Entering music graduate students should plan on taking the Music History Placement Exam prior to their first semester of study. Starting in Fall 2020, this exam is now given as an online exam in the weeks leading up to the start of a given semester. If you are an entering music graduate student and have not yet received word from the music office on taking this exam, please contact Department Chair Dr. Stephen Gorbos (GORBOS@cua.edu).
The Music History Placement Exam tests your general knowledge of all eras of music history. The exam consists of audio excerpts of European or American music, all drawn from the Norton Anthology of Western Music; for each one you are to identify the period (Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, or Twentieth Century) and answer specific questions about the excerpt. The questions may ask you such things as to suggest a composer, identify the genre, identify the geographical location where the music was written, or discuss and define a specific compositional technique or form present in the excerpt. Those wishing to study for the exam are encouraged to review any standard textbook used in Music History surveys, such as the latest edition of the Burkholder/Palisca/Grout, A History of Western Music. In particular, you should ensure that you are familiar with the terms in boldface in the text, written in the margins, and/or listed in the Glossary. It is also strongly recommended that you review the works in the Norton Anthology of Western Music (or a similar textbook anthology), including the information provided at the end of each piece. If you have any further questions after reading this, please contact Dr. Andrew Weaver (firstname.lastname@example.org), the Area Head of Music History.