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    Office of Admission
    Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts
    79 Fifth Avenue, 5th floor
    New York, NY 10003
    Phone: 212.229.5150 or
    Fax: 212.229.5355

    Program Contacts
    Prospective students with questions about the Contemporary Music major: 
    Email or

    Stefania de Kenessey 
    Director and Departmental Faculty Advisor for Contemporary Music

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  • This page outlines requirements for the degree in Contemporary Music (BA Contemporary Music). Students can also study this subject as a minor or as part of a self-designed major (BA or BS Liberal Arts). Students majoring in The Arts who are interested in studying contemporary music should choose the Arts in Context concentration (BA The Arts). For example, a student can focus on music criticism by taking courses in Contemporary Music and Writing or Journalism; other majors, such as Psychology, Culture and Media, or Anthropology, can also provide wider contexts for music studies. Arts in Context students should follow the Music minor requirements below or an alternative plan of study approved by the Music director.


    The curriculum of Eugene Lang College's Contemporary Music program provides undergraduate students with a range of intellectual perspectives and practical skills that enable them to address the new and evolving challenges of careers in music today. Approaches from musicology, ethnomusicology, and music theory serve as a foundation for this program, but interdisciplinary approaches are equally important as students learn to apply their knowledge and skills within and across artistic disciplines (such as theater and dance) and other liberal arts disciplines (such as history, literature, and philosophy). Hands-on practice and the creative process are also emphasized, so that students learn to engage with musical thinking as well as music making in inventive ways.

    The curriculum of the Contemporary Music concentration is structured around three focus areas:

    1. Courses on popular and global music, exploring both mainstream and alternative genres, international repertoires and musical practices, and the musical life of immigrant and diasporic communities within New York City. Sample courses: Hip Hop, Punk and Noise, How Race Defines American Music, Music in Jewish Life, Music of Latin America, Music in the Islamic World
    2. Courses in music technology and new media, focusing on the digital production and distribution of music as well as the uses of music in film, video, and other media. Sample courses: Introduction to Music Technology, Music and Digital Media, Prospects of Recording, Music in Film, Electronic Music, Intermedia
    3. Courses in music history, theory, and criticism, including music philosophy and aesthetics, the poetics of music, the study of music in social and cultural context, and interdisciplinary connections linking music and the other arts. Sample courses: Poetics of Song, Visual Music, Musical Borrowing from Plainchant to Sampling, Improvisation, Composition and Analysis

    Most courses in the Contemporary Music curriculum are suitable for students at all levels of musical training and experience; many courses do not require the ability to read music notation. Prerequisite courses (Fundamentals of Western Music and Global Perspectives on Music) are noted in individual course descriptions.

    Lang students can also enroll in other music courses, performance ensembles, and private lessons through Mannes School of Music, the School of Jazz, and Parsons School of Design. For students interested in study abroad, Lang occasionally offers a summer course, Music in Berlin, in collaboration with the FUBIS program at the Free University in Berlin.

    Requirements for the Contemporary Music Major (BA, Contemporary Music)

    Students must receive grades of C or better in all courses taken to fulfill major requirements. The major in Contemporary Music requires completion of 13 courses, distributed as follows:

    • LMUS 2010 Fundamentals of Western Music
    • LMUS 2200 Global Perspectives on Music
    • Three LMUS courses in one focus area: popular and global music; music technology and new media; or music history, theory, and criticism (at least two of these courses must be at the 3000 level)
    • Three elective courses in any of the music focus areas
    • ULEC 2320 Aesthetics or another approved aesthetics course
    • Three additional Interarts courses, identified by the subject code LINA
    • Senior Capstone project, either the Senior Seminar or an Individual or Collaborative Independent Project

    Total credits: 42-52

    Requirements Worksheet

    Only specific courses satisfy the major requirements, including electives. Courses should be chosen carefully, in consultation with the chair of the program. Students should track their progress using the program requirement worksheet for the year in which they declared their major in Contemporary Music.

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