How about a laugh?
How about some humor… Here are some things I’ve found – I don’t claim them as original.
Doctoral Music Exam – you have 1 hour.
1. Explain the difference between sforza, sforzando,
sforzata, and La Forza Del Destino. Be specific.
2. What is the diameter of the hole in the water key on
If your instrument does not have a water key, what is
the diameter of the third moon of Jupiter?
3. List Johann Sebastian Bach’s children (include middle
names) and give:
a. Date of birth
b. Date of death (if deceased)
c. Last known address
d. Social Security number
4. Name the composers who wrote a First Symphony.
5. Give the opening theme of each symphony in #4 (above).
6. What is the relationship and musical significance of the
10th and 11th bars of the aria “Soldaten, Soldaten” to the aria’s
final bars (1048-1063) in the Alban Berg opera “Wozzeck”?
7. Who conducted “Tannhauser” at the 1847 Bayreuth
Festival? Was he right or left-handed?
8. Trace the development of the “Family Unity” theme in Richard
Strauss’ “Sinfonia Domestica”. In which key(s) is it presented?
9. Describe in detail the formula for the varnish on violins
made by Stradivari during the first third of his career.
Explain how this varnish differs from varnish used on his violas. What modern
substances could be effectively substituted in duplicating this formula today?
10. What is the optimum acidity/alkalinity (expressed in
pH) for soil in which cane for bassoon reeds are to be grown? For bass
11. Name the bones and muscles involved in forming a brass player’s
12. What is the advantage of using xylophone mallet heads
c. Philippine Mahogany
d. Compressed moose chips
13. Argue both sides of the following statement: “The most important
element in music is rhythm.”
* Critique both arguments and decide which is
correct, or more nearly correct.
* Compose a three-movement symphonic metamorphosis (not
to exceed 1 hour in length) on a theme by Ned Rorem to support
14. Defend Mozart’s use of the glass harmonica and explain
why this instrument has lapsed into disfavor, especially among
punk rock groups.
15. Give the “Slap-Back” time in seconds (to three decimal
places) of each hall used by all major American and European
orchestras. Defend your selection of each orchestra as a major orchestra,
and name each orchestra’s past and present conductors.
16. In which of his symphonies did Franz Joseph Haydn use:
17. Write the first 25 bars of Stravinsky’s “Circus Polka”
(from memory), and analyze.
18. What is the Koechel number of Mozart’s 4th Horn Concerto?
19. Develop a simple set of rules that explain the harmonic
and melodic progressions, voice leadings, and rhythmic notation
of the music of Bartok.
20. Give the ratio between the bore and overall length of a Couesnon
Contra-Bass trombone, Model G-571a, when the slide is
in flat 4th position. If the position is used in conjunction with
both thumb valves (F and D) to play the 7th note of the overtone
series, what note will be sounded? Will it be sharp, flat, or in
tune? If sharp or flat, by how many hundredths of a semitone?
21. Who invented the Ocarina? In what year? Why?
22. Explain the musical inconsistencies as to key, notation,
accidentals, etc, found in the original score of Robert Schumann’s
23. Write a seven-voice motet in the style of Orlando di
Lassus in invertible counterpoint. Extra credit if the motet
can also be performed backwards.
24. Using materials commonly found in the kitchen,
construct a 15 rank, 3-manual positiv organ (with pedals) and use it to
perform two pieces by Oliver Messiaen.
25. Reconstruct the missing movements of Schubert’s
26. Give the Russian, German, and Serbo-Croatian
equivalents of the following Italian terms: Tuffato, Con Amore, Cadenza,
Garbonzo, Mafioso, and Ferrari.
27. Explain why Benny Goodman could use parallel octaves,
but you can’t.