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Three colleges unite to make modern music at Carnegie Mellon University

A new study program at Carnegie Mellon will offer musicians a degree that combines music, electrical engineering, and computer science--a unique repertoire of studies to prepare performers for the modern concert hall. The program offers undergraduate and masters degree candidates an integrated study of the aesthetic and technological tools that are transforming contemporary music.

Fulfilling a longstanding goal for the university's curriculum, the new Bachelor of Science Degree in Music and Technology, for which the first class of students are now being selected to enroll in the fall, requires applicants to be accepted to both the School of Music in the College of Fine Arts and either the School of Computer Science or Carnegie Institute of Technology, according to Noel Zahler, head of the School of Music.

"We are looking for students who combine an interest in the full range of electronics and computing issues with a talent for composition in order to discover new ways to compose, perform, and present music in live performances and digital reproduction," Zahler says.

Pursuing a curriculum that combines music theory and performance with heavy requirements in software programming and the engineering of sound, students in the program will represent, Zahler says, "the next generation of musical entrepreneurs who are searching for new ways to enrich the possibilities of live performance." Moreover, given the rigors of the academic work, enrollments will be limited to the four or five most-qualified applicants in any one year, he adds, while graduate level studies will be limited to fewer than ten at any one time--limits that are certain to give the program a cachet of exclusivity considering the 50-plus applications that have already been submitted.

"This is one of the most exciting things that can happen to both music and the sciences," Zahler says. "It's been long-awaited and there is tremendous excitement about its possibilities."

Caption:Riccardo Schulz, a teacher in CMU's Music and Technology program

Source: CMU, Noel Zahler,
Photo Credit: Eric Sloss
Writer: Joseph Plummer
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