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BA in Music: Composition Track

To declare a music major in the Composition Track, students must first take MUS 121 Theory and Analysis I, and one semester of MUS 349R Composition. Upon completion of these two courses, students may complete a Music Major Track Selection form online and submit.

Theory/Analysis (18 hrs)

  • MUS 121
  • MUS 122
  • MUS 221
  • MUS 222

Composition (14 hrs)

  • MUS 349R (4 semesters)
  • MUS 445 Orchestration
  • MUS 347 Electronic Music

History/Culture (6 hrs)

  • MUS 200 Music, Culture, and Society
  • History & Culture Category A or B: choose one course

Performance (4 hrs)

  • Choose any combination of MUS 300 Ensembles and/or MUS 320 Applied

Electives (3 hrs)


  • MUS 444 Counterpoint
  • MUS 350 Music since 1945
  • MUS 367 Computer Music Composition

Optional: If approved, a student may present a recital of original compositions during the junior or senior year. Students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher may submit a proposal to present an honors recital in the music composition track. See Honors Program guidelines for detailed information. 

Composition Area Activities

The Composition track of the Music major is centered on four semesters of MUS 349 Composition. Students meet weekly with the instructor on their individual creative projects. The class also meets as a group in seminar for guest talks, workshops (notation software, instrumentation, professional development), reading sessions, and student presentations of work-in-progress.


Students taking composition lessons have their work presented each semester. We are proud of our ongoing collaboration with the resident Vega String Quartet, who offer professional reading sessions of student work. Student composers are encouraged to collaborate with each other and with student performers. There are also possibilities for students to create acoustic or electronic music in collaboration with film, theater, and dance students.

Additionally, juniors and seniors may present composition recitals, including an Honors Composition recital which serves as a capstone to their Music Major at Emory. Honors projects give students the opportunity to develop the professional skills necessary to make a creative life after Emory: grant-writing, scheduling, rehearsing performers, and concert production.

The composition lesson is supplemented by two required courses and several electives. Orchestration introduces students to techniques of writing for acoustic orchestral instruments and develops their notation skills in the software Sibelius. Electronic Music teaches students to compose with Logic Pro X in our electronic music studio.

A rotating set of electives offer advanced approaches to acoustic and electronic music. Counterpoint provides practice in polyphonic writing techniques from the Renaissance to the 21st century. In Live Electronic Music, students learn basic coding to build digital electronic instruments using the software Max MSP, which they then use to perform in a class laptop ensemble. In Mediated Sound, students learn professional recording techniques and the digital audio software Reaper to create a sound installation presented on campus.