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Music (TSM)

B.A.; 20 places

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What is Music?

Music is a discipline that stretches back to the ancient world. One of the seven original liberal arts, music maintains a place in the University as a subject of broad and passionate interest to composers, musicologists, performers, technologists, and theorists.

Music: The course for you?

Studying music will allow you to engage with a range of traditions to acquire a profound understanding of how music works in theory and in creative practice. If you are interested in understanding music’s place in society, developing music technology skills, writing music, or improving your skills as an informed performer, this course could be for you. A music degree will prepare you for a wide range of careers, in the creative arts, journalism, music production, arts management, research, and teaching.

Music @ Trinity

Trinity’s Music Department is Ireland’s oldest and most internationally renowned venue for the study of music. With a distinguished team of academics and practitioners, the department attracts Irish and international students of the highest calibre. Alumni include Derek Bell, harpist in the Chieftains; Niall Doyle, Head of Music at the Arts Council; Deborah Kelleher, Director of the Royal Irish Academy of Music; and Donnacha Dennehy, Assistant Professor of Music at Princeton University.
Our curriculum integrates practical musicianship with rigorous scholarship. We offer a balanced musical education that provides specialisation in three key areas – composition, music technology, and musicology (the historical and analytical study of music). The course includes a wide range of options, allowing students to focus on their chosen areas of interest. A particular strength is the department’s commitment to small group teaching, with many subjects taught in groups of ten students or fewer.
The facilities in the Music Department include a recital room, practice rooms, computer workstations, a recording studio, listening equipment, and a substantial lending collection of CDs and videos.
Since the Music Department became part of the School of Creative Arts (formally School of Drama, Film and Music) in 2006 it has developed interdisciplinary connections, which include a jointly taught undergraduate module in film production. Music is closely affiliated with the University-wide research theme of Creative Arts Practice. The department hosts the university’s Music Composition Centre.
In 2013, the Royal Irish Academy of Music became an Associate College – a move designed to facilitate the development of an internationally renowned centre of excellence in performing arts. 2016 marked the appointment of Assistant Professor Nicholas Brown, and a renewed commitment to social engagement and educational outreach.

Graduate skills and career opportunities

The employment record for Trinity’s graduates in Music is excellent. Recent alumni have established successful careers as composers, music producers (for television, radio, or recording companies), performers, conductors, administrators, teachers, and academics in institutions worldwide. Several recent graduates have been commissioned by organisations such as RTÉ. Trinity Music students have an outstanding record of obtaining scholarships for further study abroad as well as from the Arts Council of Ireland. Some have used the analytical and intellectual skills that a Music degree offers to build successful careers in medicine, law, financial investment, and public relations.

Your degree and what you’ll study

The single honour and two-subject courses (TSM) provide a thorough grounding in the basic skills of musicianship and academic study. Students receive extensive training in aural and keyboard skills, learn the history and theory of art music from the medieval period to the present day, and choose modules in jazz, rock, popular, vernacular, and world music. Taught performance modules (e.g. conducting) allow students to contextualise their practical skills. In the specialisations (composition, music technology, and musicology), students are closely supervised in their chosen area. Students may continue to take modules outside of their specialisation. All students complete a final year ‘capstone’ project.

Many musical activities take place on campus. In addition to performance opportunities, students can gain experience in arts administration, music production, and interdisciplinary collaborations. Many students come from non-classical backgrounds.


First year

Aural Training, History of Music, Introduction to Harmony, Introduction to Music Analysis, Keyboard Skills, Rudiments and Counterpoint, Style and Presentation, Music Technology.

Second year

Continuation of subjects from first year, and the beginning of the exploration of up to two specialisms – Composition, Musicology, or Music Technology. Single honours students will also select a Broad Curriculum course (see; TSM students have a range of options.


Concentrated study in chosen specialisations, with possible options from other specialisations. Students can present a recital f. Instrumentation.
Recent options have included: Advanced Aural, Analogue Synthesis, Bob Dylan, Byrd and the Politics of Polyphony, Counterpoint and Fugue, Experimental Theatre and Contemporary Opera, Figured Bass, Film Music, Handel and the English Oratorio, Heavy Metal, Japanese Music, Java Programming, Nineteenth-Century German Lied, Rock Music History, and the Hollywood Musical.
In their specialisations, composers develop a variety of techniques; music technologists engage in theory and studio practice; and musicologists address history, culture, and theoretical subjects. Capstone projects take the form of, respectively, a portfolio of compositions, a major technology project, or a dissertation. More detailed information is available at:

Study abroad

Music students can apply to study abroad in European universities with the Erasmus programme (e.g., Royal Holloway University of London) and non-EU universities (University of Toronto, Peking University) via University-wide exchanges. The Department of Music is in the process of forming a partnership with a leading university in Malaysia.
Music students who study abroad find the experience hugely enjoyable, academically and culturally rewarding, and of value to prospective employers. Further information on study abroad can be found at:


Anyone considering studying Music is welcome to visit the department, to sit in on lectures, to speak to members of staff, and to meet current students. Office hours are 10.00-16.30, Monday to Friday. To make an appointment, please see our contact details below.


Tel: +353 1 896 1120

Social Media
Music Composition Centre on Twitter:


The School of Creative Arts


What our undergraduates say

Aoife Hanratty (Junior Freshman)

"Since I started in September, House 5 really has become my home away from home. I really feel like I belong here in the Music Department with like-minded people and it's been really easy to make friends. I am really lucky to be here studying what I love!"

Jill Montgomery (Junior Freshman)

"Music at Trinity is an exciting and challenging course. It allows me to learn what I love and discover more and more about its complexity and possibilities."

What our postgraduates say

Eileen Hogan

“Being from Galway, obtaining a university music degree locally wasn’t an option. I am very glad that I chose Trinity for music studies. Since day one I have found the faculty inspiring, supportive, and willing to help. The course has allowed for many incredible opportunities that have aided my personal and musical development, including directing the music department’s chamber choir, The Campanile Consort, and attending seminars in Oxford University. Most recently, I have been granted a scholarship from Indiana University which will allow me to continue my studies with an MA in Musicology in the US.”

Course Options



Number of Places


CAO code (Central Applications Office code) is

When applying for a TSM/TR001 combination, TR001 must NOT be entered on the application form. Please find your correct code and read TSM here


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

TR001 – Music (TSM) must be combined with one other TSM subject. An honours degree is awarded in both subjects.

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

See also:

TR009: Music education

Admission Requirements

For general admission requirements please click here

Though desirable, formal musical training is not a prerequisite for entry, but candidates should have a good ear and the ability to read and notate music to a rudimentary level. The most important musical qualification is a good ear.

On the basis of the entrance-examination results, applicants may be called to attend an interview at the end of April/beginning of May, before final selections are made. You are not required to perform at interview.

Restricted entry

This is a restricted entry course. Applications must be submitted by 1 February 2018

Applicants will be required to attend an entrance examination, scheduled for March/April 2018.

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


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

Read the information about how to apply as a mature student, then select the relevant link below to complete the TCD Supplementary Application Form for mature students.

+ Advanced Entry Applications

CAO code (Central Applications Office code) is

When applying for a TSM/TR001 combination, TR001 must NOT be entered on the application form. Please find your correct code and read TSM here


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

TR001 – Music (TSM) must be combined with one other TSM subject. An honours degree is awarded in both subjects.

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

See also:

TR009: Music education