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Music writing

The music writing programs at the Université de Montréal Faculty of Music offer a curriculum that is unique among institutions of higher learning in music, allowing the student to work in a sustained and in-depth manner on all the traditional disciplines of musical art – in the original sense of the term (ars: knowledge, expertise):

  • Analysis
  • Counterpoint
  • Harmony
  • Orchestration

3 types of course of study offered

The music writing programs are designed for three types of course of study:

  • Students going into composition, orchestration or arranging, to acquire essential skills and tools anchored in traditional tonal and modal language, while at the same time working on a broad spectrum of other sound worlds
  • Students going into conducting (orchestra or choir), to deepen their understanding of language and musical structures as the basis for ensemble performance work
  • Students going into analytic musicology, to acquire the foundations necessary for in-depth musical analysis

Bachelor’s in music writing: a made-to-measure academic career plan

Thanks to its structure, the bachelor’s in music writing allows students to personalize their undergraduate studies. While it is based on a common core of introductory courses accounting for close to half of the credits (51 out of 90), several blocks of options enable students to acquire the knowledge and skills specific to each of the three types of course of study.

This program also directly paves the way for graduate studies:

Minor and major in music writing: a host of possibilities

Since autumn 2016, the Faculty of Music has offered two short undergraduate programs in music writing: the minor and the major.

The training’s practical component remains central to it. Students enrolled in these programs write music on a weekly basis, and their work is corrected and commented on. In the framework of small-group workshops, their counterpoints, their harmonization and their orchestrations for small ensembles are played, analyzed and discussed.

In pursuing a bachelor’s in music writing or a bachelor’s in instrumental composition one can deepen one’s training while remaining open to different profiles, ranging from composing for the screen and the stage to concert-music composition and orchestra conducting and choir conducting.

In combining a short program in music writing with the major in composition and jazz arrangement or with a short program in digital music (minor or major), it is possible to acquire complementary tools that will help develop skills in arranging and in sound creation.