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Music Curriculum
Department of Music


The purpose of the Department of Music at Kathmandu University is to:

In order to achieve this, the Department of Music has been designed to work in five different areas:

  1. Academic course leading to B.A. and M.A.
  2. Practical music classes
  3. Sound Archive (recording and preservation)
  4. Publication and communication (literature, bulletin, master tapes for CDs, documentary films, public concerts)
  5. Research

The British Council, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the School of Asian and African Studies (S.O.A.S.) at the University of London have offered to collaborate with the Department of Music, Kathmandu University, in supporting the academic programme.


The three years Bachelor degree course and the research-oriented two years Master degree course will form the core activity of the department. They are the first in a series of programmes proposed to be offered by the department. Initially, only the B.A. course will be offered in August, every year, and after three years the M.A. course will follow. Practical studies in several traditional forms of Nepalese music will be offered. Extra curricula in performance teaching will be available to all occasional students as non-collegiate courses.

The B.A. Programme

Degree Requirements

The degree of Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) is awarded on successful completion of prescribed courses and project work spread over three academic years in six semesters of full-time study. The curriculum is designed to develop an integrated understanding of Nepalese and South Asian music and a basic knowledge of other musical traditions of the world and subjects and skills related to ethnomusicology.

Prerequisites for Admission

The prerequisites for joining the B.A. programme at the Department of Music are:

  1. S.L.C. (10 years) plus I.A. (2 years)
  2. Working knowledge of English to read, write and communicate.
  3. Musical aptitude.

The M.A. Programme

Degree Requirements

The degree of Master of Arts (M.A.) is awarded on successful completion of prescribed courses and project work spread over two academic years in four semesters of full-time study. The curriculum is designed to deepen the understanding of Nepalese and South Asian music and prepare students for field work (including use of recording media) leading to their own research and M.A. thesis.

Prerequisites for Admission

The prerequisites for joining the M.A. programme at the Department of Music are:

  1. B.A. in Music (Kathmandu University) or degree certifying equivalent knowledge and training.
  2. Reasonable command of spoken and written English.
  3. Musical aptitude and performance background.
  4. Ability to use personal computer and commonly used word processing software.
  5. Students who do not have a background as required in the above areas may have to attend extra hours of tutorials in the first semester or take extra courses, in order to bring them to the required standard.


Practical courses offered by the Department of Music and their teachers will include:

a. Ganesh Bahadur Sijakhva: Dhimay, Lalakhin (Newar drumming)
b. Hari Govinda Ranjitkar : Dha, Kvata, Dhaca, Dhimayca, Naykhinca, Pachima, Dhalak, Kvakhinca, Nagara
c. Prajwal Bajracharya: Carya dance
d. Daniel Birch: Sarod (Raga Music)
e. Gert-Matthias Wegner: Tabla (Classical North Indian Drumming)


Students are admitted to the B.A. and M.A. programmes on the basis of interest, aptitude and capacity for music study as indicated by their academic records, performance in the interview, and musical experience.

To be eligible for applying to the M.A. programme, candidates should hold a Bachelor's degree of at least 3 years duration (10+2+3 years of education), with a minimum of 60% marks in aggregate.

Selection is done through a multi-mode, multi-criteria procedure. Candidate's academic records, references, personal interview and work experience are considered with differential weightage given to each.


Depending on the respective unit, instruction happens through lectures, practical demonstrations with discussion, seminars (students presenting papers to be discussed), practical courses (demonstration and practice of special skills), self-instruction, specified reading, and students' field-work with presentation and discussion of results and problems. Students are encouraged to participate actively during seminars and lectures, by questioning concepts and expressing views and opinions readily. The students' critical response is asked for, not passive consumption and reproduction of information.


Evaluation at the Department of Music is continuous. The student is evaluated on class participation, home assignments, mid-term tests, and final examinations. In some courses, students may be assigned term papers and project reports for evaluation. Depending on the nature of the respective unit/paper theoretical and/or practical exams and/or assignments are held. Assignments can be essays on a certain aspect of music or an in-depth work or a practical performance (two to three assignments per unit). The Department of Music attaches importance to regular attendance in the course work and students have to maintain a minimum of 75% class attendance.

At the end of each semester, students are awarded letter grades which represent the weighted average of grades obtained in various segments of evaluation. Evaluation is done on a four point grade system as follows:

Grade A B C D F
Grade Point 4 3 2 1 0

Passing Standard

To graduate from the Department of Music, a student must obtain an average of at least 2.0 points in all semesters including project work. Reexamination will be given to students who have obtained 'F' in a particular course or were absent with good cause during the examination.


