Master of Music (MM) in Historical Performance

The Master of Music in Historical Performance at Boston University provides a training ground for students pursuing performance and teaching careers either as instrumentalists on period instruments or as singers specializing in music of the 17th and 18th centuries. Through performance practice seminars, instruction in period performance and thoroughbass realization, coached chamber music ensemble participation, and various performance opportunities both within and outside of the School, students develop a sensibility and repertoire of techniques that enable them to marry historical information with musical intuition. The city of Boston, long a world center for early music performance, serves as a supportive backdrop in developing student careers. Boston University’s resources—its libraries, facilities, and faculty—offer students rich support in the pursuit of their studies. Additionally, MM candidates enjoy professional-level performance opportunities in many local groups as well as mounting their own public performance projects.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Music is granted upon successful completion of a program of study, a comprehensive review, and terminal projects appropriate to the student’s field of specialization. Students must complete a minimum of 32 semester credits with grades no lower than B- in graduate-level coursework. All degree requirements must be completed within five years of the date of matriculation.

Proficiency Examinations

All entering Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts students are required to take the Proficiency Examination in Music Theory and the Proficiency Examination in Musicology. These examinations are given before the start of classes. Accepted students are notified of the exam dates and are responsible for taking them. Exam results are used for advising and may establish prerequisite or required coursework. Material covered in these examinations is commonly presented in most undergraduate degree programs in music. Detailed descriptions of these exams are supplied to accepted students. Students in composition, music theory, and musicology will also be examined in fugue; historical performance students will be examined in counterpoint.

Students with insufficient background in music theory may be required to take MU 400 Graduate Theory Review, which may be used as elective credit. The course is a seven-week, online course given twice per year in the second half of the Fall Semester and in the Summer Term.

Audition Requirements

This program is for performers on harpsichord, fortepiano, other period instruments, and singers. Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in different national styles from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Historical Performance Program Outline

Music Research Techniques 2 cr
Applied Music, Levels 9 and 10 12 cr
Performance Practice Seminar 4 cr
Continuo for Keyboard or 4 cr
Continuo for Non-Keyboard 2 cr
Studio in Historical Performance (ensemble performance) 4 cr
Musicology and/or Music Theory 6 cr
Elective (non-keyboard) 2 cr
Total 32 or 34 cr

Terminal Projects

Two recitals are required, each containing a minimum of 60 minutes of music.

Master of Music Comprehensive Reviews

A satisfactory comprehensive review or examination is required for graduation. The faculty in each major area determines standards for this review and its format, and conducts the evaluation. In each case, the comprehensive review concentrates on the major area and other related fields. Unsatisfactory performance on this review may require remedial work and/or a repetition of the review after counseling with the student’s advisor. Descriptions of the departmental comprehensive reviews or examinations are found in the School of Music Graduate Handbook, available to enrolled students on the School of Music website.