Module Catalogue 2020/21

MUS1012 : Understanding Music History

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Kirsten Gibson
  • Lecturer: Professor Magnus Williamson, Mr Eric Doughney, Dr Richard Elliott, Dr Christopher Tarrant, Mrs Julia Partington, Dr Rosemary Southey, Dr Larry Zazzo
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
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. 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 early modern England; the rise of the audience in the eighteenth -century London; the Enlightenment; Romanticism and nineteenth-century European art; Austro-German Opera at the Long Fin de Siecle; and popular music in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, 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 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

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture142:0028:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00Seminars - Study Skills
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching62:0012:00Workshops
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery20:150:30tutorial surgeries (15 minute slots)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1147:30147:30N/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). Workshops give students the opportunity to enrich the contents of lectures - screenings, extended listening, primary source work.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M10500 word precis
Essay1A301,000 words
Essay2A602,500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Essay 1 tests students skills in synthesizing ideas and articulating them in their own words.

Essay 2 tests your ability to produce a lengthier piece of work dealing directly with written sources and incorporating some additional self-directed research.
Essay 3 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


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2020/21 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 2021/22 entry will be published here in early-April 2021. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.