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Music (TSM)

  • Course Type: Undergraduate
  • CAO Course Code: TR001 (TSM)
  • No. of Places: 20
  • Min Entry Points for 2014: 450 - 580 points (Points per TSM combination)
  • Duration: 4 Year(s) Full Time
  • Award: B.A.
  • Restricted Entry:

    This is a restricted entry course. Applications must be submitted by 1 February 2015

    Applications must be submitted by 1 February of the proposed year of entry. Applicants will be required to attend an entrance examination, provisionally scheduled for 28 March 2015.

    Specimen examination papers are available for download from the Music Department website:

  • Course Options:

    TR002 - Music is a single honor course where music is read almost exclusively for four years.

    TR001 - Music (TSM) is a joint honors programme. Music can be combined with one other subject. An honors degree is awarded in both subjects.

    For subjects that combine with music see TSM: possible combinations.

    Single honor and TSM students follow the same courses. While TSM students cover all the principal areas of music studied by single honor students, the workload is less than that of the single honor programme. TSM students have the same range of options as single honor students.

    See also:

    TR009: Music education

  • How to apply: See how to apply

Admission Requirements

For Admission requirements please click here


Click on the links below to see the available options

+ EU Applicants

Read the information about how to apply, then apply directly to CAO

+ Non-EU Applicants

+ Mature Student - Supplementary Application Form

+ Advanced Entry Applications

Course overview

The single honor and two-subject courses provide a thorough grounding in the basic skills of musicianship and academic study (see below for details). From the second year onwards, and especially in the third and fourth years, both courses offer a wide range of options. Students specialise in one of the following areas: composition, music technology, and musicology (the historical and analytical study of music); and in their final year they undertake a major project in that area. However, the course is designed so that students may also take subjects outside their specialisation.

Although instrumental or vocal studies are not part of the formal curriculum, a wide range of musical activities takes place on the campus. Practical courses in aural training and/or keyboard skills are available in each year; and the Music Department supports several performance groups that work under the supervision of experts in their fields (these are in addition to the many performance opportunities offered by student societies). The majority of subjects are based on the traditions and practice of classical (or art) music, from the medieval period to the present day. However, the department regularly presents lectures in other musical traditions, including jazz, contemporary and popular music. Many students currently in the department come primarily from one of those non-classical traditions.

One of the strengths of the Music courses in Trinity is the commitment to small-group teaching. While some subjects, such as History of Music, are delivered as lectures to a large group, many subjects are taught in groups of ten students or fewer.

Is this the right course for you?

If you love music and want to understand it - for example, to know how it works, its history and development, how to write music, how to become a more informed performer - this is the course for you. Whether your interests are primarily academic or practical, your experience of this vast and rich subject will be greatly improved in depth and breadth.

As an academic discipline, music fosters independence of thought, creativity, critical and analytical skills, and intellectual awareness. You will also have plenty of opportunity to perform, conduct ensembles, and gain experience of arts administration. Because the course includes a wide range of options, you will be able to emphasise the areas that interest you most.

The facilities in the Music Department include a recital room, practice rooms with pianos, an excellent and up-to-date suite of computer workstations that are used for teaching and study, a small music studio (plus more extensive, shared facilities elsewhere), excellent listening equipment, and a substantial lending collection of CDs and videos.

The staff of the Music Department have a wide range of expertise in composition, music technology and musicology. They are here to help you in your exploration of a subject that they chose because they, like you, love it.

As a student at Trinity College you will have access to the largest research library in Ireland. It is also by far the largest and best-equipped library for music. In addition to its general holdings of books and music, it houses an extensive listening collection of CDs.

Visit the Department of Music

  • If you are considering studying Music at Trinity College but want to be sure, you are most welcome to attend lectures at the department at any time during teaching terms. You will also be invited to discuss your options with a member of the teaching staff. Contact us by e-mail or phone (see below).

Course content

The Freshman years

The Junior Freshman (first) year is designed to ensure that you are fully competent in basic musical skills and provides an introduction to historical and analytical musicology, compositional techniques and music technology.

Subjects include:

  • Aural training - using moveable Doh (Solfege or Solfa). The course will improve your basic musical skills in areas such as musical dictation, sight-reading, and score-reading.
  • Keyboard skills - (taught in conjunction with aural training) will enable you to create harmony over a given figured bass, to play four-part harmony, and to transpose up or down a tone or semitone.
  • Introduction to harmony - an introduction to the writing of four-part harmony.
  • History of music - an introduction to the music of Baroque and early Classical periods in a broad cultural context (this forms part of a four-year programme of general music history), plus an introduction to research methodologies, and to presentation and style in writing essays.
  • Introduction to music analysis - includes re-assessment of the elements of a musical text and the ways in which they come together to form increasingly large units.
  • Music technology - includes computer orientation, and introduction to MIDI protocol, audio signals and computer-based notation and sequencing.
  • Introduction to counterpoint - the conventions of music notation and rudiments, leading to the study of Fuxian species counterpoint, which will enable you to acquire a command of basic polyphonic composition.

In the Senior Freshman (second) year you will continue with the above subjects from the first year while beginning to explore your specialist area - either composition, musicology, or music technology. TSM students have a wider range of options that includes Broad Curriculum (see

The Sophister years

In the Sophister (third and fourth) years study becomes more concentrated on your chosen specialisation. It is always possible to take options from other specialisations.

Students who specialise in composition will receive a thorough grounding in compositional techniques; they present a portfolio of their compositions as their final-year project. If you specialise in music technology you will produce a major project in the final year. Specialisation in musicology involves a range of courses relating to historical and analytical subjects, and culminates in a dissertation in the fourth year.

All students may opt to present a recital for up to approximately 10% of their degree. In each year, Sophister students are also offered an option in either aural training or in the playing of figured bass (using either piano or harpsichord). In recent years, other options have included:

  • Film music
  • Counterpoint and Fugue in three parts
  • The German Lied in the 19th century
  • Music and language
  • Byrd and the politics of polyphony
  • Sonata structures
  • Experimental theatre music and contemporary opera
  • Web design
  • Handel and the English oratorio
  • Elgar, Newman and The Dream of Gerontius


Most subjects are assessed by a combination of formal examination (at the end of the year) and continuous assessment, but most are assessed by continuous assessment, periodic class tests, and project work.

Career opportunities

The employment record for Trinity’s graduates in Music is excellent. Recent graduates have established successful careers as composers, as music producers for television, radio, or recording companies, as performers, administrators and teachers, as academics in internationally recognised institutions worldwide, and as conductors. Within the last few years several recent graduates have been commissioned by front-rank organisations such as RTÉ to write new works. Graduates are working in this country and in countries as diverse as the USA, Canada, Germany, Australia, China and England. Music graduates have an outstanding record of obtaining scholarships for further study abroad, from international institutions, as well as from the Arts Council of Ireland. A smaller number have used the analytical and intellectual skills that these courses offer to build successful careers outside music: recent examples include medicine, law, financial investment, and public relations.

Further information

Anyone considering studying Music is welcome to visit the department, in order to sit in on lectures, to speak to members of staff, and to speak to current students. To make an appointment, contact the Music Executive Officer: +353 1 896 1120; (office hours: 10.00-16.30, Mondays to Fridays).

Full details of the courses in Music, of the staff and of the curriculum can be accessed via the Music Department’s website: Tel: +353 1 896 1120

Graduate Profile

Music Graduate Profile

Claire Duff, Baroque and Classical Violinist

I graduated from TCD in 1998 with a higher honours degree in Music and French. While I wanted to become a violinist, I was also very interested in academia and was keen to obtain a university degree and experience university life before studying performance at a conservatory. I chose Trinity because of the excellent reputation of the music and French departments and the historic and vivacious atmosphere of the university.

While at Trinity I became interested in early music and it was through the encouragement of the lecturers that I decided to specialize in this field. I studied baroque violin at the Royal Academy of Music London, receiving distinction in the performance diploma and I later obtained a Masters in performance at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. I am based in London as a free-lance period instrument specialist, recording and touring with such orchestras as the English Concert and English Baroque Soloists. I also work as soloist, chamber musician and leader (of the Irish Baroque Orchestra, The Kings Consort and English Touring Opera).

I learnt invaluable analytical and research skills at Trinity but most importantly the degree inspired me and challenged my way of thinking, enabling me to think more independently.

I would recommend anyone who wants to have their ears opened, their minds challenged, their outlook broadened to study music at Trinity.