MUS2051 : Case Studies in Early Music

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


• To provide an introduction to the study of early music;
• To extend students’ historical knowledge of music – including composers, genres, institutions, writings about music and the broader contexts in which music was produced and consumed – before 1750;
• To increase awareness of the issues and methodologies involved in the study of early music;
• To provide a platform for the study of specialist historical-cultural options at finalist stage and for those wanting to pursue specialist study dissertations and projects in the field of early music.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module is split into four ‘case study’ units typically covering the period from the Middle Ages to the mid-eighteenth century. Each unit enables students to engage in depth with discrete musical case studies over this period. The units are not exhaustive, but rather allow for detailed explorations of specific repertoires, historical moments, institutions, sources, musicians or contexts. Collectively they span from the late Middle Ages to the mid-eighteenth century and range across a variety of topics and approaches: sacred and secular music; professional and amateur activity; production and consumption; close readings and wider contextual approaches.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops82:0016:00workshops
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery42:008:00tutorial surgeries
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1152:00152:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module is organized into four case study units, each unit typically consisting of 3 lectures, 2 workshops and a tutorial surgery. Lectures introduce overarching topics, themes, music, musicians and sources while workshops allow for more detailed explorations of primary sources and secondary scholarship in small groups. Source-based workshop activities include collaborative work on primary sources, discussion and group presentations. The tutorial surgeries allow students to come and discuss the development of their work prior to submission for each unit of study.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M251200 words
Essay1A251200 words
Essay2M251200 words
Essay2A251200 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Each unit culminates in a piece of assessed work relating to the topic. This will usually be in the form of a 1,200-word essay, but may also be in the form of a notated transcription task to the equivalent substance of 1,200 words. All assessments will require you to engage with primary source materials – both textual and musical – as well as relevant secondary source research. These essays test your ability to undertake a piece of research based on the topics explored in each unit, 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 an aspect of each of the units in greater depth.

Reading Lists