The purpose of the Music Tripos is to furnish students with a sophisticated understanding of music and its cultural context, while helping them to develop fundamental practical and critical skills.

It covers a broad range of disciplines, from the history and analysis of Western music to ethnomusicology, performance studies and music and science, as well as traditional technical exercises in harmony and counterpoint. Since the Music Tripos is very wide-ranging, much of the teaching is co-ordinated between the colleges; besides their supervisions at Emmanuel, students are supervised by members of other colleges in the University.

Students spend their first year taking courses in music history, analysis, and general aspects of the study of music, as well as studying tonal skills, musicianship and keyboard skills. Besides the lectures for each course, this typically involves three to four supervisions a week (harmony and counterpoint, history, analysis, musicology) and two Faculty classes (keyboard harmony, aural training). The final two years of the degree allow greater choice, with students able to select from a range of more specialized historical, theoretical and practical papers, from performance studies to ethnomusicological subjects, from notation to advanced composition, from popular music to dissertations on subjects chosen by individual students; second- and third-year students also have the opportunity to offer a recital as part of their examination. In the third year courses are typically taught in seminars, rather than through lectures and supervisions.

Emmanuel College has a long musical tradition, benefiting from the generous endowments of various former members which provide funds for College awards, for music lessons, and for concerts by students of the College and by professional musicians.

Opportunities for music-making at the College are many and varied. An active Music Society runs a choir and orchestra, both of which are usually involved in end-of-term concerts. In a series of weekly evening concerts each term, performances by individuals and chamber groups are welcomed. Another important focus of musical attention is the Chapel Choir, which sings for two services each week (Thursday Eucharist and Sunday Evensong) as well as at special College occasions.

The Chapel Choir is mixed, and usually has 20-25 members. The College Chapel, the Old Library, and the auditorium in the Queen’s Building provide the main venues for rehearsals and concerts. The Chapel Organ (34 stops) is one of the finest tracker-action instruments in Cambridge, built in 1988 by Kenneth Jones within the restored and extended 17th-century case. The College also owns a new Steinway Model B grand piano (housed in the Queen’s Building), a Bösendorfer grand piano, and a two-manual harpsichord made by Milan Misina of Oxford. For long practice sessions, three soundproof rooms, each housing an upright piano, are available. In addition, music students are provided with pianos in their own rooms.

As well as the Organ Scholarships and Choral Awards, the College also offers Instrumental Awards through the Inter-College Instrumental Award Scheme. For students reading Music, the cost of individual lessons (up to a limit of £450 a year) are met from Tutorial funds.

Admissions Information

Standard Offer: A-level - A*AA; IB - 776 at Higher Level, 41 or 42 points overall; Advanced Highers: A1A2A2; other exam systems.
Course Requirements: A-level (or equivalent) Music. Please note: ABRSM Grade 8 Theory at Merit and above may be accepted as a substitute for A-level (or equivalent) Music.
Course Outline: Further details are available on the Department's website.
Applying: For information on how to apply: University application process and Emmanuel application timeline.

Candidates should normally expect two interviews. The interviews will take place during the period Monday 7 - Wednesday 16 December 2020. Specific subject dates will be emailed to applicants in November.

The interview with the Director of Studies also provides a chance for applicants to play (or sing), if a candidate so chooses; other tests include discussion of a musical passage distributed 20-30 minutes before the Director of Studies interview. Applicants may also be given an unseen reading shortly before their other interview.

Submitted Work:

Applicants will be asked (following receipt of their application) to submit two pieces of written work, which they have written as part of their normal preparation for public examinations. One or two of these should be in essay format and one or two should be examples of technical work (including four-part harmony and/or counterpoint where appropriate) and/or composition. The preferred word limit is 2,000 words. Applicants may submit coursework, but this will only count for one piece of work, regardless of the length. The subjects of these essays may form the basis of discussion in the Director of Studies interview. The deadline for submission will be early November.

Admissions Assessment: There will be no written assessment for this subject at Emmanuel.
Course Enquiries: Emmanuel Admissions Office