Master of Music: Composition

Program Overview

Rider’s program in composition, music history and theory aims to develop the aural skills needed by all musicians, to provide the necessary theoretical knowledge for the continuing study and performance of music, to develop analytical and esthetic understanding of music forms and styles, and to foster the creative impulse in music.

Curriculum Overview

Composition majors are expected to write works for soloists, for chamber ensembles, and for large wind or orchestral ensembles. The department welcomes diversity of compositional styles and esthetic viewpoints and encourages exploration on the part of its students. The program culminates with a recital of original music written while a student is enrolled at Westminster.

Elective courses provide students with opportunities to apply their skills to specific areas of inquiry after satisfying specific prerequisites.

Westminster maintains a music computing facility in which students can compose, orchestrate, and print their compositions in publishable quality using computers interfaced with sampler/synthesizers as well as sequencing and music printing software.

Degrees Offered

  • M.M. in Composition

Contact

Sharon Mirchandani, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair of Music Composition, History, and Theory
Williamson Hall 44
609-921-7100, ext. 8313
smirchandani@rider.edu

Program Website:  www.rider.edu/wcc
Associated Department:  Music Composition, History and Theory

Related Programs

  • Music Education
  • Choral Conducting

Faculty

Sharon Mirchandani (chair) • Professor, Music History, 1997. B.M., Bowling Green State University; M.M., Temple University; Ph.D., Rutgers University.
Christian Carey • Associate Professor, Theory, 2004.  B.M., Juilliard; M.M., Boston University; Ph.D., Rutgers University.
Charles Frantz • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Theory/Music History, 2000. B.M., M.M., Temple University; Ph.D., Rutgers University.
R. Douglas Helvering • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Theory, 2009. B.M., University of Nebraska; M.M., Westminster Choir College; D.M.A., University of Kansas.
Ronald A. Hemmel • Professor, Theory, and Director, Music Computing Center, 1994. B.M., Westminster Choir College; M.M., James Madison University; M.Phil., Ph.D., Rutgers University.
Eric Hung • Associate Professor, Music History, 2004. A.R.C.T., Royal Conservatory of Music; B.A., Wesleyan University; Ph.D., Stanford University. 
Jay Kawarsky • Professor, Theory, 1989. B.M.E., Iowa State University; M.M., D.M., Northwestern University.
Anthony Kosar • Professor, Theory,  1984. B.M., West Liberty State College; M.M., Southern Illinois University; Ph.D., The Ohio State University. 
Carmen Mateiescu • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Theory/Music History, 2007. B.M., M.M., University of Music (Bucharest); Ph.D., Rutgers University.
Joel Phillips • Professor, Theory, 1985. M.M., Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester; B.M., D.M.A., University of Alabama. 
Stefan Young • Professor, Theory, 1979. B.M., Rollins College; M.M., The Juilliard School; Ph.D., Rutgers University.

Learn more about General Graduate Requirements.

Major Area
TH 645AComposition Primary (3 terms)9
TH 655Composition Project3
Select three of the following:9
Keyboard Harmony
Electroacoustic Music
Seminar in Music Theory
Analysis
Core
MH 731Intro to Musicology3
CR 509Symphonic Choir (2 terms)2
Theory or Music History elective (1 graduate level course)3
Core elective (1 course) 13
Electives
Free electives6
Total Credits38

Notes

1

The core elective must be a single, 3-credit graduate-level course outside the student’s major area, area of emphasis, and/or area of applied study.

2

Following authorization from the department, composition majors must present a public recital of original works written while enrolled as a graduate student at Westminster Choir College.

The following educational plan is provided as a sample only.  Rider students who do not declare a major during their freshman year; who change their major; or those who transfer to Rider may follow a different plan to ensure a timely graduation.  Each student, with guidance from his or her academic advisor, will develop a personalized educational plan.

