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Music History Emphasis

Exploring Music's Past

What is music history? It is the use of evidence from the past - scores, recordings, letters, contracts, concert programs and more - to build a picture of what music might have been like in the past. Music historians can study any time period or style of music.

Any music major can benefit from adding a music history emphasis. Whether you want to pursue music history as a profession, be prepared to teach music history and appreciation at a secondary school level or want to know more about your favorite composers and pieces, a music history emphasis may be for you.

Career Opportunities

Music historians will often pursue careers in higher education, librarianship, museums or publishing. Many performers are asked to teach music history and appreciation courses as part of their teaching portfolio, as are music educators at the secondary level. All musicians can benefit from understanding how to research the pieces they are teaching, playing, writing or conducting.


The music history emphasis consists of one core music history course, an introduction to research, several upper-level music history courses and the departmental seminar of the academic studies department.

Required Courses

  • MUA 242I - Music History & Literature 3: Music of the Classical and the Romantic Eras, 3 credit hours
  • MUA 340 - Topics in Music History, 3 credit hours
  • MUC 329 - Introduction to Research in Music, 2 credit hours
  • MUC 363/463 - Music History Seminar, 4 credit hours
  • MUC 412 - Music Academic Studies Seminar, 0 credit hours

Learn more about these courses in the University catalog.

Student Experiences

Students in the music history emphasis program are strongly encouraged to take advantage of numerous opportunities for independent research at BW, including:

  • The BW Summer Scholars Program
  • The Riemenschneider Bach Institute Scholars program
  • Faculty-Student Collaborative courses

Faculty Coordinators

Dr. Christina Fuhrmann
Chair, Academic Studies Department

Dr. Jessica Narum
Coordinator, Music History and Music Theory Emphasis Programs