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Contact the Music Graduate Office

Office Location
East Studio Building 120 (JS 120)
205 S. Jordan Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405

Mailing Address
1201 E. 3rd Street
Bloomington, IN 47405

Hours: 8 am–12 pm, 1–5 pm
Phone: 812-855-1738Phone

E-mail: musgrad [at] indiana [dot] edu

musicdgs [at] indiana [dot] edu (Eric Isaacson), Director 
serbes [at] indiana [dot] edu (Sara Erbes), Advisor
anmiller [at] indiana [dot] edu (Angie Miller), Recorder
musgrad [at] indiana [dot] edu (Tiffany Bowen), Secretary
musdoc [at] indiana [dot] edu (Janis Cooper Parker), Doctoral Clerk

More Information

Doctoral Styles Examination

The requirement

All doctoral students must demonstrate their ability to deal analytically and stylistically with a broad range of musical compositions by taking the Doctoral Styles Examination.

Students must sign up for the styles examination online or in the Music Graduate Office at least ten days before the exam.

The exam will be offered only once a year, early in the spring semester. Students who have a conflict with a religious observance on the exam date should contact the director of graduate studies at least ten days before the exam to arrange an alternative exam time.

Students must take the exam in their first spring semester of enrollment. Students who pass the exam meet the requirement. Students who do not pass the exam may retake the exam once with permission of the director of graduate studies, if their score is within a range recommended by the Doctoral Styles Committee. Students who do not pass the exam must earn a grade of "B" or higher in MUS-T 545 Introductory Analysis of Music Literature.

This course may be used as part of a student's curriculum, for instance, toward a music theory minor or as a choice under guided electives. 

MUS-T 545 taken previously at Indiana University (less than 10 years ago) and passed with a grade of "B" or higher will be accepted in lieu of the exam; transfer credits will not be accepted. This requirement must be completed before a student may begin to take qualifying examinations.

The examination

The exam from Spring 2002 is available in the Music Library (on reserve); the listening examples are available from Music Library computers:

The exam will typically consist of score examples and recorded examples. Here are sample questions (constructed Spring 2002):

Sample questions about harmony and tonality: Comment upon the harmonic organization of the excerpt. To what key area does the excerpt modulate, and where within the form does it do this? Characterize the nature of the harmonic vocabulary. Describe basic pitch materials (to what key, scale, or collection do the pitches belong?) Identify the prominent use of a non-chord tone.

Sample questions about form: What can you say about form in this movement? Briefly sketch the structure of this piece. What observations can you make regarding form and repetition? What is different about the last section? Suggest some ways in which composers from this period wrote more varied or complicated versions of this type of piece.

Sample questions about compositional devices: List several motivic devices used by the composer to unify this piece. Describe the melodic construction and characteristics of the solo part. How does it relate to the accompaniment? What contrapuntal devices are common in this piece?

Sample questions about text: What is unusual about the treatment of the text in the context of this kind of piece? How does the text relate to the form of the piemce? How does the vocal line express the text?

Sample questions about orchestration: This is a transposed score. What are the first ten sounding pitches in the English horn? Is the orchestration of this piece typical or unusual? How so?

Sample questions about textural issues: Comment upon the texture and orchestration of the excerpt. How is the thematic material distributed in the orchestra? Discuss briefly the use of instruments in this excerpt, especially in relation to the voices. 

Sample questions about rhythmic and metric issues: Comment upon the rhythmic and motivic structure of this piece. Comment on the composer's phrasal organization: are the phrases of equal length?

Sample questions about performance issues: Discuss the dynamic and articulation markings. Would these markings influence a choice of instrument? What performance implications might they have?

Sample questions about genre: What is the genre of this piece? What stylistic characteristics prevailed in this kind of piece 30-50 years earlier, and how do the stylistic characteristics differ in this excerpt?

Sample questions about composers and dates: Propose and defend an attribution and date for this excerpt. What is the term associated with this stylistic period of this composer? What stylistic periods are associated with this composer's work? Place this work in a larger perspective by naming pieces similar in style or construction to it.

Upcoming exam dates

Saturday, January 27, 2018

location: Sweeney Hall (M015)
time: 9:00-11:00 am

Dates and location subject to change. Please note that the Styles Exam is offered only once a year, in each spring semester. Students who have a conflict with a religious observance on the exam date should contact the director of graduate studies at least ten days before the exam to arrange an alternative exam time.

Student identification numbers will be checked before students are admitted to the exam room.