Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance: Harpsichord

Department of Organ

Designed for students seeking the highest degree in the field, the DMA is a rigorous three-year course of study culminating in two solo recitals, two lecture recitals, and a doctoral thesis.

Program Requirements


The doctoral degree is awarded on the basis of demonstrated competence, not on the basis of a specified number of credit hours. 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:

  • Music Performance 891: Directed Performance (2-6 hrs), elected each term in residence as a pre-candidate
  • Music Performance 781: Seminar in Performance Problems (2-4 hrs), elected for one term while in residence as a pre-candidate
  • Music Performance 995: Dissertation/Candidate (8 hrs), elected each term in residence as a candidate, or at least one term.
  • Musicology 503: Bibliography of Music (3 hrs), elected in the first term of enrollment as a pre-candidate
  • 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.

Additional course work as prescribed by the student’s advisor.

Residency Requirement

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

Repertoire Requirements for Pre-candidates

Minimum Repertoire Requirements to Receive the Degree
  • J. S. Bach: two English Suites*
  • J. S. Bach: two Partitas or French Overture*
  • J. S. Bach: two toccatas or solo (non-orchestral) concerti*
  • 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.
  • J. S. Bach: 15 preludes and fugues from the Well-Tempered Clavier*
  • Northern seventeenth-century school (Byrd, Sweelinck, etc.): three major works*
  • Italian sixteenth and seventeenth century music: two major works
  • Three works by C. P. E. Bach, W. F. Bach, or Haydn
  • D. Scarlatti: twelve sonatas
  • Three solo or ensemble works of the 20th century
  • 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)*
  • 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

Foreign Language

A basic reading knowledge of two foreign languages selected from French, German, Italian, Russian, or Spanish.


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.

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 Requirements

  • 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 pre-candidate or as a candidate.
  • Two solo recitals after reaching candidacy: repertoire will be selected to fulfill the needs and interests of the student.
  • 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.

For requirement details, please see the Degree Requirements and Term-by-Term Layout for Current Students.


Nearly all DMA students receive full-tuition fellowships. Most also receive health benefits and a stipend attached to a Graduate Student Assistantship, which can vary in proportion to the appointment fraction and the duties associated with it. In addition to the funding packages offered by the SMTD, Rackham students are also eligible to apply for a wide range of fellowships to fund research, travel, and performance.

Audition & Interview Dates

How To Apply

Academic Eligibility

Applicants to the Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance: Harpsichord must have completed a master’s of music degree in harpsichord or equivalent to be eligible for admission.

Repertoire Requirements for Admission

  • J. S. Bach: two suites from the French Suites, English Suites, or Partitas
  • J. S. Bach: two other major works (toccatas, solo concerti, etc.)
  • J. S. Bach: six preludes and fugues from the Well-Tempered Clavier
  • D. Scarlatti: six sonatas
  • French music: one seventeenth-century suite and one eighteenth-century suite
  • Northern seventeenth-century school (Byrd, Sweelinck, etc.): two works (a pavan-and-galliard pair, a fantasia, a variation set, etc.)
  • 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)

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

Applicants must:

  • Apply to U-M via the Rackham Graduate School Application by December 1
  • Submit an SMTD Artistic Profile by December 1
  • Have all supplemental materials sent to the Rackham Graduate School

Click the button below to read more detailed information about the application requirements and procedures.

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