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
Fall SemesterCredits
CR 509 Symphonic Choir 1
TH 645A Composition Primary 3
MH 731 Intro to Musicology 3
Select 1 of the following: 3
Keyboard Harmony  
Electroacoustic Music  
Seminar in Music Theory  
Analysis  
 Semester Credit Hours10
Spring Semester
CR 509 Symphonic Choir 1
TH 645A Composition Primary 3
Theory or Music History Elective (graduate) 3
Free elective (graduate) 3
 Semester Credit Hours10
Year 2
Fall Semester
TH 645A Composition Primary 3
Core Elective 3
Select 1 of the following: 3
Keyboard Harmony  
Electroacoustic Music  
Seminar in Music Theory  
Analysis  
 Semester Credit Hours9
Spring Semester
TH 655 Composition Project 3
Free Elective 3
Choose 1 from the following: 3
Keyboard Harmony  
Electroacoustic Music  
Seminar in Music Theory  
Analysis  
 Semester Credit Hours9
 Total Credits38

Courses and Descriptions

MH 608 Graduate Music History Review 3 Credits

Required for graduate students who are admitted with deficiencies in music history, as determined by the graduate placement test in music history. It is strongly recommended that this course be taken at the outset of graduate study.

MH 635 Public Musicology 3 Credits

A graduate-level introduction to the many ways musicology can engage with communities and events outside the academy. Topics include music criticism, oral history, museum education, archives, and cultural tourism.

Prerequisite(s): Graduate Standing; removal of all Music History deficiencies.

MH 690 Independent Research & Study 1-3 Credits

Students may pursue a special topic for which they have prepared through prior course work. Only one project may be scheduled in a semester. The project may involve 1-3 credit hours. Approval of the faculty sponsor, department chair, and dean required prior to the first day of the semester in which the project is to be completed. Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 required.

Prerequisite(s): graduate standing.

MH 731 Intro to Musicology 3 Credits

Introduction to the basic tools of research in historical musicology in order to foster: (1) an awareness of the nature and scope of historical musicology as a scholarly discipline; (2) familiarity with the techniques of musicological research; (3) an understanding of the relationship between musicological research and performance practice; and (4) experience in the application of musicological techniques to specific musical works and issues. It is strongly recommended that this course be taken at the outset of graduate study. Required for all Master of Music candidates.

MH 733 Seminar in Music History 3 Credits

The content of the course will vary with the special interests and qualifications of the professor teaching it.

Prerequisite(s): Removal of all music history deficiencies, it is strongly recommended that MH 731 be taken prior to this course.

MH 734 Proseminar in Music USA 3 Credits

A graduate-level introduction to the scholarly study of music in the U.S. Readings will cover music in Colonial/Early America, Western art music, popular music, and music of various ethnic communities.

Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing; removal of all Music History deficiencies.

MH 750 Thesis I 3 Credits

Independent research under faculty supervision leading to a master's thesis. Students register for this course in their first term of thesis research.

Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing, removal of all Music History deficiencies.

MH 751 Thesis II 3 Credits

Independent research under faculty supervision leading to a master's thesis. Students register for this course beginning in their second term of thesis research.

Prerequisite(s): Graduate Standing, removal of all Music History deficiencies, MH 750.

TH 511 New Music Ensemble 1 Credits

This course provides an opportunity to perform new music, primarily works of fellow students. It will also provide instrumentalists an opportunity to develop their performance skills more fully.

TH 550 Keyboard Harmony 3 Credits

An intense exploration of and drill in musicianship-keyboard skills, including score reading, transposition, modulation, clef reading, figured bass realization, harmonizing melodies, improvising and lead sheet accompanying. Projects may include transposition of a number of songs (perhaps a complete set) into all keys, figured bass realization for a Bach cantata, improvisation of service music (prelude, offertory, interludes, chorale preludes, postlude), multiple re-harmonizations of hymns/chorales for a service and score reduction and performance of a movement of an orchestral work. May be taken as an undergraduate level II theory elective.

Prerequisite(s): Undergraduate, minimum "C-" grade in TH 241; Graduate, Removal of all theory deficiencies.

TH 608 Graduate Musicianship Review 4 Credits

Required for graduate students admitted with deficiencies in musicianship as determined by the graduate placement test in musicianship. This course assists students in learning and integrating aural, performance, analytical and composition skills. Both the theoretical and the practical portion must be passed individually in order to receive a passing grade. It is strongly recommended that this course be taken at the outset of graduate study.

TH 622 Electroacoustic Music 3 Credits

Advanced opportunities for creative activities utilizing the resources of Westminster’s Music Computing Center. Previous experience with sequencers and/or digital audio is expected.

Prerequisite(s): Removal of all music theory deficiencies.

