Study Abroad and Exchanges



MUS2074 : Music in the Renaissance (Level 5) (Inactive)

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


•       to build familiarity with the wider European music repertories, from the early fifteenth to the early seventeenth centuries;
•       to enrich understandings of contextual studies embedded within these repertories;
•       to provide an intermediate-level training in the study of a key phase in music history, and so to prepare students for advanced-level contextual studies in their final year;
•       to cultivate independent learning through student participation in seminars and student-led presentations.

The Renaissance is one of the most significant epochs in the history of Western music, not only in terms of the breadth (and quality) of its musical repertories, but in the richness of its contexts. Musical styles and repertories changed and stabilised in response to specific, identifiable historical factors: intellectual regeneration, artistic re-invention, political and religious upheaval and economic transformation. The place of music in everyday life was affected by specific innovations such as the invention and commercial success of music printing, as well as by more general changes in the ways that both private and public life was lived at every level of society. Although there are different ideas about the duration and even the usefulness of the concept ‘Renaissance’ in music history, this module takes as its broad remit the period between the early fifteenth century and the early seventeenth century, and a geographical area ranging across most of Europe. In the course of the module we will consider many different kinds of musical works and how they are constructed, but also for whom, as well as by whom, and how these works were performed. This will help us to ask important broader questions about the relationships between music and Renaissance culture in general.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module consists of a series of lectures and seminars in which you are introduced to the principal repertories, contexts and questions. The following lecture titles are an indicative list - although the precise topics may vary slightly from year to year to reflect the current research interests of the contributing staff:

What was ‘the Renaissance’, and how does music figure in it?
Courtly and civic contexts for music in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries
The invention and development of music printing in the Renaissance
The cultural legacy of purgatory
The Lutheran Reformation and music in sixteenth-century Germany
The English Reformation
The Counter-Reformation
The Italian madrigal
The madrigal 'English'd': music, poetry and politics in Elizabethan England
The French chanson and its influences

The course is organized into units exploring particular themes and contexts (for instance, institutions, technologies, musical styles). Within each unit teaching is delivered through a series of lectures and seminars. Lectures introduce overarching topics, themes, music, musicians and sources while seminars allow for more detailed explorations of primary sources and secondary scholarship in small groups. Source-based seminars activities include workshops, discussion and presentations.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops122:0024:00seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery22:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1148:00148:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Team-taught lecture series establishes epistemological framework; workshops encourage student-led learning; private study allows for reading and essay-writing ; group learning makes allowance for seminar/presentation preparation.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M301,000 words directed essay questions or transcript task
Essay2A703,000 words - directed essay questions or transcript task
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Essay 1 is set and directed by the module leader to develop primary source research skills (including the possibility of transcription and reconstruction work) and to provide the student with mid-semester feedback.
Essay 2 is also set by the module leader and students are provided with a choice of essay questions and transcription tasks. This lengthier assessment allows the student to deal in detail with a particular aspect of the module, and they will be required to engage directly with primary sources and relevant secondary literature that has been introduced during the module.

Reading Lists