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, a lecture-recital, a collaborative recital, and a doctoral document.

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 995: Dissertation/Candidate (8 hrs), elected each term in residence as a candidate, or at least one term.
Early Music
  • Early Music 587: Harpsichord Pedagogy
  • Early Music 588: Harpsichord Maintenance
  • Early Music 783: Advanced Continuo and Partimento
In addition, students elect at least one course from the following:
  • Early Music 781: Seminar in Performance Problems
  • Early Music 782: Topics in Historical Performance
  • Early Music 550 Basso Continuo
  • Early Music 551 Basso Continuo II
Early Music Ensemble

Four terms of Early Music Ensemble

Musicology  & Music Theory
  • 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

Minimum Repertoire Requirements to Receive the Degree

J.H. d’Anglebert
One suite
Five transcriptions of Lully

C.P.E. Bach
Two sonatas
One concerto

J.S. Bach
Two preludes and fugues from the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book One
Two preludes and fugues from the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book Two
Two Partitas, not including BWV 825
Two French Suites
One English Suite
Brandenburg Concerto #5 and one other solo keyboard concerto
One sonata after Reincken and one concerto after Vivaldi

D. Buxtehude
Three suites

W. Byrd
Three Pavanes and Galliards
Five other works of varying genre

A. Cabezon
Three works

F. Couperin
One ordre from each livre
Four preludes from L’Art de toucher le clavecin

L. Couperin
Two suites and four unmeasured preludes

G. Frescobaldi
Four toccatas, four contrapuntal works, one set of variations

J.J. Froberger
Two suites, two toccatas, two contrapuntal works

E.J. de la Guerre
One suite

G.F. Handel
Two suites

J.P. Rameau
Two suites or sets

D. Scarlatti
Eight sonatas

A. Soler
Three sonatas

J.P. Sweelinck
Three works

English Renaissance
Four works by composers other than Byrd

17th Century Italian
Six works by composers other than Frescobaldi

18th Century French
Three suites or sets by Duphly, Forqueray, or Royer

Six works including at least three works by women composers

Transcriptions of two movements from J.S. Bach’s Solo Cello Suites and
two dances from Purcell’s dramatic works


C.P.E. Bach
Two solo sonatas and two trio sonatas

J.S. Bach
Two Sonatas for Violin and Obbligato Harpsichord
Two Sonatas for Flute and Obbligato Harpsichord
One Sonatas for Viola da Gamba and Obbligato Harpsichord
Three Sacred Cantatas (organ or harpsichord)

A. Corelli
Two solo violin sonatas and two trio sonatas

F. Couperin
Two instrumental chamber works
One Leçon de Tenebrae

E.J. de la Guerre
One instrumental and one vocal work

G.F. Handel
Two vocal works and two instrumental works
One opera

C. Monteverdi
One opera

H. Purcell
Six songs
Three choral works
Dido and Aeneas

J.P. Rameau
One set from the Pièces de clavecin en concert
One cantata

J.H. Schmelzer/H.I.F Biber
Four works

B. Strozzi
Three works

G.P. Telemann
Two Paris Quartets

A. Vivaldi
Four Seasons
Gloria, RV 589

17th Century Italian
Four instrumental and four vocal works, including Castello and Fontana

17th Century French
Four vocal works

Four works, including two of women composers

Substitutions, including commissions of new work, may be made in any category with the approval of the advisor.

Requirements for Candidacy

Foreign Language

A basic reading knowledge of two foreign languages selected from French, German, Italian, 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

  • One lecture-recital: the lecture-recital may be presented in the forum of the Early Music Ensemble, in the Doctoral Seminar, or in public. It will be comprised of music studied in the Ensemble or Seminar, or types of music not included in the solo recitals. The lecture-recital may be given as a pre-candidate or as a candidate.
  • One collaborative recital: The collaborative recital may be given as a pre-candidate or as a candidate and must include vocal and instrumental music. Leading a larger ensemble from the keyboard for a portion of the recital is recommended.
  • Two solo recitals after reaching candidacy: repertoire will be selected to fulfill the needs and interests of the student.
  • Written document: A scholarly essay or research paper of approximately 5,000 words 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.

Apply Now

Please send inquiries regarding the SMTD application process to To learn more about SMTD, sign up for an Information Session.


    • Tiffany Ng Chair, carillon, University Carillonist
    • Joseph Gascho harpsichord, early music, Dir. of Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments
    • Nicole Keller organ, University Organist
    • Todd Wilson, organ, sacred music, improvisation
  • Associated Faculty


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