Module Catalogue 2018/19

MUS2066 : Organology: Musical Instruments and Cultures (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2018/19
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jamie Savan
  • Lecturer: Dr Simon McKerrell, Professor Magnus Williamson, Dr Goffredo Plastino
  • 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



Organology is a module that introduces students to the study of musical instruments, to their classification systems, to their use and meaning in different cultures, and to the technical aspects related to their constructions and sound qualities.

The module is designed to:
• offer students an introduction to Organology, surveying its history, theories, methodologies, major writings, recordings and audio-visual documents from key scholars in the field.

Outline Of Syllabus

Organology introduces students to the formation and the features of the discipline through its history, its theories and its methodologies. Lectures will focus on a range of topics (such as: musical instrument classification systems, organology and iconography, historical and cultural diffusion of musical instruments) and will guide students through a self-learning experience. In workshops the focus will be on specific musical instruments or collection of musical instruments, through discussions of selected, specific issues with instrument makers and experts in the field.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

At the end of the module students should be able to:

• critically understand organological theories, concepts and works;
• identify and describe musical instruments from different world cultures;
• understand the technical aspects related to musical instruments construction and sound qualities.
• extend this knowledge to their own musical practices and activities.

Intended Skill Outcomes

At the end of the module students should be able to:

• have a broad knowledge of organological history, theories, methodologies and works;
• apply organological theories and methodologies to the study of any music.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Data Synthesis : Present
    • Active Learning : Assessed
    • Numeracy : Present
    • Literacy : Assessed
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Assessed
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Present
      • Use Of Computer Applications : Present
  • Self Management
    • Self Awareness And Reflection : Assessed
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Present
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Innovation And Creativity : Present
      • Independence : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Present
      • Interpersonal : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture102:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops82:0016:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1164:00164:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures introduce issues, approaches and concepts, and give the opportunity to discuss and explore these further. Lectures will focus partly on the detailed study of musical instruments from selected cultures, partly on key issues that arise in the course of such study, and partly on the various approaches that organologists may take. Workshops introduce through class discussions a more specific knowledge of selected musical instruments. During your private study time you are expected to work on a variety of activities between classes such as reading and listening. Among other things, these form essential preparation for the module.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A40The exam paper will show, quite concisely: how well the course materials have been assimilated; your critical position on them.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A60The essay 2500 words will be a discursive piece of analytical writing which investigates an issue or topic considered in the module.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation2MN/A
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are designed to provide a critical understanding of organological theories, concepts and works. Workshops are designed to offer a critical knowledge of selected musical instruments, through the discussions with specialists in the field.
The exam evaluates students’ factual knowledge and intellectual understanding of the subject as a whole, as well as their ability to draw comparisons between different topics within the field. Presentations (formatively assessed) encourage students to participate in group work, to compress large-scale tracts of knowledge and understanding into concise verbal formulations. The essay evaluates students’ ability to research within a defined area of organology (from a choice of topics given by the module leaders).


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2018/19 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 2018/19 entry will be published here in early-April 2018. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.