main navigation bar - top row

main navigation bar - bottom row

main menu

Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance: Harpsichord

The doctoral program is designed to stress solo performance, but with academic training and other related skills also integrated into the curriculum. The program includes the study of theory and analysis, musicology and historical background, organology, improvisation and composition, pedagogy, and ensemble performance. The SMTD is unusually well equipped to offer doctoral work in harpsichord because of the quality and quantity of its faculty, library, and instruments, and because of the extraordinary range of early music activities in the Ann Arbor area, including a wide variety of concerts and active instrument builders.

A master's degree in harpsichord or its equivalent is required for admission.

Program of Study

Although residence and fee hour requirements must be satisfied, the doctoral degree is not awarded on the basis of a specified number of credit hours but rather on the basis of demonstrated competence. Completion of the program normally requires six terms of full-time study beyond the master's degree. Students are expected to attain candidacy effective at the beginning of the sixth term.

Course elections must include the following:

  1. Music Performance 891, Directed Performance (2-6 hrs.), elected each term in residence as a precandidate
  2. Musicology 503, Bibliography of Music (3 hrs), elected in the first term of enrollment as a precandidate
  3. A minimum of fifteen hours of graduate work in music theory and musicology, or at least five courses totaling a minimum of twelve hours. At least one of the musicology courses must be at the 600-level.
  4. Music Performance 781, Seminar in Performance Problems (2-4 hrs.), elected for one term while in residence as a precandidate
  5. Additional course work as prescribed by the student's advisor.
  6. Music Performance 995, Dissertation/Candidate (8 hrs), elected each term in residence as a candidate, or at least one term.

Residence Requirement

At least one academic year of full-time residence is required.

Repertoire Requirement for Precandidates

Minimum Repertoire Requirements for Admission

Other works may be substituted with the approval of Professor Joseph Gascho.

  1. J. S. Bach: two suites from the French Suites, English Suites, or Partitas
  2. J. S. Bach: two other major works (toccatas, solo concerti, etc.)
  3. J. S. Bach: six preludes and fugues from the Well-Tempered Clavier
  4. D. Scarlatti: six sonatas
  5. French music: one seventeenth-century suite and one eighteenth-century suite
  6. Northern seventeenth-century school (Byrd, Sweelinck, etc.): two works (a pavan-and-galliard pair, a fantasia, a variation set, etc.)
  7. Ensemble works with obbligato (not basso continuo) right hand: two works by J. S. Bach (e.g. BWV 1014-19, 1027-30) or Rameau (Pieces de clavecin en concerts)

Minimum Repertoire Requirements to Receive the Degree

  1. J. S. Bach: two English Suites*
  2. J. S. Bach: two Partitas or French Overture*
  3. J. S. Bach: two toccatas or solo (non-orchestral) concerti*
  4. A multi-movement work (or a unified group of works) by any composer, chosen in consultation with Professor Edward Parmentier. Examples include Bach’s Goldberg Variations or Art of Fugue; Scarlatti’s Essercizi; Byrd’s Pavans and Galliards from Nevell.
  5. J. S. Bach: 15 preludes and fugues from the Well-Tempered Clavier*
  6. Northern seventeenth-century school (Byrd, Sweelinck, etc.): three major works*
  7. Italian sixteenth and seventeenth century music: two major works
  8. Three works by C. P. E. Bach, W. F. Bach, or Haydn
  9. D. Scarlatti: twelve sonatas
  10. Three solo or ensemble works of the 20th century
  11. Ensemble works with obbligato (not basso continuo) right hand: three works by J. S. Bach (e.g. BWV 1014-19, 1027-30; orchestral concerti BWV 1044, 1050, 1052-58); or Rameau (Pieces de clavecin en concerts)*
  12. Ensemble works with basso continuo: two sizable projects (a cantata, sonata, opera, etc.)

*beyond the repertoire used to satisfy the minimum repertoire requirements for admission

Requirements for Candidacy

  1. Language: a basic reading knowledge of two foreign languages selected from French, German, Italian, Russian, or Spanish is required.

  2. Pedagogy: every doctoral student in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance must satisfy the pedagogy requirement during the first two terms of enrollment. A list of courses that satisfy this requirement may be found in the Handbook for Rackham Students in Music, Dance, or Theatre.

  3. Preliminary Examinations Prior to Candidacy:

  • Music History General Preliminary Examination (or the coursework alternative)
  • Music Theory General Preliminary Examination
  • Performance Preliminary Examination in the field of specialization
  • Comprehensive Oral Preliminary Examination

The preliminary examinations required for admission to candidacy are taken after the student has satisfied the language, residence, and pedagogy requirements; has completed most of the course work; and is prepared to concentrate his or her efforts on the dissertation recitals. At least two courses in musicology, including MHM 503, must be completed prior to taking the preliminary examination in that field, and at least two courses in music theory must be completed prior to taking the preliminary examination in theory. During the examination in performance the applicant must satisfy a jury that he or she has achieved the requisite musical competence to undertake the preparation of the public programs to be presented in lieu of a written dissertation.

Candidacy will be conferred upon completion of these requirements and examinations. A dissertation committee must have been appointed by the time candidacy is achieved.

Dissertation Requirement

  1. Two lecture-recitals: the lecture-recitals may be presented in the forum of the Early Music Ensemble, in the Doctoral Seminar, or in public. They will be comprised of music studied in the Ensemble or Seminar, or types of music not included in the solo recitals. The lecture-recitals may be given as a precandidate or as a candidate.

  2. Two solo recitals after reaching candidacy: repertoire will be selected to fulfill the needs and interests of the student.

  3. Written document: a thesis not shorter than a normal master's degree thesis and suitable for publication. Topics could include a source or genre study, a critical edition, a discussion of a particular problem in harpsichord performance or interpretation, or an interdisciplinary analysis of a work or group of works.


An abstract listing the music performed and, if space permits, providing program notes and commentary is required.

Final Oral Examination

A final oral examination concerned primarily with the field of specialization will be conducted by the dissertation committee after all of the other requirements have been completed.

main navigation bar - top row

main navigation bar - bottom row

Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower