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Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance: Organ Performance

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.

  1. Two courses are required in the field of Specialization:
    • Organ Literature 581, Antiquity to 1750 (2 hrs.)
    • Organ Literature 582, 1750 to Present (2 hrs.)
  2. Performance instruction is required as follows:
    • Music Performance 891, Directed Performance (2-6 hrs.), elected each term in residence as a precandidate
    • Music Performance 995, Dissertation/Candidate (8 hrs.), elected each term in residence as a candidate
  3. In addition, students elect at least three courses in organ literature from the following:

    • Organ Literature 782, Early Music for Keyboard (2-4 hrs.)
    • Organ Literature 783, Baroque Organ Music (2-4 hrs.)
    • Organ Literature 784, Organ Music of the Nineteenth Century (2-4 hrs.)
    • Organ Literature 785, Organ Music of the Twentieth Century (2-4 hrs.)
    • Organ Literature 786, Music of the French Baroque (2-4 hrs.)

    Students are expected to attain candidacy effective at the beginning of the sixth term.

  4. Musicology and Music Theory.Each D.M.A. student is required to complete no fewer than 15 hours of graduate course work in musicology and music theory at the University of Michigan or at least five courses totaling a minimum of 12 hours. Musicology 503, Bibliography of Music (3 hrs.), is required of each D.M.A. student and should be elected during the first term of enrollment as a precandidate. At least one musicology course at the 600-level must be elected by all doctoral students. Work beyond the minimum requirements in musicology and music theory may be necessary to prepare for the preliminary examinations. (An average of B must be achieved in these courses, and no course may be counted in which a grade lower than B minus is received.)

Residence Requirement

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

Requirements for Candidacy

  1. Languages. The requirement is a basic reading knowledge of two foreign languages (French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish) or of one foreign language plus presentation of a lecture-recital on organ, harpsichord, piano, carillon, or a combination of these instruments. With the permission of the Organ Department, a lecture-recital given in lieu of a language may be presented after achieving candidacy.
  2. Pedagogy. Every doctoral student in the School of Music, Theatre & 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. Repertoire Requirements
    • Early Music
      1. Buxtehude: four free works and six chorale-based works, including a chorale fantasia
      2. Other Dutch and German composers: ten representative works
      3. Italian composers: three representative works
      4. Iberian or English composers: two representative works
      5. Three representative works of the classical French school
    • J. S. Bach
      1. Toccata and Fugue in F Major
      2. Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C Major
      3. Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor
      4. The six trio sonatas
      5. Five large preludes and fugues
      6. Fifteen large chorale preludes
      7. Twenty-five smaller chorale preludes
      8. One partita
      9. Clavierübung, Part III or the Leipzig chorale preludes
    • Mozart—Either K. 594 or K. 608
    • The Romantic Period
      1. Brahms: Op. 122 and Chorale-Prelude and Fugue on O Traurigkeit or Fugue in A-flat Minor
      2. Franck: the three chorales and one other major work
      3. Liszt, Reubke, or Reger: one major work
      4. Mendelssohn or Schumann: three representative works
    • The 20th and 21st Centuries—three works in large form by such composers as Alain, Albright, Bolcom, Durufle, Hindemith, Langlais, Messiaen, Persichetti, Schoenberg, Sessions, Sowerby
    • Substitutions may be made in any category with the approval of the advisor.

  4. Preliminary Examinations Prior to Candidacy. Written preliminary examinations in music history (or the coursework alternative) and music theory, and an oral preliminary examination in the major field and cognate fields, and a preliminary examination in performance are required. 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. As preparation for this examination, the applicant must present evidence that two memorized public recitals of separate programs (normally completed for the bachelor's and master's degrees), including an approved number of major works, have been performed, and that most of the repertoire requirements have been completed. The preliminary examination in performance may not be taken until the residence, language, pedagogy, and repertoire requirements and other preliminary examinations have been successfully completed.

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

In lieu of a written dissertation, the student will be required to present three recitals of major organ works to be performed from memory after achieving candidacy. With departmental approval, as a substitution for the third recital the candidate may present a lecture-recital which will include, in addition to commentary, the performance of compositions representative of a field of research, such as Bach, Clavierübung, Part III; Franck, Trois Chorales; Messiaen, La Nativite, etc.


A scholarly essay of approximately 5,000 words on the music performed or a research paper of comparable length dealing with a particular aspect of organ literature will be required. This is a specific requirement of the Organ Department. The Graduate Student Handbook and The Dissertation Handbook of the Horace H. Rackham Graduate School are excellent resources for candidates preparing the document.


An abstract listing the music performed for the dissertation recitals and, if space permits, providing program notes and commentary is also 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.

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