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Music Curriculum

Degrees Offered: 

Peformance hall with piano on stage

Courses Offered: 

  • MUSC 101 (4) Music Theory I

     Introductory course designed to develop a thorough foundation in aural and music reading skills. Includes key signatures, time signatures, intervals, major and minor scales, triads, and other essential elements for music study.

    May not be taken for credit by students who received credit for MUSC 203.

  • MUSC 102 (4) Music Theory II

    Provides more advanced work in aural and music reading skills. Includes triads, formal analysis, basic harmonic analysis and other elements for music study.

    May not be taken for credit by students who received credit for MUSC 205.
    Prerequisite: MUSC 101 or consent or instructor.

  • MUSC 120 (3) Introduction to Music

    Comparative study of various musical styles and cultures. Emphasis on basic musical materials, how music is constructed and performed, and the social and cultural milieu in which it is created. Includes concert, folk and popular music from Western Europe, America, Indonesia, North India, Japan, and West Africa, among others. Through listening and analysis, students will learn the fundamentals of music and search for relationships between and commonalities among musical cultures.
  • MUSC 140 (3) Beginning Guitar

    An introduction to guitar performance. Students will learn to read, write, and perform guitar music of progressive difficulty. Emphasis on basic music theory, different levels of guitar technique, scales, chord-building and sight-reading skills.

    May not be taken by students who have received credit for VPA 380L.

  • MUSC 145 (3) Beginning Piano

    An introduction to piano performance. Students will learn to read, write, and perform piano music of progressive difficulty. Emphasis on basic music theory, different levels of piano technique, scales, chord-building and sight-reading skills.

    May not be taken by students who have received credit for VPA 380M and MUSC 130.

  • MUSC 146 (3) Intermediate Piano

    Continuation of the study of piano performance. Completion of intermediate work in piano technique, scales, chord-building and sight-reading skills. The course assumes mastery of all the work in MUSC 145 and will continue with more advanced repertoire.

    May not be taken for credit by students who received credit for MUSC 180-1.
    Enrollment Requirement:MUSC 145 or consent of instructor.

  • MUSC 180 (3) Topics in Music

    Selected topics in music.

    May be repeated for credit as topics change for a total of six (6) units.
    Students should check the class schedule for listing of actual topics.

  • MUSC 194 (1) Vocal Ensemble

    Vocal ensemble specializing in many different musical styles. Performances will include works from jazz, traditional, popular and classical repertoires. Emphasis placed on correct vocal and performance
    techniques and improvement of musical skills.

    May be repeated; a total of four (4) units may be counted toward graduation requirements.

  • MUSC 195 (1) Javanese Gamelan Ensemble

    Exploration of performance practice in traditional Javanese Gamelan music through organized performances of select musical types and forms. Introduces various techniques as a basis for the integration of music, dance, and drama in traditional Indonesian societies.

    May be repeated; a total of four (4) units may be counted toward graduation requirements.

  • MUSC 196 (1) Jazz Ensemble

    Performance group consisting of both traditional and contemporary instrumentation and “jazz” literature, e.g., Ellington, Gillespie, Nestico, Monk, and Davis. Organized performances on CSUSM campus and the broader San Diego County. Study of “jazz” theory and improvisation, transcription, and listening assignments. Students must be able to read music.

    May be repeated for a total of four (4) units.
    Enrollment Requirement: MUSC 101 or consent of instructor.

  • MUSC 201 (4) Music Theory III

    Introduction to counterpoint, and advanced chromatic harmony. 

    Enrollment Requirement: MUSC 102, or equivalent.
    Prerequisite: MUSC 102.

  • MUSC 202 (4) Music Theory IV

    An extension of topics presented in Music 201. Introduction to arranging, composing and analysis - with an emphasis on 20th Century techniques.

    Enrollment Requirement: MUSC 201 or equivalent.

  • MUSC 210 (3) Introduction to Music Technology

    Introduction to computers and their use in a musical context. Includes an historical overview of the field and in-depth investigation of the use of computers and synthesizers in creating musical compositions (both printed and recorded). Students will learn the basics of synthesis, MIDI
    (Musical Instrument Digital Interface, the language by which computers and synthesizers can “talk” to each other), sequencing, computer music notation, and random computer-generated compositional processes.

    Computer ethics and word processing will also be covered. Projects will be completed in Microsoft Word (word processing), Vision (sequencing), Finale (notation), and M (random compositional processes.)

    Two hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory.
    May not be taken by students who have received credit for MUSC 302.

