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The Hartt School

Music History

Hartt’s music history program enables you to explore Western music in its historical and cultural contexts. From broad survey courses to in-depth special seminars, majors, minors, you gain a comprehensive understanding of all periods of Western music.

Music History at Hartt

As an important feature of our curriculum is flexible elective courses that are suited to your interests and needs, our electives are often designed with our current students in mind. To that end, courses offered within the last two years have included opera history, string quartet literature, C.P.E. Bach, pre-tonal theory and analysis, medievalism in modern media, cognitive psychology, and critical editing; students may also take courses on jazz and African-American musical traditions in the Jackie McLean Jazz Studies Division.

In addition to our rigorous coursework, you will participate in a number of our performance organizations, including our Baroque ensemble, the Collegium Musicum. Hartt’s wide collection of early instruments, including recorders, Renaissance lutes and flutes, harpsichords, clavichord, baroque bows, shawms, and sackbuts, are available for use and provide you with an active and creative learning environment.

Within the music history major, you will choose between scholarship and research emphasis or performance practices emphasis. Our scholarship and research emphasis systematically investigates various elements of music in written papers, employing a rigorous scholarly approach. Our performance practice emphasis combines your interest in performing with the study of treatises, earlier performance techniques, ornamentation, and related issues.

Minor in Music History

The minor in Music History is open to all Hartt and non-Hartt students who wish to broaden their experience in this subject. Hartt graduate students may also complete a minor in music history or music history pedagogy.

Both undergraduate and graduate students must complete 18.5 credits.

Degree Requirements

At the bachelor’s and master’s levels, students may choose either an emphasis in research or performance practices; at the master's level, students may also choose an emphasis in music history pedagogy. 

The Scholarship and Research emphasis helps students to become familiar with an array of scholarship, methodologies, and approaches to the critical investigation of musical practices past and present. Students pursuing this emphasis will hone their insights through rigorous coursework, systematically written papers, and oral presentations, leading to a bachelor's or master's thesis.  Learn more about the bachelor’s or master’s emphasis in scholarship and research.

Master's students may also choose the music history pedagogy emphasis, designed for students pursuing a terminal master's degree who wish to further hone their teaching skills and mastery of musicological issues for use on K-12 or other educational situations, or for students who wish to go on to doctoral level study with the added benefit of a thorough pedagogical background. Students pursuing this emphasis will not only engage in high-level music history coursework but also complete our music history pedagogy seminar (open to all graduate students) and choose from an array of courses in our robust music education division. This emphasis also culminates in a master's thesis.

The performance practice emphasis combines the student's interest in performing with the study of treatises, earlier performance techniques, ornamentation, and related issues. Learn more about the or bachelor’s or master’s emphasis in performance practice.

Admission and Audition Requirements

Bachelor of Music

Undergraduate applicants are required to interview with a member of the Hartt Music History faculty. The interview provides an opportunity for the applicant to discuss the program and a career in music history. It also allows the faculty member to learn more about the applicant's background and training in music. Undergraduate applicants are also required to audition on a classical instrument or voice. The audition ensures that the applicant is at a performance level sufficient to participate in one of the school's ensembles, an essential component of the music history program.

Master of Music

Applicants to the master’s degree program should have a bachelor’s degree in music history or its equivalent

Scholarship and Research Emphasis

Applicants in Music History- Scholarship and Research emphasis are required to interview with a faculty member in the music history department. The required research paper must be received at least two weeks prior to the interview.

Performance Practice Emphasis

Applicants in the music history/performance practice emphasis are required to interview with a faculty member in the music history department.  The required research paper must be received at least two weeks prior to the interview. A classical instrument or voice audition is also required. Learn more about the audition requirements.  

Music History Pedagogy Emphasis

Applicants in Music History with an emphasis on Music History Pedagogy are required to interview with a faculty member in the music history department.The required research paper must be received at least two weeks prior to the interview.

All new, incoming graduate students will take placement exams during the week of orientation to determine the appropriate course of study and whether subject review courses are necessary.

Music History Minor

Minors in music history are offered at the bachelor's and graduate levels. Applicants must secure approval, through an interview, from the music history department chair.  A change of major form must be completed to add the minor and requires the signature of the student’s advisor, music history chair and Academic Studies division director. The minor is open to both Hartt and non-Hartt students.

Music History Pedagogy Minor 

We also offer a doctoral-level minor in music history pedagogy, offering students focused in fields such as performance, composition, or conducting an opportunity to become well-rounded candidates for educational positions in which they might also find themselves teaching music history courses. Applicants must secure approval, through an interview, from the music history department chair.  A change of major form must be completed to add the minor and requires the signature of the student’s advisor, music history chair and Academic Studies division director.

Music History Faculty

The music history department faculty at Hartt is unique and each of our members enjoys a dual career as a performer and a scholar. The Music History faculty specialize in topics that span the history of notated Western music, ranging from medieval music theory and performance to twentieth-century modernism, from opera and German Romantics to film and video game music, from Händel to hip hop. We also engage with our areas of interest from a multitude of perspectives, drawing not just on traditional historical methods but also on methodologies stemming from ethnomusicology, ludomusicology, cognitive and psychological theories, and other approaches.

Recent work has been published in respected journals such as Plainsong & Medieval Music, Musica Disciplina, Music and Letters, Journal of Musicological Research, Music Analysis, Early Music America, and Händel-Jahrbuch, in various Oxford Handbooks and Bibliographies, and in Bärenreiter scores.

Music History Faculty

Karen Cook
Associate Professor of Music History
Music History
History and Philosophy

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Kenneth Nott
Professor of Music History
Music History
History and Philosophy

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Thomas Schuttenhelm
Artist Teacher
Music History
History and Philosophy

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Music History Forum

Founded in 1987, the Music History Forum has brought accomplished musicologists to The University of Hartford campus. In addition to providing students an array of professional development workshops, reading and discussion groups, and opportunities to workshop and present their own research, this program brings in several guest scholars each academic year for lectures that are open to the broader community. Past speakers include Ashon Crawley, John Daverio, Donald Greig, Barbara Heymen, Eric Hung & Leslie Li, Darren Mueller, and Christi Jay Wells.

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