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Music

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Below is a list of some courses, including a brief description, that you may find yourself taking during your first year of this program. For formal policies governing mandatory courses and the order in which they have to be completed, please refer to the Undergraduate Calendar.

Some Courses You May Take

Prerequisite(s): Successful audition required. Auditions are held in the first week of classes in September. Students in Level II and above may have the antirequisite for this course waived if they complete a successful audition. Only 12 units of Ensemble Performance courses will count towards a Music degree.
Antirequisite(s): MUSIC 1GC3 A/B, 1GF3 A/B, 1GJ3 A/B, 1GP3 A/B, 1GR3 A/B, or 1GW3 A/B
Prerequisite(s): Successful audition required. Auditions are held in the first week of classes in September. Students in Level II and above may have the antirequisite for this course waived if they complete a successful audition. Only 12 units of Ensemble Performance courses will count towards a Music degree.
Antirequisite(s): MUSIC 1GB3 A/B, 1GF3 A/B, 1GJ3 A/B, 1GP3 A/B, 1GR3 A/B or MUSIC 1GW3 A/B
Prerequisite(s): Successful audition required. Auditions are held in the first week of classes in September. Students in Level II and above may have the antirequisite for this course waived if they complete a successful audition. Only 12 units of Ensemble Performance courses will count towards a Music degree.
Antirequisite(s): MUSIC 1GB3 A/B, 1GC3 A/B, 1GJ3 A/B, MUSIC 1GP3 A/B, 1GR3 A/B, MUSIC 1GW3 A/B
Prerequisite(s): Successful audition required. Auditions are held in the first week of classes in September. Students in Level II and above may have the antirequisite for this course waived if they complete a successful audition. Only 12 units of Ensemble Performance courses will count towards a Music degree.
Antirequisite(s): MUSIC 1GB3 A/B, 1GC3 A/B, 1GF3 A/B, 1GP3 A/B, 1GR3 A/B or 1GW3 A/B
Prerequisite(s): Successful audition required. Auditions are held in the first week of classes in September. Students in Level II and above may have the antirequisite for this course waived if they complete a successful audition. Only 12 units of Ensemble Performance courses will count towards a Music degree.
Antirequisite(s): MUSIC 1GB3 A/B, 1GC3 A/B, 1GF3 A/B, 1GJ3 A/B, 1GR3 A/B or 1GW3 A/B
Prerequisite(s): Successful audition required. Auditions are held in the first week of classes in September. Students in Level II and above may have the antirequisite for this course waived if they complete a successful audition. Only 12 units of Ensemble Performance courses will count towards a Music degree.
Antirequisite(s): MUSIC 1GB3 A/B, 1GC3 A/B, 1GF3 A/B, 1GJ3 A/B, 1GP3 A/B, or 1GR3 A/B
Prerequisite(s): Successful audition required. Auditions are held in the first week of classes in September. Students in Level II and above may have the antirequisite for this course waived if they complete a successful audition. Only 12 units of Ensemble Performance courses will count towards a Music degree.
Antirequisite(s): MUSIC 1GB3 A/B, 1GC3 A/B, 1GF3 A/B, 1GJ3 A/B, 1GP3 A/B, or 1GR3 A/B
The analysis and writing of functional harmony. Includes study of music by J.S. Bach and others. Three lectures; one term
Prerequisite(s): Registration in a Music program, or registration in Honours B.Sc. (Music Cognition Specialization), or Honours B.A. (Music Cognition Specialization). Permission of the department may also be granted for students with a grade of 80 percent on RCM Advanced Rudiments (within the last two years) or those passing qualifying tests (administered on selected dates between February and May), if space permits.
