UB Curriculum Courses

Every UB undergraduate completes the four-part UB Curriculum, which comprises the UB seminar; foundation courses in communication literarcy, math, and science; pathways allowing students to explore a series of interconnected courses; and the UB capstone project.

The music department offers a variety of courses within the UB curriculum, including an often-changing set of UB seminars. Below you'll find the current UB seminars and the ten regularly-scheduled pathways courses.

UB music majors and minors are encouraged to take these courses to complement their degree program.

Freshman Seminars

Current offerings include: 

  • Beethoven and the Economics Of Genius - Prof. Derek Strykowski
  • Open Ears, Open Minds - Prof. Tom Kolor
  • Music, Body, Soul - Prof. Claudia Brown
  • Guitar Hero - Prof. Sungmin Shin
  • Improvisation and the Human Experience - Prof. George Caldwell

Pathways Courses

Mus 113 - Music in Society: Music and Gender

This course is designed for students who wish to explore some of the interfaces between two fundamental aspects of human culture and identity, i.e. music and gender. We will examine the ways in which music has represented, reinforced, questioned, challenged, and/or dismantled gender identity in repertoire ranging from twelfth-century Christian mysticism to Hip Hop at the end of the twentieth century. Specifically, the first half of the semester explores how art music of the convent, the court, the opera stage, or the concert hall has shaped and given voice to historical and political configurations of gender and sexuality and how those representations have carried over into popular music. The second half of the semester examines in more detail styles and genres of popular music that have been instrumental in addressing issues of gender and sexuality in relation to questions of race and class. This course is the same as GGS 114 and course repeat rules will apply. Students should consult with their major department regarding any restrictions on their degree requirements.

Mus 114 - Genres of Music
Studies one historically established musical genre in Western art music, computer music, popular music, or film music.

In Fall 2023: The course explores hip hop as a musical genre and cultural phenomenon. We will trace hip hop's course of history from its foundation in New York City in the 1970s, through its stylistically adjacent upcroppings in various parts of the US, and ultimately to the complex and far reaching presence in mainstream media that it holds today. Various elements of the genre that we will discuss include production techniques, subject matter, lyricism, and its effects on pop culture and social climate."

Mus 115 - Understanding Music: A Global Opportunity

Understanding Music: A Global Opportunity invites you to explore the many ways in which mu-sic contributes to our shared human experience while also developing your skills as an active listener. Each weekly course module is structured around three guiding questions about music, the first of which is “When do we hear it?” After investigating the cultural circumstances in which the musicwas created, we then ask “What does it sound like?” through a participatory introduc-tion to the stylistic elements (such as melody and rhythm) from which all music is made. The ability to analyze almost any style of music according to these principles ultimately helps us to unravel the question of “What does it mean?” as our discussion turns to the mysteries of musical communication. You do not need any prior musical training as a performer in order to approach the topics above as a thoughtful listener. We will consider musical case studies drawn from a broad range of historical and geographical milieux in order to understand why music remains one of the most sublime and powerful expressions of human culture throughout the world.

Mus 116 - Introduction to Music Theory and Musicianship

Students will learn core concepts of music theory and develop basic competence in Western musicnotation and performance skills, including the ability to play chords at a keyboard, sing simple melodies, and play in band with other student musicians. The music studied is drawn from folk melody, a student-curated course playlist of (mostly) popular music, world music, and some classical music. No musical experience is assumed.

Mus 118 - The Beatles in the 1960s
This course explores the music, careers, and cultural phenomenon of the Beatles from their early days in Liverpool to the beginning of their solo careers. First we will examine the early musical and cultural influences that contributed to the band¿s identity in England. In doing so, we will delve into the popular music of the 1950s and the 1960s, including rockabilly, girl groups, Motown, rhythm and blues, the British Invasion, folk music, psychedelia, and rock. The class will proceed by concentrating upon the meaning of the Beatles' music and self-fashioning within the political, social, and historical context of the counter culture of the 1960s.

Mus 301 and 302 - Introduction to Electronic Music I and II
Two-semester course for students interested in music produced by electronic means. Explores the history and practice of electronic music, synthesizer music, and computer music. Examines experimental, rock, and other popular forms. Students learn basic studio techniques, synthesis/sound manipulation techniques, and psychoacoustic principles. 

Mus 364 - World Music
Introduces the student to music from all over the world, and expands concepts of music in the process. Students learn about different instruments from other cultures and how they influence the music they produce, and explore common features of Asian, European, African, American, and Oceanic music. Students also learn different ways of listening. Designed for non-majors. Requires no musical background.

Mus 365 - Rock Music
Examines the varied musical repertoires that are known collectively as rock and considers those musical forms that influenced the early history of rock (blues, rhythm and blues, country) and those that have had an influence throughout its development (experimental electronics, classical jazz). Analyzes rock music as both a musical and a sociological phenomenon. Topics include rock aesthetics, musical sub-cultures, music and film, music and politics, the business of rock, and the impact of American/British rock on world musical cultures. Requires no previous experience or training in music.

Mus 366 - Music in Society: Arts One
Arts One is an experiential course offered as part of the University's Creative Arts Initiative, a new program designed to bring creators and performers in the arts to campus to present their work and engage in conversations with students, faculty, and members of the community. Class size is limited to 16. Every week students will be exposed to what is going on in the arts in Buffalo: exhibits at the galleries, musical performances in various venues, literary events. Most weeks, someone connected with an event, a curator at one of the galleries or a writer or musical performer or composer, will meet with the class and have a conversation and answer questions. There will be no exam, but students will be expected to maintain a detailed notebook/diary about the various events. The goal is for participants to engage a wide variety of artistic events and have conversations with some of the people who make them happen. Tickets will be provided and so will transportation, as necessary.


Questions About Undergraduate music courses?

Get in touch with Undergraduate Studies Director, Professor Brian Moseley

Brian Moseley

Director of Undergraduate Studies; Associate Professor (Music Theory); Area Coordinator; Music Theory

Department of Music

418 Baird Hall

Phone: (716) 645-0646

Email: bmoseley@buffalo.edu