Director of Studies: Dr Martin Parker Dixon (Fitzwilliam College)
Most Music students will have taken A level Music or equivalent, but it’s possible to study Music at Cambridge without having studied the subject at A level (or equivalent); however, such candidates will normally need to have achieved a Merit or above at Grade 8 ABRSM Theory to be eligible for a place. Music Technology is not normally an acceptable substitute. Some degree of keyboard ability is useful, as there is a small keyboard element in the first year, and in several papers it helps if you are able to try out ideas on the piano. For these reasons, it is important that you have some keyboard ability. You should also bear in mind that the Music Tripos is highly technical, and candidates should have strengths in harmony and counterpoint, music theory and general music literacy.
It would be helpful for the interview panel if candidates could present two pieces of recently completed work. Ideally, we would like to see work which demonstrated competence in essay writing and in working with some aspect of music notation. We would prefer to see an essay on a musical topic, but given the varied nature of musical study today, an essay on an historical, philosophical, or sociological topic would be acceptable. In terms of notated music, we would like to see a harmony exercise or a composition, either original or stylistic.
Additionally, at interview candidates will be given an unseen exercise involving the consideration of a text with musicological interest and a short musical excerpt for comment.