Clare College Cambridge

Studying Music at Clare


Studying Music at Clare


Teaching takes all forms: lectures (formal instruction given by members of the Music Faculty Staff), seminars (smaller groups supervised by Faculty Lecturers but involving student participation), Faculty classes for keyboard and aural training, and College-based supervisions (informal, but intensive discussion in small groups). Supervisions are arranged by the Director of Studies and may involve a number of teachers drawn from different Colleges. They are held in the supervisors' own rooms, either singly or in groups of two to six students. Supervisions are given in all subjects being studied for the Tripos and represent the core of work done during the term. Essays, and exercises in harmony, counterpoint and composition, etc, are set and marked on a weekly basis. Music students have access both to the University Library and to the Pendlebury Library in the Faculty. The Pendlebury is one of the best equipped music faculty libraries in the country, containing a full range of complete editions, miniature scores, sheet music and music text books, as well as an excellent library of recordings. There are video-tape facilities and listening booths for recorded music. Clare College, situated close to both the University Library and the Pendlebury, has a well-stocked Tripos-orientated music section in the Forbes Mellon Library. The College’s Choir website,, gives further details of practical music-making in the College and testimonials from the many distinguished musical alumni of the College.


In the first year (Part IA), you study for six papers, all of them examined at the end of the year. These include the study of technical skills (writing harmony and counterpoint) and topics in Western music from the Middle Ages through to the present day. You also take courses in Analysis, which deals with music from 1700 to 1830, and Practical Musicianship, which develops your skills in aural and keyboard.  Finally, you choose one option from among composition, extended essay and performance.

In the second year (Part IB) you study five subjects. The Portfolio of Tonal Compositions and Analysis and Repertoire (this time of music from 1830 to the present) are compulsory. You can then choose the other three subjects from a wide-ranging list. In the third year (Part II) you study six subjects, at least two of which need to be examined by a three-hour written examination.

More detail about the course structure is available.

The Music School is situated in West Road.


Reading Lists

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