Graduate Diagnostic Exam

Guide to Entrance Examinations for All Entering Graduate Students

This exam is to be taken, as scheduled, during the registration period of the student’s first semester of study and is referred to as the Diagnostic Exam. Deficiencies revealed in this test will require the student to take either a follow-up version of this exam or courses specified by the examiner. The follow-up exam is referred to as the General Exam (master’s level) or Qualifying Exam (doctoral level). Students who do not take the Diagnostic Exam will automatically be required to take the General Exam/Qualifying Exam. Each student will have a maxi- mum of two attempts at the General Exam/Qualifying Exam; if she/he fails both times, she/he will be dropped from the program and the graduate school. Not taking an exam when it is scheduled also counts as a failure.

Entering doctoral students who are continuing directly from a master’s degree in UHM Music are exempt from taking parts I (Music History) and II (Music Theory) of the diagnostic/general exams, since the student has ful- filled this requirement. In Ethnomusicology and Composition, the student will also be exempt from part III. Musicology and Music Education doctoral students must take part III, the qualifying exam, upon entering the doctoral program.

The exams are offered in August (before the beginning of the fall semester), in January (before the beginning of the spring semester), and in the third week of April.

Students who enter in the fall semester will take the diagnostic examination in August. If the student does not pass any portion of the diagnostic examination she/he may re-take the examination in January and April or take the recommended course(s) between August and May and clear deficiencies in the first academic year of study by earning a grade of B or higher.

Students who enter in the spring semester will take the diagnostic examination in January. If the student does not pass any portion of the diagnostic examination she/he may re-take the examination in August and the following January or take the recommended courses(s) between January and December and clear deficiencies in the first year of study by earning a grade of B or higher. (N.B. Students who enter in the spring semester will be exempt from taking the April examination.)

Note: This is traditionally a two hour exam that must be passed by the end of the second semester of study.

This guide is intended to help graduate students prepare for the examination on Western music history and mu- sic literature. Since these diagnostic exams may vary somewhat in form and content, students should consult with musicology faculty responsible for testing on any specific test date.

To prepare for this test, students should use the Burkholder/Grout/Palisca History of Western Music, the Taruskin/Gibbs Oxford History of Western Music, and/or the Prentice-Hall series as a basis for study. They should also review major works and important repertories of music literature. Students may wish to use the outlines at the W.W. Norton website to guide their study.

The instructions for the first portion of the exam will read: “Briefly discuss the musical significance of the following names and terms.” Twelve or so names and terms will follow, distributed among the six major areas of Western music history. Allow two minutes for identification. For example:

Well-Tempered Clavier
Neue Zeitschrift für Musik
musica ficta

For the second portion of the exam, the instructions will read: “Three musical excerpts will be played for you. For each, give the period in which it was written, suggest a likely composer and an approximate date, and support your conclusions by listing audible stylistic features.” A score example will require similar comments. Allow five minutes for each answer. To prepare for this part of the exam, study an anthology of musical examples, such as the Norton Anthology of Western Music or Oxford Anthology of Western Music, and listen to its accompany- ing recordings.

The third and final portion of the exam will consist of three essay questions and will permit some choice. Allow one hour or more for this portion of the test.

Use the Table of Contents in Burkholder/Grout/Palisca, Taruskin/Gibbs, and/or the following outline to organize your study for the essay section of the exam.

plainchant, Medieval secular song, Medieval instrumental music, early polyphony (organum, 850- 1200), 13th century vocal music, 14th century vocal music (France, Italy).

15th century vocal music (England, Burgundy); 16th century Catholic sacred music (Franco-Flemish, Counter-Reformation); 16th century secular vocal music (Italy, France, England, Germany); instrumental music in the Renaissance; 16th century Protestant sacred music.

Baroque opera and secular cantata (Italy, France, England, Germany); Baroque sacred music, cantata and oratorio (Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican); Baroque chamber music; Baroque orchestral music; Baroque keyboard music.

Pre-Classic instrumental music (sonata, symphony, concerto); pre-Classic vocal music (opera, song, sacred music); Classic period forms and styles; Classic period orchestral music; Classic period chamber music; Classic period keyboard music; 18th century comic opera; 18th century opera seria.

Romanticism in the arts and specific manifestations in music; Romantic solo song; Romantic choral music; Romantic keyboard music; Romantic chamber music Romantic orchestral music; 19th century opera (France, Italy, Germany); nationalism in Romantic music.

20th Century
impressionism; nationalism in the 20th century; neo-classicism; expressionism and the twelve-tone method; music after World War II; European avant-garde; American avant-garde; vernacular and cultivated traditions in 20th century America.

Students may also be asked to write an essay on one or more major composers of Western music (figures such as Josquin, Monteverdi, Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, or Stravinsky).