Honour School of Music

A

  • 1. The subject of the Honour School of Music shall be the study of the history, criticism, theory, composition, performance, and practice of music.

  • 2. No candidate shall be admitted to examination in this school, unless he has either passed or been exempted from the First Public Examination.

  • 3. The examination in this faculty shall be under the supervision of the Board of the Faculty of Music which shall make regulations concerning it subject always to the preceding clauses of this subsection.

B

Each candidate will be required to offer papers (1) and (2) from List A, any two of papers (3), (4), and (5) in that list, and four other papers, always provided that of these four at least one is from List B, one is from List C, one is from either List B or C, and one is from List B, C, or D. Candidates may always offer both List A (3) and B (1); but certain other combinations of papers may from time to time be disallowed, always provided that notice of such disallowance be communicated to candidates not later than the third week of Michaelmas Full Term in the academic year preceding that of examination.

Candidates must indicate, not later than Friday of the fourth week of Michaelmas Full Term in the academic year of examination, of the eight papers they propose to offer.

Candidates may also be examined viva voce.

List A (core subjects)

  • (1) Topics in Music History before 1750 (one three-hour paper)

  • (2) Topics in Music after 1700 (one three-hour paper)

    The Board of the Faculty of Music shall approve, and publish each year by notice in the Faculty of Music, not later than the eighth week of Trinity Full Term, a list of specified areas of study in (1) and (2) above for the examination six terms thence.

  • (3) Either Techniques of Composition I (one three-hour paper)

    Candidates will be required to complete or continue in the appropriate style a piece of music from which at least one part will be given. One question must be answered from four set as follows:

    • (a) later sixteenth-century continental vocal polyphony in four parts;

    • (b) aria in three parts (voice, obbligato instrument, and basso continuo) from the period c. 1700-c. 1760;

    • (c) four-part texture, of the period c. 1760-c. 1830;

    • (d) nineteenth-century song accompaniment for piano, in the Austro-Germanic tradition.

      Or Techniques of Composition II (portfolio submission): see under List B (1)

  • (4) Musical Analysis and Criticism (one three-hour paper)

    Analytical and critical comment on one musical work (or movement of a work), normally from the late eighteenth or nineteenth century. The score will be provided but the music will not be heard in performance.

  • (5) Musical Thought and Scholarship (one three-hour paper)

    A paper on the history, criticism, and philosophy of music. Candidates may choose to answer either one or two questions.

Lists B, C, and D (optional subjects)

List B (Portfolio and performance options)

  • (1) Techniques of Composition II (portfolio submission)

    Candidates will be required to write, at their choice and on material set by the examiners in the eighth week of Hilary Full Term in the academic year of examination, one of the following:

    • (a) a fugue;

    • (b) a sixteenth-century motet or Mass movement in five parts;

    • (c) an eighteenth-century (Baroque style) aria or other ritornello-based movement;

    • (d) a sonata movement (not necessarily the first) from the period from Haydn to Brahms;

    • (e) a movement in a twentieth-century idiom (questions requiring familiarity with indeterminate or electronic techniques will not be set);

    • (f) such other form of music as the examiners may offer,

      provided that the examiners shall always offer material on each of (a)-(e).

      Papers will be available for collection in the Music Faculty Library from 12 noon on Tuesday in the eighth week of Hilary Full Term in the academic year of examination. Two copies of the portfolio, accompanied by a form of declaration, must be submitted by candidates not later than noon on Friday of the first week of Trinity Full Term in the academic year of examination, to the Chair of the Examiners, Honour School of Music, Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford.

      This option may not be selected under List B(1) if it has already been selected under list A(3).

  • (2) Orchestration (portfolio submission)

    Candidates will be required to submit two copies of a piece of orchestration, the style and technique of the orchestration being appropriate to the material set. A choice of pieces, taken from the period 1750 to the present day, will be set. Papers will be available for collection in the Music Faculty Library from 12 noon on Tuesday in the seventh week of Hilary Full Term in the academic year of examination. The copies, accompanied by a form of declaration, must be submitted by candidates not later than noon on Friday of the third week of Trinity Full Term in the academic year of examination, to the Chair of the Examiners, Honour School of Music, Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford.

  • (3) Solo Performance, instrumental or vocal (practical test)

    Candidates shall prepare a programme of works in varying styles and submit it for the approval of the examiners, not later than Friday in the fourth week of Hilary Full Term in the academic year of examination, addressed to the Chair of the Examiners, Honour School of Music, Faculty of Music, St Aldate’s. They may indicate a single work or a complete movement which they would like to play in full. The time each piece takes to play must be stated. The programme shall be timed to last between 35-40 minutes, including breaks and pauses. If the programme significantly exceeds 40 minutes the examiners are entitled to curtail or interrupt the performance. Candidates must provide for accompaniment, where required.

