Organ improvisation (M. Mus.)

1. Overview of the degree program

Standard period of study 4 semesters (2 years)
Overall scope

120 credit points;

20 semester hours in the compulsory modules,

8 semester hours in the elective compulsory module

Admission requirements

A Bachelor's degree in church music, organ, organ score-reading and sight-playing   or an equivalent degree awarded by a university in Germany or abroad

Successful completion of a qualifying examination

Candidates applying for the aptitude test, who have neither a German general qualification for university entrance nor a degree / graduation in a German speaking course of studies have to prove sufficient knowledge of the German language (comparable with level A1-GERR). This can be proven either through submission of appropriate test certificates or through a conversation with the Board of Examiners during the qualifying examination. If necessary, the Board of Examiners advices to take part in study-integrated German classes according to the respective language skills.

Entrance into the program possible both in summer and winter semester
Degree Master of Music (M. Mus.)
Program objective

Graduates of the Master's degree program in Organ Improvisation have the ability to design the organ section of church services (irrespective of confession) and provide it with outstanding artistic quality. The training program is targeted at establishing masterful playing technique and on the development of interpretation skills suitable for this style. This includes the stylistically confident performance of suitable works for organ. The aim is to instill the broadest possible spectrum of stylistics, diversity of form, and improvisational techniques.

Knowledge of tonality, harmonization, and composition as well as liturgical integration is essential. The artistic fundamentals of improvisation will also be developed and improved. In addition, participants will be expected to undertake the creative and artistic presentation of improvised organ music in a concert framework but, as a rule, in combination with written organ works. They will also develop their own particular (and contemporary) musical language.

Course structure and contents

The degree program encompasses seven compulsory modules and one elective compulsory module (interdisciplinary study/context study)

Major artistic training I, V and VII
Organ improvisation

Major artistic training II
Organ improvisation, Harmony / Harmonization / Work Analysis (jazz-specific)

Major artistic training III

Major artistic training IV
Organ score-reading

Major artistic training VI
Organ score-reading and stylistics

as well as 1 elective compulsory module:

Context studies
Courses of the School of Music and its cooperation partners

(For more information see the annex of the Examination regulations relating to the respective course of studies and the module handbook respectively.)

Master's examination
  1. Module-by-module exams during the course of studies
  2. Final performance examination (For details see the examination regulations)

2. Requirements for the qualifying examination

Requirements On registering for the qualifying examination, a list of styles and forms mastered prior to entering the program must be submitted
Subjects for the examination
  • 8-day tasks: Assignment of topics with reference to the submitted list of forms and styles
  • A free improvisation on a provided topic
  • Ad hoc tasks: Themes and/or songs based on styles and forms in the submitted list (at least two different areas should be covered). Improvised intonations, cantus firmus handling in various self-selected forms; song accompaniment based on a single-voice pattern, including highlighted cantus firmus and transposition. Where applicable, also improvisation on free forms (duration: approx. 20 minutes)