Manhattan College to Offer Sound Studies Major in Fall 2020

The new major will incorporate studies in music recording, audio technology and critical theory. 

Student in digital audio labManhattan College will introduce a new sound studies major beginning in the fall of 2020. 

“The sound studies major meets the immediate interests and needs of our students who desire digital tools for career opportunities in the near and distant future, while at the same time equipping them with a critical awareness of history, theory and aesthetics, which are at the heart of a liberal arts education,” said Mark A. Pottinger, Ph.D., chair of the newly established department of Music and Theater. That department was previously combined with Art History and Digital Media Arts in the department of Visual and Performing Arts.

About the Major

The sound studies major will present a critical approach to the act of listening and performance. The major incorporates studies in music editing and recording, audio technology, acoustics, musicology, popular music, music theory, and performance in piano, voice and guitar. 

The core areas of the major will include music theory and analysis; music history and culture, including the history of audio technology; performance studies via a particular instrument; and digital audio recording and sound design. 

“By redefining the study of music as the study of sound, the program will examine the entire listening experience and the various societal forces that inform it, including technology, physiology, religion, politics, history and the environment,” Pottinger said. “The investigation of how sound influences who we are and what we desire to be is the main curricular function of the program, which aligns sound studies with the College’s mission of social justice and community engagement.” 

Why Major in Sound Studies?

Students who major in sound studies will develop a critical awareness of the history of music and its impact on society; create, capture and edit sound in order to cultivate and apply new approaches to music performance, research and education; and support collaborations between music, science and technology.

“Combined with internship opportunities in New York City, the sound studies major opens areas of job growth for our students in acoustics; sound design for theater, film, gaming and music performance; sound engineering; music instrument building; audio recording; music education; and graduate study in musicology, ethnomusicology and media studies,” Pottinger added. “It is very exciting for me to be a part of this new program that will truly benefit the students and the wider College community.” 

By Pete McHugh