MUS1013 : Understanding Modern and Postmodern Musics

  • Offered for Year: 2012/13
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Paul Attinello
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This overview of music since 1913 includes lectures giving an overview of musical trends and their cultural contexts, along with readings in cultural history and theory and music examples of innovative works over the time period involved.
A first half focusing on the innovations of Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Boulez, Stockhausen and their associates gives way to a wider consideration of hybrid experiments between avant-garde and popular styles from 1968 onwards, leading up to software and Internet influences on music of the present day.

Outline Of Syllabus

I.       First Shocks of Modernism
II.       Early Modernism I: Atonality and Rhythym
III.       Early Modernism II: Neoclassicism and Pluralism
IV.       High Modernism II: indeterminacy and improvisation, free and fusion jazz
V.       High Modern to Early Postmodern: Cage and the Cultural Transition
VI.       1968: Shattering traditions and the politics of change
VII.       Opening up in the 70s: minimalism, tonality, performance art
VIII.       Hybrids: crossing history and genre
IX.       Overlapping stages: new operas and new musicals
X.       Rhizomes: new postmodernisms, new technologies, new cultures
XI.       Globalization / Internet / Millennium
XII. High Modernism I: serialism and scientism

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops121:0012:00Listening Sessions
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1164:00164:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures introduce you to issues, musical works, key texts and terms etc. You investigate and digest these through listening and reading as part of your private study time. Seminars provide you with an opportunity for discussion of this material.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A80N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M204 written assignments
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The exam tests (i) how well you have assimilated aspects of the course material, (ii) your ability to formulate a critical position on the material, and (iii) your ability to communicate this concisely. The exam questions will be disclosed sufficiently far in advance of the paper to allow you to reflect on the issues concerned, and to undertake relevant listening and reading.

Reading Lists


Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.