Nepalese students : Rs. 500.- per month
Students from SAARC countries : Rs. 1500.- per month
Students from other countries : US $ 200.- per month


The Department of Music is planning to grant two scholarships for especially promising Nepalese students.



The library offers students a good selection of books on musical traditions of the world with a maximum number of publications on South Asian music. A computer, photocopy machine and a microfilm reader will be part of the equipment.


Classes will be held in Bhaktapur at the Harsha Narayan Dhaubhadel Shivalaya at Chupin Ghat, where the Department of Music found its permanent place in the most peaceful and idyllic setting. Access is possible from Taumadhi Square, Bhaktapur via Gahiti-Lasinkhyah or by road from Arniko Highway via Jagati.


The B.A. and M.A. programmes require altogether ten semesters of full time work spread over five academic years. During the B.A. and M.A. courses students have to attend the following courses offered by other departments:

If not mentioned otherwise, all the courses are compulsory for all B.A. and M.A. students.

Kathmandu University reserves the right to make changes and improvements to the courses offered. If the number of students willing to take a particular elective is insufficient, Kathmandu University reserves the right to withdraw the elective course for the respective semester.


Schedule Of B.A. Courses

First Year Programme

First Semester           Credit Units (hrs./week)
    MUSC 101 Music and Society .. .. .. .. .. (2) 
    MUSC 102 Practical music                  (3) 
    MUSC 103 Study Skills .. .. .. .. .. .. ..(2) 
    NEPS 101 Introduction to Nepal            (3) 
    NEPS 102 South Asian Civilisation I .. .. (2) 
    ENGL 101 English                          (1) 
    ENGL 102 English .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .(2) 
             or for foreign students 
    NEPS 307 Basic Situational Nepali .. .. ..(3)
             Total Credits                   (15)
Second Semester          Credit Units (hrs./week)
    MUSC 104 Notation .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. (2) 
    MUSC 105 World Music I: Introduction      (2) 
    MUSC 106 Practical Music .. .. .. .. .. ..(3) 
    NEPS 104 South Asian Civilization II      (2) 
    CMPA 101 Computer application .. .. .. .. (3) 
    ENGL 103 English                          (1) 
    ENGL 104 English .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .(2) 
             or for foreign students 
    NEPS 308 Introductory Nepali .. .. .. .. .(3)
             Total Credits                   (15)

Second Year Programme

First Semester                               Credit Units (hrs./week)
Second Semester                              Credit Units (hrs./week)

Third Year Programme

First Semester                          Credit Units (hrs./week)
Second Semester                         Credit Units (hrs./week)


First Year Programme

First Semester                              Credit Units (hrs./week)
Second Semester                             Credit Units (hrs./week)

Second Year Programme

First Semester Credit Units (hrs./week)
Second Semester                    Credit Units (hrs./week)



First Year Programme

  • MUSC 101 Music and Society
  • This course is intended to provide students with an orientation for the entire five year course and a rigorous foundation of the basic precepts of music as part of a social and cultural fabric.

  • MUSC 102, 106 Practical music
  • This course offers practical training in various forms of Newar music, Shastriya Sangit and Western Music, starting with basic exercises for voice and rhythm before proceeding to performance training . Practical music training is offered for all.

  • MUSC 103 Study Skills
  • The course will focus on practical skills such as the application of musical notation, the use of standard international conventions for transcribing textual material, as well as for creating bibliographies and audiographies.

  • NEPS 101 Introduction to Nepal
  • The aim of the course is to make students familiar with the outlines of the geography, geology, flora and fauna, ethnography, economy and history of Nepal. It is a basic course devoted to different interdisciplinary areas.

  • NEPS 102 South Asian Civilization I
  • The objective of this course is to analyze the basic features of South Asian Civilization which includes Hindu and Buddhist cultures and their impact in shaping modern South Asian society.

  • ENGL 101-104, 201-202 English
  • The schedule of courses requires students to take courses in English through the first two years of the B.A. programme, to provide students with the requisite standard of language skills to handle the coursework. The courses will also include topics like essay technique to train students in the presentation of ideas and arguments in a concise and logical manner.

  • NEPS 307 Basic Situational Nepali
  • This course aims at introducing the foreign learners to the basic patterns of spoken Nepali used in different situational contexts. This course is also designed to accommodate those foreign learners who study this language for a short period.

  • MUSC 104 Notation
  • This course introduces various systems of music notation including Western staff notation and oriental systems.

  • MUSC 105, 301, 302, 306, 307 World Music I - V
  • The aim of this series of courses is to enlarge the students' knowledge of world music, to create an understanding of different historical developments and to promote an appreciation of the various musical traditions, the forms, and their means of expression. The comparison of other musical traditions will provide Nepalese students with a wider perspective within which to understand their own traditions and to develop a musical aesthetic.