Antirequisite(s): Music 1CC3
Continuation of MUSIC 1CA3
The analysis and writing of functional harmony. Includes study of music by J.S. Bach and others.
Three lectures; one term
Prerequisite(s): MUSIC 1CA3; and registration in a Music program, or registration in Honours B.Sc. (Music Cognition Specialization) or Honours B.A. (Music Cognition Specialization), or permission of the instructor if space permits
Sight-singing, dictation, and keyboard harmony.
One lecture, two labs, one tutorial; one term
Prerequisite(s): Registration in a Music program, or permission of the instructor if space permits
Antirequisite(s): Music 1D03
Continuation of MUSIC 1DA3.
Sight-singing, dictation, and keyboard harmony.
One lecture, two labs, one tutorial; one term
Prerequisite(s): Music 1D03 or 1DA3, and registration in a Music program or permission of the instructor if space permits
Intensive study of the technique and repertoire of any orchestral instrument, piano, organ, harpsichord, voice, recorder, saxophone, or guitar.
12 one-hour meetings per term; two terms
Prerequisite(s): Registration in a Music program
An introduction to thinking, researching and writing about music as a product of the culture in which it is practiced. Both Western and non-Western examples will be considered.
Three lectures; one term
Prerequisite(s): Registration in a Music program
Antirequisite(s): Music 1B03 and 1BB3
Introduction to basic biological principles for students without Grade 12 Biology U.
Three lectures; one term
Not open to students with credit in Grade 12 Biology U.
This course introduces the scientific methods used to study the psychology of higher order processes and interpersonal behaviour. Students interested in applying to an Honours Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour program are encouraged to take PSYCH 1X03 rather than PSYCH 1F03.
Lecture, web modules, weekly tutorials (three hours); one term
Antirequisite(s): PSYCH 1F03, 1N03
It is recommended that students without Grade 12 Biology U complete BIOLOGY 1P03 prior to or concurrently with this course. Not open to students with credit or registration in ISCI 1A24 A/B or registered in B.Sc.N. Conestoga campus.
This course introduces important themes as the foundations to investigate psychology, neuroscience and behaviour with an emphasis on sensory systems, and behaviours critical to survival.
Lecture, web modules, weekly tutorials (three hours); one term
Prerequisite(s): Grade 12 Biology U or credit or registration in one of BIOLOGY 1A03, 1M03, 1P03; or registration in a Nursing program; or registration in Level I or above of an Arts & Sciences program
Antirequisite(s): PSYCH 1NN3
Not open to students with credit or registration in ISCI 1A24 A/B or students registered in the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) (B.H.Sc.) program or B.Sc.N. Conestoga campus.
An introductory survey of Western music, from Gregorian chant to the time of Bach and Handel. Emphasis is on important composers and their works in relation to their society and culture. No previous knowledge of music required.
Three lectures; one term
Not open to students registered in any Music program.
An introductory survey of Western music, from the time of Mozart to the present. Composers studied include Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Verdi, Wagner, Debussy, and Stravinsky. No previous knowledge of music required.
Three lectures; one term
Not open to students registered in any Music program.