  • MUSC 220 (3) Survey of Western Music

    Chronological survey of the concert music of Western Europe with emphasis on the Baroque, Classical and Romantic Periods. Includes study of composers and their works, instrumentation, form, performance practices and historical context.
  • MUSC 240 (1) Vocal and Instrumental Instruction

    Private or small group music lessons. Students approved for MUSC 240 must be co-enrolled in appropriate ensembles at CSUSM.

    May be repeated; a total of eight (8) units may be counted toward graduation requirements.
    May not be taken for credit by students who received credit for MUSC 293.

  • MUSC 301 (3) Orchestration

    Study of the instruments of the orchestra and their use in the orchestral repertoire. Covers instrument ranges, transposition, technical capabilities, and scoring of vocal ensembles, band, and orchestra instruments.  Projects include arranging of piano and chamber pieces for orchestra.

    Enrollment Requirement: MUSC 202 or equivalent.

  • MUSC 303 (3) Music Analysis

    Advanced work in the analysis of music and the application of current and historical theories. Study of the elements, genre and structures of music using examples drawn from a broad historical and cultural spectrum. 

    Enrollment Requirement: MUSC 202 or equivalent.

  • MUSC 305 (3) Songwriting

    Study of classic forms of songwriting, including Tin Pan Alley and the Blues. Conducted as workshop sessions in which works of students are examined and discussed in depth, then performed utilizing student ensembles. Analysis of important contemporary works, trends, and techniques. Utilizes current music software.

    Enrollment Requirement: MUSC 202 or equivalent.

  • MUSC 306 (3) Studio Composition

    Study and analysis of 20th Century and more recent compositional techniques and trends. Students compose works for chamber ensemble and present them in a final concert.

    Enrollment Requirement: MUSC 202 or equivalent.

  • MUSC 307 (3) Scoring for Film

    Composition in the context of music for film. Includes a short history of film music, study of composers’ approaches and current technology involved in composing for film.

    Enrollment Requirement: MUSC 202 and 210.

  • MUSC 308 (3) Arranging Music

    Introduction to the study of techniques used in arranging music for jazz, pop, and chamber ensembles, including orchestration, notation, rhythmic embellishment, melodic ornamentation, chord substitution, and harmonization techniques.

    Enrollment Requirement: MUSC 202 or equivalent.

  • MUSC 310 (3) Recording Techniques

    A technical review of the art of studio and field recording techniques. Students will learn basic and advanced microphone techniques, the uses of analog and digital recording devices, special signal processing, and digital and analog mixing.

    May not be taken by students who have received credit for MUSC 304.
    Enrollment restricted to students who have obtained consent of instructor.

  • MUSC 311 (3) Advanced Recording Techniques

    Continuation of the study of recording techniques. Includes advanced use of Pro Tools editing software and WAVES plug-in effects, microphone placement, and recording in both a studio and concert setting. Particular attention to advanced editing, mixing and mastering techniques.

    Enrollment Requirement: MUSC 310.

  • MUSC 312 (3) Electronic Music Synthesis

    Covers the elements of analog and digital synthesis with emphasis on additive, FM and wavetable synthesis. Includes a history of the use of synthesizers in the creation of music in the 20th and early 21st Centuries.

    Enrollment Requirement: MUSC 210 or equivalent.

  • MUSC 313 (3) Sampling and Sound Design

    Covers the elements of digital sampling technique with emphasis on proper mic techniques, sampling editing, sample instrument design and implementation. Includes a history of the use of sampling in the creation of music and sound design in the 20th and early 21st Centuries.

    Enrollment Requirement: MUSC 210 or equivalent.

  • MUSC 321 (3) Survey of World Folk Songs

    Study of selected folk songs from the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. Explores issues associated with the context of the songs, their social function, gender, status, and age differences of the performer/composer. Requires students to learn to sing songs in their original language, complete group research projects that focus on a single cultural group, learn the techniques of song analysis, and complete an ethnographic case study with a local folk musician.
  • MUSC 322 (3) Survey of World Music I

    Explores the music of Native Americans, Black music in America, West African music, European folk music, and the music of India. Students will be required to complete an anthropological/ethnomusicological field work study in one of the indigenous music styles in Southern California. The project will include interviews with native informants, field recordings, and other appropriate research.

    May not be taken for credit by students who have received credit for MUSC 421.

