Module Catalogue 2024/25

MUS1012 : Understanding Music History

MUS1012 : Understanding Music History

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Eric Doughney
  • Lecturer: Dr Larry Zazzo, Dr Joe Lockwood, Professor Ian Biddle, Dr Bennett Hogg, Professor Magnus Williamson, Professor Kirsten Gibson
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



- To provide an introduction to the academic study of music at UG level;
- To extend students’ knowledge of European music histories;
- 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 European music(s) of the past. 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 in early modern England, the rise of opera from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, Romanticism and nineteenth-century European art music, vernacular music and colonialism, Austro-German Opera at the Long Fin de Siecle, and twentieth-century modernism and postmodernism.

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 Western music history

Intended Skill Outcomes

- research techniques (including internet and library skills and independent engagement with primary sources)
- critical evaluation of the ideas of others
- communication and organisation of your own ideas

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture152:0030:00PiP. If necessary these can be converted back to non-synchronous online lecture materials
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops161:0016:00PiP. Weekly small group workshops. These can be converted to synchronous weekly online small groups.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery22:004:00PiP. Scheduled tutorial surgeries (can be converted to online if necessary).
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1150:00150:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are given by a team of staff members; each lecture topic introduces a new area of study (repertory/context/methodology). Weekly small-group workshops give students the opportunity to enrich the contents of lectures and to ask the lecturer questions around the topic. The workshops include primary source work, seminar discussions and Q&As.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A401500 word
Essay2A602500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Essay 1 tests your ability to produce a piece of written work dealing directly with primary sources and incorporating some additional self-directed research.

Essay 2 tests your ability to undertake a larger 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. Essay 2 builds on the primary source work you have done in Essay 1, and requires you to engage closely with primary source materials for your chosen topic.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Welcome to Newcastle University Module Catalogue

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The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2024 academic year.

In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described.

Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2025/26 entry will be published here in early-April 2025. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.