TH 623 Seminar in Music Theory 3 Credits

The content of the course bearing this number will vary with the special interests and qualifications of the professor teaching it.

Prerequisite(s): Undergraduate, minimum "C-" grade in TH 241 and permission of instructor, or graduate student standing and removal of all music theory deficiencies.

TH 625 Composition 3 Credits

Class instruction in original composition. Projects and presentations.

Prerequisite(s): Graduate student standing and removal of all music theory deficiencies.

TH 645A Composition Primary 3 Credits

TH 645C Composition Elective 2 Credits

TH 645D Composition Elective 1 Credits

TH 645E Composition Primary 3 Credits

TH 645F Composition Primary 1 Credits

TH 655 Composition Project 3 Credits

Graduate-level private study in composition culminating in a major composition in one of the larger forms.

Prerequisite(s): three semesters of TH 645.

TH 690 Independent Research and Study 1-3 Credits

Students may pursue a special topic for which they have prepared through prior course work. Only one project may be scheduled in a semester. The project may involve 1-3 credit hours. Approval of the faculty sponsor, department chair, and dean required prior to the first day of the semester in which the project is to be completed. Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 required.

Prerequisite(s): graduate standing.

TH 726 Analysis 3 Credits

A study of the compositional process as observed in selected tonal works, using the analytical approach of Heinrich Schenker.

Prerequisite(s): Removal of all music theory deficiencies.

TH 511 New Music Ensemble 1 Credits

This course provides an opportunity to perform new music, primarily works of fellow students. It will also provide instrumentalists an opportunity to develop their performance skills more fully.

TH 550 Keyboard Harmony 3 Credits

An intense exploration of and drill in musicianship-keyboard skills, including score reading, transposition, modulation, clef reading, figured bass realization, harmonizing melodies, improvising and lead sheet accompanying. Projects may include transposition of a number of songs (perhaps a complete set) into all keys, figured bass realization for a Bach cantata, improvisation of service music (prelude, offertory, interludes, chorale preludes, postlude), multiple re-harmonizations of hymns/chorales for a service and score reduction and performance of a movement of an orchestral work. May be taken as an undergraduate level II theory elective.

Prerequisite(s): Undergraduate, minimum "C-" grade in TH 241; Graduate, Removal of all theory deficiencies.

TH 608 Graduate Musicianship Review 4 Credits

Required for graduate students admitted with deficiencies in musicianship as determined by the graduate placement test in musicianship. This course assists students in learning and integrating aural, performance, analytical and composition skills. Both the theoretical and the practical portion must be passed individually in order to receive a passing grade. It is strongly recommended that this course be taken at the outset of graduate study.

TH 622 Electroacoustic Music 3 Credits

Advanced opportunities for creative activities utilizing the resources of Westminster’s Music Computing Center. Previous experience with sequencers and/or digital audio is expected.

Prerequisite(s): Removal of all music theory deficiencies.

TH 623 Seminar in Music Theory 3 Credits

The content of the course bearing this number will vary with the special interests and qualifications of the professor teaching it.

Prerequisite(s): Undergraduate, minimum "C-" grade in TH 241 and permission of instructor, or graduate student standing and removal of all music theory deficiencies.

TH 625 Composition 3 Credits

Class instruction in original composition. Projects and presentations.

Prerequisite(s): Graduate student standing and removal of all music theory deficiencies.

TH 645A Composition Primary 3 Credits

TH 645C Composition Elective 2 Credits

TH 645D Composition Elective 1 Credits

TH 645E Composition Primary 3 Credits

TH 645F Composition Primary 1 Credits

TH 655 Composition Project 3 Credits

Graduate-level private study in composition culminating in a major composition in one of the larger forms.

Prerequisite(s): three semesters of TH 645.

TH 690 Independent Research and Study 1-3 Credits

Students may pursue a special topic for which they have prepared through prior course work. Only one project may be scheduled in a semester. The project may involve 1-3 credit hours. Approval of the faculty sponsor, department chair, and dean required prior to the first day of the semester in which the project is to be completed. Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 required.

Prerequisite(s): graduate standing.

TH 726 Analysis 3 Credits

A study of the compositional process as observed in selected tonal works, using the analytical approach of Heinrich Schenker.

Prerequisite(s): Removal of all music theory deficiencies.