  • MUSC 323 (3) Music in Ritual and Religion

    Cross-cultural studies of the music identified with worship. Examples drawn from Africa, Europe, United States, the Caribbean, South America, Islam, East Asia, and India.
  • MUSC 324 (3) Survey of World Popular Music

    An introduction both to the great diversity of the world’s popular musics, and to some of the issues involved in the production of popular music worldwide. Musics addressed will cover a broad geographic area, including parts of Africa, the Americas, Europe, the Middle-East, and South, East, and Southeast Asia. Issues of religion, gender, politics, ethnic or regional identity, cultural property, appropriation, and mass-media will be examined as influential factors informing popular music practices across geographic and cultural boundaries.
  • MUSC 325 (3) History of Rock Music

    An exploration of the history of rock music from its origins in early jazz, blues and country to the present. Course will not be strictly chronological but rather an investigation of various rock genres (primarily from the U.S. and Great Britain), their forms and elements, their development, and their
    placement in history. Includes discussion of the elements of musical language and basic music analysis. Music is studied in the social and political context in which it was created.
  • MUSC 340 (1) Advanced Vocal and Instrumental Instruction

    Private or small group music lessons.

    Students approved for MUSC 340 must be enrolled in an ensemble at CSUSM.
    May be repeated; a total of eight (8) units may be counted toward graduation requirements.
    Enrollment Requirement: Normally open only to Music Majors with at least one year of lower-division studio music study. By audition only.
    May not be taken for credit by students who have received credit for MUSC 393.
    Enrollment restricted to students who have obtained consent of instructor.

  • MUSC 380 (3) Topics in Music

    Advanced special topics in music.
    May be repeated for credit as topics change for a total of six (6) units.
    Students should check the class for listing of actual topics.
  • MUSC 389 (1) Chamber Ensemble

    Performance of chamber (or small group) music literature from different periods of Western music history, and an exploration of music from non-western sources. Includes instrumental groupings of orchestral instruments, keyboard, guitar, early music instruments, percussion and voice. Explores some strategies for developing a career as a soloist or chamber musician.

    By audition only.

    May be repeated for a total of eight (8) units.
    Enrollment restricted to students who have obtained consent of instructor.

  • MUSC 390 (1) Andean Ensemble

    A performance ensemble specializing in the music of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Chile. Students learn to play bamboo flutes, pre-Columbian instruments, and panpipes. Guitarists and vocalists are welcome. Music is sung in Spanish, Quechua, and Aymara.

    May be repeated; a total of eight (8) units may be counted toward graduation requirements.

  • MUSC 391 (1) African Ensemble

    Exploration of performance practice in traditional African music through organized performances of selected musical types and forms. Students will be introduced to various techniques as a basis for the integration of music, dance, and drama in traditional African societies.


    May be repeated; a total of eight (8) units may be counted toward graduation requirements.

  • MUSC 392 (1) World Music Ensemble

    Systematical study of the literature, instruments, and techniques of a selected style of music. Includes research and performance. The topic and style of music is variable.

    May be repeated; a total of eight (8) units may be counted toward graduation requirements.

  • MUSC 394 (1) Vocal Ensemble

    A vocal ensemble specializing in many different musical styles. Performances will include works from jazz, traditional, popular, and classical repertories. Emphasis will be placed on correct vocal and
    performance techniques and improvement of musical skills. 

    May be repeated; a total of eight (8) units may be counted toward graduation requirements.

  • MUSC 395 (1) Javanese Gamelan Ensemble

    Exploration of performance practice in traditional Javanese Gamelan music through organized performances of selected musical types and forms. Students will be introduced to various techniques as a basis for the integration of music, dance, and drama in traditional Indonesian societies.

    May be repeated; a total of eight (8) units may be counted toward graduation requirements.

  • MUSC 396 (1) Jazz Ensemble

    Performance group consisting of both traditional to contemporary instrumentation and “jazz” literature, e.g., Ellington, Gillespie, Nestico, Monk, and Davis. Organized performances on CSUSM campus and the broader San Diego County. Study of “jazz” theory and improvisation, transcriptions,
    and listening assignments. Students must be able to read music.

    Highly recommended: MUSC 101.

    May be repeated; a total of eight (8) units may be counted toward graduation requirements.
    Enrollment restricted to students who have obtained consent of instructor.

  • MUSC 402 (3) Advanced Composition With Computers

    A study of the advanced techniques of digital music technology. Includes digital audio recording and editing, signal processing, alternative MIDI controllers, live performance with electronics, advanced synthesis, sampling, and sequencing techniques. Students will compose works in several styles with a final project to be presented in concert. 

    Two hours of lecture and two hours of composition activity are required.
    May be repeated for a total of six (6) units.
    Prerequisite: MUSC 302 or 304.

  • MUSC 422 (3) Andean Music and Culture

    An introduction to Andean culture through music performance, listening, and research. Students will learn to play authentic Andean instruments from Peru, Chile, Ecuador, and Bolivia. Extensive reading and analytical listening are a part of this course.

