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MUS8170 : Contemporary Studies in Folk and Traditional Music

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Matthew Ord
  • Lecturer: Ms Nancy Kerr Elliott, Ms Catriona Macdonald
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

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

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module aims to introduce students to key issues and debates within contemporary research on the traditional music of the UK and Ireland and their diaporas. Through lectures and group discussion, students will develop their knowledge of core concepts and terminology, gaining a deeper understanding of the current state of research in the field of folk and traditional music and how it relates to the wider social, cultural and political contexts of folk's contemporary performance and reception.

Outline Of Syllabus

A series of 10 weekly staff-led lecture/seminars in semester 2 will introduce students to key issues in the contemporary study of folk and traditional music. Early sessions will introduce core concepts and terminology and provide a historical background against which to situate a series of research-focussed case studies illustrating current debates on topics which may include:
- Issues of culture, place, and identity, including gender, national, and post-colonial identities
- Issues around technology including the impact of sound recording and digitization
- Folk music, arts policy and cultural tourism
- Approaches to traditional musical materials, including modal and motivic analysis
The lecture content and the module reading list will reflect a cross-disciplinary orientation, introducing students to a range of methodologies and scholarly traditions, with a focus on key issues and debates in recent scholarship.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion381:0038:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading104:0040:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching102:0020:00PiP
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00PiP
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1001:00100:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Weekly small-group sessions in the form of lecture/seminars will introduce core concepts, readings and terminology as well as key topics in contemporary research. The sessions will combine a taught component with seminar exercises allowing students to develop their ideas through peer discussion. These sessions will deepen students familiarity with module content and develop their presentation, discussion and critical thinking skills.

Guided independent study in the form of weekly readings will broaden students knowledge and understanding of the contemporary academic literature on folk and traditional music. A substantial, cross-disciplinary reading list will introduce students to a variety of research methods and writing styles, enhancing their knowledge of the field as well as their skills in reading and critical analysis.

In preparing their final essay, students will be expected to demonstrate substantial engagement with the scholarly literature on folk and traditional music going beyond the module reading list, developing their ability to locate, critically evaluate and synthesise scholarly sources.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A1004000 words
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation1MN/A
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The summative assessment for this module is a single 4000-word essay submitted at the end of semester 2 which is worth 100% of the total mark. Students will choose from a selection of set questions reflecting key topic areas. This essay will assess students' understanding of the core content of the module, their ability to engage critically with the wider literature on folk and traditional music, and their research, writing and critical thinking skills.

A mid-module formative component in the form of an oral 'work-in-progress' presentation based on students' essay topics will evaluate students' ability to verbally articulate their ideas and to reflect critically on their research process. It will also allow students to receive formative feedback before submitting their final essays.

Reading Lists