MUS1012 : Understanding Music History

  • Module Leader(s): Dr Kirsten Gibson
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


•       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.

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 teaching121:0012:00seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery12:002:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study194:0094:00N/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).

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M201,000 words
Essay1A803000 words
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.

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.