    Candidates may offer self-accompanied vocal performance, which will be judged on both the singing and playing elements. They may not, however, propose a programme on more than one instrument in turn (such as violin and cello), other than such as might occur in the context of normal recital convention. Any candidate contemplating such a proposal should seek early advice from the Chair of the Faculty Board, whose decision on behalf of the Board will be final.

    Candidates are required to provide for the examiners two copies of each piece to be performed, in the edition used. The copies shall be presented to the examiners at the beginning of the examination and collected from them at the end.

  • (4) Composition (portfolio submission)

    Candidates will be required to submit two copies of a portfolio of four original compositions as follows:

    • (a) one work (or set of pieces) of approximately 5 minutes duration for one of the following mediums:

      • (i) solo piano;

      • (ii) solo instrument and piano;

    • (b) and three of the following options (the three pieces to make up a minimum duration of 24 minutes):

      • (i) a work of 6-10 minutes duration for orchestra;

      • (ii) a work of 6-10 minutes duration for mixed ensemble of between five and fourteen players;

      • (iii) a work of 6-10 minutes duration for string quartet;

      • (iv) a work of 6-10 minutes duration for SATB chorus in up to eight parts;

      • (v) an electroacoustic composition of no more than 6 minutes, submitted alongside the source materials upon which the work is based;

      • (vi) a work of the candidate’s choice.

    • Each of these categories may be scored with amplification, live electronics or with an electroacoustic backing track.

  • Candidates intending to use the electronic studio in connection with this option are required to have attended the preliminary courses offered to undergraduates in their first year. Details relating to submission are given in the general note below.

  • (5) Dissertation (portfolio submission)

    Candidates must submit two copies of a dissertation of between 8,000 and 10,000 words (exclusive of bibliography) which has not been previously submitted for a degree of another university. The subject and title must be approved by the Board of the Faculty of Music. Details relating to approval and submission are given in the general note below.

  • (6) Edition with commentary (portfolio submission)

    Candidates must submit two copies of an edition with commentary. Editions previously submitted for the Honour School of Music may be resubmitted. No edition will be accepted if it has already been submitted, wholly or substantially, for another Honour School or degree of this University, or a degree of any other institution. The work or works to be edited must be approved by the Board of the Faculty of Music. Details relating to approval and submission are given in the general note below.

  • (7) Analysis (portfolio submission)

    Candidates must submit two copies of an analytical study of not more than 10,000 words which has not been previously submitted for a degree of another university. The subject and title must be approved by the Board of the Faculty of Music. Details relating to approval and submission are given in the general note below.

  • (8) Music Ethnography (portfolio submission)

    Candidates must submit two copies of a portfolio of essays and ethnographic work to a total of around 10,000 words (or equivalent). This may be submitted in a variety of formats, including recordings with commentary, video, photography, transcription and analysis. The subject and title must be approved by the Board of the Faculty of Music. Details relating to approval and submission are given in the general note below.

General Note on approval of subjects for List B (5), (6), (7), and (8); and the submission of written work for List B (4)–(8).

  • (a) Approval of subjects

    Candidates intending to submit any of B(5), (6), (7), or (8) must obtain prior approval of the subject and title from the Board of the Faculty of Music. They are urged to seek early guidance from their college tutor on whether the subject is likely to be acceptable and must submit the proposed subject and title, together with the signed approval of the tutor, to the Academic Administrator by Friday of fourth week of Trinity Term in the academic year preceding that of examination. The faculty board shall decide whether or not to approve the subject and title and shall advise the candidate as soon as possible.

  • (b) Submission of written work

    Candidates must also submit two copies of the written work related to the examination of subjects B(4)–(8) by noon on Friday of the second week of Trinity Full Term in the academic year of examination. It must be addressed to the Chair of the Examiners, Honour School of Music, Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford. Each submission (but not each copy) must be accompanied by a form of declaration. 

    Each portfolio submitted for the subjects of Techniques of Composition II and Orchestration must be accompanied by a form of declaration. 

  • List C (three-hour paper options) and List D (practical options)

    The Board of the Faculty of Music shall approve, and publish each year by notice in the Faculty of Music, not later than the eighth week of Trinity Full Term, a list of subjects for the examination six terms hence.

    List C consists of special topics, each examined by written paper or by a portfolio of coursework, as specified in the Music Faculty Undergraduate Handbook relating to the examination. List D options combine a practical element with an extended essay (two copies of which must be submitted). Approval and submission details for List D are as published within the Faculty Undergraduate Handbook relating to the examination.