Module Catalogue 2022/23

MUS2018 : Contemporary Musical Materials

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Mr Phil Begg
  • Teaching Assistant: Mr Fred Hollingsworth
  • 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



This module aims to introduce the student to further contemporary and cross-cultural understandings of the nature of musical materials. Students will be considering specific case studies throughout the course and challenging preconceived notions about what musical materials are, how they can be analysed/understood, and how they are used in practice.

Outline Of Syllabus

Students will be introduced to a variety of different contemporary and popular practices, f, and will study these examples with reference to their musical material. These are directly related to the research interests of the staff delivering on the module and may reasonably include: study of the art of record production and its associated technologies, electroacoustic music, contemporary sampling practices, turntablism, popular music analysis, musical materials in film and video games. The approaches will be analytical, cultural and historical and will deal with musical forms that are seemingly resistant to conventional analysis.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

1.       To know the value of understanding the historical and cultural context of the musics being considered in the module.
2.       To know the value of understanding the historical and cultural impact of the musics being considered in the module.
3.       To gain an increased understanding of the complex relationships between developments in technology and contemporary musical practices
4.       To gain an increased understanding of several important movements in music which have challenged or redefined prior notions of what ‘musical materials’ can be.
5.       To gain an increased familiarity with a variety of current approaches to the study of musical materials in predominantly non-notated musics.

Intended Skill Outcomes

1.       To be able to identify the variety of musics that can be considered contemporary.
2.       To be able to recognise the different types of material that can be considered as ‘musical’ in the 20th and 21st Century.
3.       To be able to evaluate and apply different types of analysis as appropriate to the contemporary musical material under consideration.
4.       To be able to analyse contemporary musical materials with cultural and historical context.
5.       To be able to research, construct and present an argument to a set professional brief.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00Lectures with associated tasks and discussions. Present-in-Person, can be online asynchronus.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion162:0032:00Reflect upon the learning outcomes and skills in relation to the assessment.
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities201:0020:00Research/reading tasks set for students to investigate using guided online research methods
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops111:0011:00Discussions or practical demonstrations. Present-in-Person, can be online synchronous if needed.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00Synchronous (PiP or online) single and group tutorials.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study179:0079:00Student to analyse and evaluate their learning and then create from the skills being explored
Guided Independent StudyOnline Discussion162:0032:00Discussion group for the students to engage either synchronously or asynchronously
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The scheduled learning activities are designed to introduce the students to different types of contemporary musical material so that a plural and open definition can be understood, and so that alternative modes of analysis are presented to the traditional score based approach to music. The students will also be expected to place their learning in context so that the module outcomes are fit for purpose not only for their final year specialist study but also for when they graduate. The development of their critical voice is encouraged and supported throughout the module and assessed against the summative tasks: the first being an application for a job as a music researcher and the second being a position piece that the music researcher has been set from a brief.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Case study1M20800 word review or case study
Essay1A803200 word research-driven essay or an equivalent project to be negotiated with the module leader
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The first task is weighted to reflect the student's engagement with the content of the module up to that point. The second task is larger, due to the need for the student to reflect upon their learning during the whole module.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 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 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.