    May not be taken for credit by students who have received credit for MUSC 422S.

  • MUSC 423 (3) Music of the African Diaspora

    Students will explore and trace the influences of African culture in the new world. Exploration of the dispersion of music, religion, social structure, and culture.
  • MUSC 424 (3) African Music and Culture

    A survey of traditional and modern cultures on the African continent. Special attention is given to the development of an understanding of African religious systems, social structures, and the arts as a manifestation of the African world view.
  • MUSC 425 (3) Latin American Music and Society

    An in-depth survey of the music and culture of Latin America as seen through the lens of history. The materials will be organized in the following historical periods: the Pre-Columbian Era, the Colonial Era, the Republican Era, and modern trends in Latin American music. Folkloric, concert, and popular music will be examined in relation to class strata in Latin America. Special emphasis will be placed on the music of Mexico, Brazil, the Andean region, and Cuba.

    May not be taken for credit by students who have received credit for MUSC 425S.

  • MUSC 427 (3) Music and Culture in the United States

    A survey of the music and culture of the United States through study of the various social strata and ethnic groups which make up the fabric of American life. Music will be studied in the historical, social, and cultural context of the time in which it was created with special attention paid to historical periods such as the Civil War, the turn of the century, the Great Depression through World War II, the 1960s, and the present.
  • MUSC 428 (3) Music Traditions of Southeast Asia

    Intended to introduce the student to some of the musical traditions practiced in Southeast Asia, and to expose him or her to principal themes and issues that necessarily arise when researching music of
    this area. Characteristics of instruments and instrumental ensembles, sound structures, theatrical traditions, and vocal performance will be among the major musical topics covered in the course. Historical, sociodemographic, political, and even western academic factors shaping contemporary images of Southeast Asian music will also be addressed. Ultimately, by studying just a few traditions, the course will aim to bring home the inexhaustible breadth and depth of Southeast Asia’s musical
    diversity.
  • MUSC 430 (3) Survey of Ethnomusicology

    Survey of the history of ethnomusicology, as well as various methodologies evolving from its practice from the 19th Century to contemporary trends. Provides an overview of the world’s musical traditions by examining case studies from each of nine musical world regions: Pacific, East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Middle East, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the U.S. and Canada.

    Prerequisite: MUSC 322.

  • MUSC 431 (3) Research Methods in Ethnomusicology

    Introduces notions of “non-Western” or “world music” theory, aesthetics, and musicianship. Study and engagement with musical systems of selected world cultures through aural and written notations,
    vocal and instrumental skills, melodic and rhythmic dictation, improvisation, and composition. Examines the history and current state of audiovisual archiving, with an emphasis upon such issues as ethics, copyright, contracts, fieldwork techniques, preservation, and access and issues related to technology, space, and budgets.

    Prerequisite: MUSC 322.

  • MUSC 480 (3) Music Activities for Children and Adults

    Explores various modes of musical expression within a multicultural context. No background in music is required. An emphasis will be placed on performance, composition, and listening activities that can be applied to the K-12 classroom.

    Two hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory.
    This course satisfies the Liberal Studies requirement for work in Studio Arts.

  • MUSC 490 (3) Senior Capstone

    Senior project that demonstrates mastery in a chosen area of study. Required of all music majors. Comprises independent study work with a faculty mentor who meets regularly with the student and approves and oversees the capstone work. Presented to the campus community during the student’s last semester in residence.

    Enrollment restricted to students with Senior standing in Music Major.
    Enrollment restricted to students who have obtained consent of instructor.

  • MUSC 495A (1) 495B (2) 495C (3) Internship

    Intended to provide students with the opportunity to work directly with selected and approved individual artist or group of artists as field, creative, or studio experience.

    May be repeated for a total of six (6) units.
    Graded Credit/No Credit.
    Enrollment restricted to students who have obtained consent of instructor.

  • MUSC 498A (1) 498B (2) 498C (3) Independent Study

    Intended for students with advanced standing in respective areas of study. Selected topic(s) must be approved by the Visual and Performing Arts Independent Study Committee and supervised by a faculty member or academic advisor.

    May be repeated for a total of six (6)units.
    Enrollment restricted to students who have obtained consent of instructor.

  • MUSC 499A (1) 499B (2) 499C (3) Independent Research

    Designed for students with demonstrated capacity for independent research, field, creative and studio work, and analyses of data.

    May be repeated for a total of six (6) units.

    Enrollment Requirement: Upper-division courses appropriate to area of proposed study.
    Enrollment restricted to students who have obtained consent of instructor.