Schola Cantorum Basiliensis

Entrance Exam

Registration to take the entrance exam requires a written application as well as payment of the application fee.

Applications due by January 31

Application fee: CHF 200.--

The application fee must be paid to the bank account of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts FHNW BEFORE the entrance exam. (For details, see the application form.) The fee cannot be reimbursed.

The entrance examination can only be undertaken two times in total.

1. Organization

Entrance exams take place once a year, the next exams take place from 13th March until 13th April, 2017. You will find the exact dates here.

Examination commission
In general, the examination is administered by a member of the Direction, the teachers of the subject in question, and  an ear-training teacher. Other teachers may be present. In order to have an idea of your chances of being accepted, you may send a recording, or possibly play / sing for the teacher with whom you hope to work.

Admission decision
A definitive decision about admission to the SCB can be made only after candidates have appeared in person at the entrance exam. In general, the results will be communicated within a few days after the exam.


The entrance exam consists of a general part (ear-training, basic musicianship, basic ability on a keyboard instrument) and the exam in the major subject.  Standards for candidates in a Master’s Degree program are higher than those for the Bachelor’s Degree.

A. General section (‘Theory’)
Hearing, singing and identifying intervals and chords. BA: simple triads: major, minor,  augmented and diminished. MA: including inversions of the seventh chord. Repeating a played melody and improvizing a completion. BA: melody dictation. MA: dictation of melody and bass,including adding figures where possible. Sight-singing a piece of medium difficulty.  Questions concerning general musicianship, including a basic knowledge of modes, may be tested.
All candidates who are not keyboard or harp or lute majors will be requested to show basic ability on the harpsichord, to play a short piece of their choice.

B. Major subject (‘Practise’)
You will be asked to play/sing at least 3 prepared pieces from 3 different
stylistic areas. At the bottom of this page you will find a list (pdf-File) which gives examples of the type of literature, as well as the level of difficulty.
You are not expected to play/sing these pieces!  They are just to indicate a general trend.


In addition to verification of having completed studies in Music Theory (a diploma as theory teacher from an institute of higher learning in music, a ‘Diplom für Alte Musik’, or a Master’s in Musicology) the following areas will be tested in the entrance exam:

A. Analysis
Stylistic area of your choice. The exam assignments will be chosen by the instructors of the Theory Department.
Preparation time: 30 minutes. Exam: ca. 20 minutes.

B. Composing a ‘style copy’
The task will be determined by instructors of the Theory Department, after previous consultation with the candidate. This part of the exam takes 2 hours. A keyboard instrument is available.

C. Ear-training skills, inner imagination
Written and oral tests, the content of which will be determined by previous consultation with the candidate. Exam: 20 minutes.

D. Keyboard instrument
One piece prepared ahead, one piece prima vista, a figured bass to be realized at sight.  Exam: 15 minutes.

- about the application form
- information about the general part of the entrance exam (theory) (pdf)
- examples of the type of pieces expected in the entrance exam (pdf)