  • NEPS 104 South Asian Civilization II
  • The aim of the course is to expose the intricacy of South Asian civilization with emphasis on the Hindu-Muslim and Anglo-Indian synthesis. Special emphasis is laid on the socio-economic life and the communication network.

  • CMPA 101 Computer application
  • A practical introduction to the computer, main hardware peripherals and operating systems, and basic keyboard skills, leading to office automation and personal productivity applications which will be useful for assignment work and research reports.

  • NEPS 308 Introductory Nepali
  • This course aims at developing the basic skills in written and spoken Nepali.

    Second Year Programme

  • MUSC 201 Music of South Asia I: Great Traditions
  • This course offers an introduction to the two great traditions of Classical North Indian and South Indian music, as they permeate the musical life of the subcontinent.

  • MUSC 202 Music of Nepal I: Kathmandu Valley
  • MUSC 206 Music of Nepal II: Music of the hills and other areas
  • Special emphasis is given to the musical heritage of Nepal, with its history, literature, instruments, forms and techniques. The importance of perfomers,. social and ritual implications, musical change, and schemes for preservation is also given attention. Students and staff will work together to survey the extent of our current knowledge of Nepalese musical traditions, with a view to identifying potential areas for field studies.

  • MUSC 203, 207, 304, 309 Aural Training
  • This is a practical course designed to open the ears of the students. They will learn how to listen attentively, recognise structures, pitches and time units, and write everything down in a notation which represents the musical event as closely as possible. The results are analysed and discussed. Both live and prerecorded music will be used for these purposes. The schedule requires Aural Training courses to be taken through both semesters of the second and third year, starting with elementary exercises, gradually progressing to complex material and analyses.

  • MUSC 204, 208, 305, 310 Practical Music
  • This is the second phase of practical training of musical performance acquired during the first year. Students will be required to be able to perform with the Department ensemble. This course will be offered to all.

  • NEPS 202 Basic Elements of Nepalese Society and Culture
  • This course aims at making the students familiar with the basic elements of Nepalese society and culture. It includes heterogeneous topics such a caste system ethnicity, voluntary associations, kinship, and kingship.

  • MUSC 205 Music of South Asia II: Local Traditions
  • This course offers a comprehensive view of South Asian music. The various musical traditions are discussed in detail and illustrated with the help of live and recorded examples.

  • NEPS 310 Fundamental Concepts in Anthropology and Sociology
  • This course will provide students with a methodological base by introducing the basic concepts of anthroplogy and sociology with special reference to Nepal.

    With special reference to Nepal.

    Third Year Programme

    Through this course, students will be exposed to historical development of Western classical music. This supplements courses on World Music through the study of a great tradition that has influenced musical thought and practice all over the world.

  • NEPS 361 Anthropology & Sociology of Nepal I
  • This course will discuss some major sociological and anthropological issues about Nepal, as discussed by various scholars, as well as the theoretical and methodological perspectives they use.

  • BUMG 101 Business Management
  • This course offers an introduction to techniques and strategies in business management, in order to prepare students for a future survival in the profession.

  • NEPS 373 Anthropology & Sociology of Nepal II
  • This course will discuss to Nepal's ethnic, linguistic and religious heterogeneity. It will examine a few ethnographic studies of ethnic/caste groups in different regions of Nepal.

  • NEPS 320 Iconography, Art and Architecture of Nepal
  • The objective of this course is to introduce the basics of Nepalese iconography, art and architecture.


    First Year Programme

  • MUSC 401, 406 Seminar in Ethnomusicology I & II
  • This course focuses on the history of the subject Ethnomusicology, along with its chief exponents, theories and methods. The major theoretical goals of Ethnomusicology are the analysis and comparison of musical structures and events, the role of the musician, the performance context (including historical and ritual implications and those of the locality and society), and the study of musical change. Special emphasis is given to the documentation and preservation of tradition. The course will be conducted in the form of weekly seminars on a number of specific topics, followed by related assignments in each case.

  • MUSC 402, 408 Aural Training and Analysis I & II
  • The aims of this practical course in musical transcription and aural analysis are first, to sharpen the students' perception of musical parameters, especially pitch and rhythm, and secondly, to explore and practise techniques of notation appropriate to the transcription of music. Interactive computer software will be used to improve aural skills, particularly in the area of interval recognition.

  • MUSC 403 Organology
  • Organology and organography consist of the systematic description of musical instruments. The course will deal with various classification systems and their application. Students will work towards a comprehensive and systematic survey of Nepalese musical instruments.

  • MUSC 404 Special Seminar in World Music I & II
  • This course will be conducted by area specialists of various musical cultures, and is thus anticipated to focus on different regions each year.

