Module Catalogue 2016/17

MUS1012 : Understanding Music History

  • Offered for Year: 2016/17
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Kirsten Gibson
  • Lecturer: Ms Sandra Kerr, Prof. David Clarke, Prof. Eric Cross, Dr Ian Biddle, Dr Rosemary Southey, Prof. Magnus Williamson, Dr Jamie Savan
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



• To provide an introduction to the academic study of music at UG level;
• To extend students’ historical knowledge of music;
• To increase awareness of the issues and methodologies involved in the study of music history;
• To provide a platform for the study of historical-cultural options later in the UG degree programmes.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module will introduce you to the challenges of studying music(s) from the past. You will be introduced to a range of scholarly approaches to music(s) of the past and a range of ideological, epistemological and political orientations in the writing of music histories. This introduction to historical method (sometimes called historiography) will be grounded by looking at a number of specific case studies. In the past, these have included chant and liturgy in pre-modern Europe, music in late Renaissance Italy; music, society and print culture in late Elizabethan England; the rise of the audience in eighteenth-century London; the Enlightenment; Romanticism and nineteenth-century European art; Austro-German Opera at the Long Fin de Siecle; and folk song collecting in the early twentieth century.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

•       an understanding of scholarly approaches to history
•       insight into the historical context – social, political, institutional, cultural – of evolving musical languages, styles and practices
. an awareness of key moments in the history of music

Intended Skill Outcomes

•       research techniques (including internet and library skills)
•       critical evaluation of the ideas of others
•       communication and organisation of your own ideas

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Data Synthesis : Present
    • Active Learning : Present
    • Literacy : Assessed
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Assessed
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Assessed
      • Use Of Computer Applications : Present
  • Self Management
    • Self Awareness And Reflection : Present
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Present
      • Decision Making : Assessed
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Initiative : Present
      • Independence : Assessed
      • Problem Solving : Assessed
      • Adaptability : Assessed
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Present
      • Written Other : Assessed
    • Team Working
      • Collaboration : Present
      • Relationship Building : Present
      • Peer Assessment Review : Present
  • Application
    • Social Cultural Global Awareness : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion170:0070:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00Study skills
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops111:0011:00whole group together
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery12:002:00one 2 hour slot open to all students for tutorial week 19 only
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study183:0083:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are given by a team of staff members; each lecture introduces a new area of study (repertory/context/methodology). Formative and summative study skills tasks are completed by students in conjunction with particular lecture topics (1 formative task prior to summative assessments).

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M301,000-1,500 words
Essay1A703000 words
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1MPrecis exercise
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Essay 1 tests your ability to compare and contrast two pieces of scholarly writing representing different perspectives on a particular debate in music history. Essay 2 tests your ability to undertake a piece of research based on one of the topics presented in the lectures, and to prepare a piece of written work over the course of several weeks. It gives you the opportunity to do further reading and to explore one of the topics in greater depth.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Note: The Module Catalogue now reflects module information relating to academic year 16/17. Please contact your School Office if you require module information for a previous academic year.

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.