The following degree options are available to students within Music:

  • Honours Bachelor of Music
  • Honours Bachelor of Music (Music Cognition)
  • Combined Honours Bachelor of Arts in Music and Another Subject
  • Bachelor of Arts Music
  • Minor in Music

Diploma in Music Performance

The Diploma recognizes a concentration in the area of music performance and can be completed concurrently with a Music degree or with a degree in another subject. Students who are not in the Music program must complete an audition before being admitted to the Diploma.

Students take solo performance courses and accompanying and chamber music, leading up to the special final year solo performance course Music 4E09, which culminates in a recital presentation of approximately forty minutes duration. Since Music 4E09 may not be used for credit towards any McMaster degree, students pursuing the Diploma must plan their work to accommodate nine extra units.

Career or Options Beyond This Program

  • music education
  • music business management
  • musicology
  • music therapy
  • music cognition research
  • publishing
  • performance
  • government service
  • human resources
  • law
  • public relations

Some Courses You May Take

Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level II or above, MUSIC 1GB3 A/B, and successful audition
Auditions are held in the first week of classes in September. Only 12 units of Ensemble Performance courses will count towards a Music degree.
Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level II or above, MUSIC 1GC3 A/B or 1GW3 A/B, and successful audition
Auditions are held in the first week of classes in September. Only 12 units of Ensemble Performance courses will count towards a Music degree.
Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level II or above, MUSIC 1GF3 A/B, and successful audition
Auditions are held in the first week of classes in September. Only 12 units of Ensemble Performance courses will count towards a Music degree.
Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level II or above, MUSIC 1GJ3 A/B, and successful audition
Auditions are held in the first week of classes in September. Only 12 units of Ensemble Performance courses will count towards a Music degree.
Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level II or above, MUSIC 1GP3 A/B, and successful audition
Auditions are held in the first week of classes in September. Only 12 units of Ensemble Performance courses will count towards a Music degree.
Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level II or above, MUSIC 1GR3 A/B, and successful audition
Auditions are held in the first week of classes in September. Only 12 units of Ensemble Performance courses will count towards a Music degree.
Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level II or above, MUSIC 1GC3 A/B or 1GW3 A/B, and successful audition
Auditions are held in the first week of classes in September. Only 12 units of Ensemble Performance courses will count towards a Music degree.
A survey of music traditions of non-European cultures, e.g., far Eastern, Indian, African.
Three lectures; one term
Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level II or above
Antirequisite(s): CMST 2Q03
Basic techniques of playing classical guitar. Repertoire for guitar ensemble for various educational levels. Not open to students who have completed a solo performance course in guitar.
Three lectures; one term
Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level II or above of any program and permission of the School of the Arts.
Antirequisite(s): MUSIC 3CG3
Students must provide a classical guitar and foot rest.
An examination of how music functions to help create meanings in film and television programs. Examples will be drawn from throughout the history of film and television.
Three lectures; one term
Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level II or above
Antirequisite(s): CMST 2T03, THTRFLM 2T03

While co-op and internships are not currently offered for the Music program, there are many performance opportunities available.

Performance Opportunities

All Music programs at McMaster involve performance, both solo and ensemble. There are many opportunities to perform in public, such as the Student Concert Series for soloists and chamber groups. All students receive private lessons in their principal instrument or voice, and must also participate in one of the seven important ensembles sponsored by the School of the Arts:

  • McMaster Chamber Orchestra
  • McMaster Concert Band
  • McMaster Jazz Band
  • McMaster University Flute Ensemble
  • McMaster Percussion Ensemble
  • McMaster University Choir
  • McMaster Women’s Choir

Admission to these ensembles is by audition and is open to music and non-music students.

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8:30 a.m.
MUSIC 1B03

History of Western Music (Lecture)

HUMAN 1QU3

Insight and Inquiry (Lecture)

HUMAN 1QU3

Insight and Inquiry (Lecture)

MUSIC 1CC3

Harmony (Lecture)

9:30 a.m.
MUSIC 1CC3

Harmony (Lecture)

MUSIC 1B03

History of Western Music (Lecture)

10:30 a.m.
ENGLISH 1C06 A/B

History of English Literature (Tutorial)

11:30 a.m.
MUSIC 1B03

History of Western Music (Lecture)

HUMAN 1QU3

Insight and Inquiry (Tutorial)

12:30 p.m.
MUSIC 1E06

Solo Performance

1:30 p.m.
ENGLISH 1C06 A/B

History of English Literature (Lecture)

ENGLISH 1C06 A/B

History of English Literature (Lecture)

MUSIC 1D03

Aural Skills (Lecture)

2:30 p.m.
MUSIC 1D03

Aural Skills (Lecture)

3:30 p.m.
MUSIC 1D03

Aural Skills (Lab)

4:30 p.m.
MUSIC 1GB3

Ensemble Performance

5:30 p.m.

Students studying music have access to:

  • large rehearsal rooms
  • practice rooms
  • seminar rooms, several equipped with two grand pianos
  • multimedia classrooms
  • a multimedia classrooms large instrument collection, including string, wind, brass and percussion instruments
  • Mills Memorial Library’s extensive music section
  • Music Cognition Laboratory
  • an on-campus concert hall with a world-class Steinway piano

Profiles & Alumni


Ryan Peplinski
Music graduate
Ryan Meeboer
Music graduate