  • NEPS 462 Research Methodology
  • This course imparts training in field methods in general and their application for projects in ethnomusicology.

  • NEPS 351 - 357, 363 - 369 Elective Language I & II
  • The students will select one of the local languages of Nepal which will be useful for their future work.

  • MUSC 407 Preparation for Fieldwork: Audio and Video Recording
  • Students will be given intensive training in the use of audio and video recording in the field. A special course in studio recording and editing will be offered in collaboration with American and Japanese specialists and technicians.

  • MUSC 410 Music and Ritual
  • This advanced level course will focus on musical traditions of Nepal at a more complex level including historical/musical relations betweeen India and Nepal, Buddhist ritual music, musical apprenticeship, music and urban ritual, music and patronage.

    Second Year Programme

  • MUSC 501, 505 Tutorial
  • The tutorial is aimed at helping students to select, plan and conduct their individual field projects.

  • MUSC 502, 506 Student Seminars
  • Topics will be announced at the beginning of the term for the students to select and prepare their presentations. The individual presentations are followed by discussion of the topics.

  • MUSC 503 Research Project I: Data Collection
  • Students will be given approximately four weeks during the first term to conduct research for their projects. The project will be on a subject chosen in consultation between tutor and student and approved by the Department of Music.

  • MUSC 504, 508 Practical music (optional)
  • This is for students who are pursuing performance training at an advanced level.

  • MUSC 507 Research Project II: Research Report
  • The preparation of the final research report will include consultation with supervisors, preparation of data for analysis and presentation, as well as a demonstration of writing skills. The report should be prepared within the following broad outlines:

    i) a study based on the candidate's own fieldwork, approxiamtely 5000 words in length.

    ii) As above, but approximately 1500 words in length, with substantial musical examples and transcription.

    iii) A critical or philosophical study on an approved topic, approximately 5000 words in length.


    Dr. Shubha Chaudhuri
    Director (Research), Archives and Research Centre for Ethnomusicology
    American Institute of Indian Studies, New Delhi

    Dr. Ritwik Sanyal
    Senior. Lecturer, Department of Vocal Music, Banaras Hindu University

    Dr. Gert-Matthias Wegner
    Guest Professor and Director of Department of Music, Kathmandu University

    Dr. Richard Widdess
    Senior Lecturer in Ethnomusicology, with reference to South Asia,
    S.O.A.S., University of London


    Daniel Birch
    M.A. South Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin
    M. Mus., Bhatkhande Sangit Vidhyapith, Lucknow
    Interests: Sarod, Guitar, North Indian music

    Dr. Gert-Matthias Wegner
    Director of Department of Music, Kathmandu University
    Interests: Piano, Tabla, Newar drumming, India, Nepal, Western Classical music

    Visiting Faculty from the Department of Music Studies,
    School of Oriental and African Studies (S.O.A.S.) University of London:

    Ms. Lucy Durán
    Lecturer in African music, S.O.A.S., University of London
    Interests: African music (esp. W. Africa), music of African diaspora (esp. Caribbean), popular music, 'World Music'

    Dr. Keith Howard
    Chairman, Centre of Music Studies, S.O.A.S., University of London
    Interests: Korea, anthropology of music, composition.

    Dr. David W. Hughes
    Snr. Lecturer in Ethnomusicology, S.O.A.S., University of London
    Interests: Japan, South East Asia (Java, Thailand), linguistics and music

    Dr. Richard Widdess
    Senior Lecturer in Ethnomusicology, with reference to South Asia,
    S.O.A.S., University of London
    Interests: India, Nepal, textual sources for music history in South Asia, North Indian classical vocal music, relationships between Indian and Nepalese music traditions.

    Prof. Owen Wright
    Professor of the musicology of the Middle East, S.O.A.S., University of London
    Interests: Turkey, Middle East generally, textual sources for music history in the Middle East.

    Visiting lecturers from other institutions:

    Prof. Franck Bernčde
    Music Conservatories of Metz and Nantes
    Interests: Violoncello, Baroque Music, local traditions of the Himalayas

    Dr. Shubha Chaudhuri
    Director (Research),Archives and Research Centre for Ethnomusicology
    American Institute of Indian Studies, New Delhi
    Interests: Ethnomusicology archives, computerisation, music traditions of Western Rajasthan

    Max Rossmassler
    Ali Akbar College of Music, California
    Interests: Guitar, Jazz, North Indian classical music, sound recording

    Dr. Ritwik Sanyal
    Snr. Lecturer, Department of Vocal Music, Banaras Hindu University
    Interests: Dhrupad, philosophy of music, musicology (Indian textual traditions). North Indian Classical vocal music

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