, MUS 1224, Later Renaissance & Baroque, MUS 1226 Classical & Early Romantic, MUS 1228 Late Romantic & Early 20th Century, MUS 1230 Music since 1945, MUS 1242 Major Composer, MUS 1252 History of Performance Styles, MUS 1332 Music in Latin America, MUS 1340 Music in Africa, MUS 1352 Music in Southeast Asia, MUS 1327 Global Hip Hop, MUS 1360 Gypsy Music, MUS 0844 Music of the Beatles, MUS 1421 Composition 1, MUS 1422 Composition 2, MUS 1431 Instrumentation & Orchestration, MUS 1441 Electronic & Computer Music 1, MUS 1442 Electronic & Computer Music 2


Departmental Honors: To graduate with "Departmental Honors," a student must earn a minimum 3.25 QPA overall, a minimum 3.50 QPA in the music courses with no grade lower than a B-, take the Department's Honors course (Senior Seminar MUSIC 1904 or other designated course) and complete a Senior Project for at least one credit.

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