Module Catalogue

MUS3003 : Music in the Soviet Union (Level 6) (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Ian Biddle
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module aims to:
• familiarise students with musical practices engaged by a range of actors in the Soviet Union
• familiarise students with the key debates that raged, internally and externally, around music and music making in the Soviet Union;
• introduce the range of musics deemed appropriate or inappropriate by the Soviet authorities;
• introduce and analyse the boarder historical and cultural contexts in which the Soviet authorities and other cultural actors operated
• introduce students to the Cyrillic alphabet
• introduce students to basic features of the Russian language

Outline Of Syllabus

This module introduces students, at an advanced level, to the range of musical practices engaged in by the peoples of the Soviet Union (1917-1989). The module aims to give students a clear sense of how Soviet authorities and state-sanctioned ideologies and policies intervened in and shaped Soviet musical cultures, how the peoples of the Soviet Union responded musically to those interventions. The module will cover ‘classical’ (Shostakovich, Prokoviev, Myaskovky and so on), popular (bard musics, rock and singer-songwriters) and folk musics (from all over the Soviet ‘nations), offering both a broad survey of Soviet musics and some detailed engagement with key pieces and practices. The module will also introduce students to theories of totalitarianism, political theories of the left and the critical scholarly literature of Soviet culture more broadly. In addition, the module aims to introduce students to the basic elements of the Russian language (alphabet, basic vocabulary and syntax).

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture181:0018:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1641:00164:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching181:0018:00Two seminar groups, each meeting with module leader for an hour a week
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures cover key topics in the module and the Russian language seminars will introduce students to how to read basic primary source materials in Russian. Both modes of delivery (lectures and seminars) are geared to the assessments: lecture materials deal with topics rehearsed in the essay and seminars are tested by the in-class language tests (semesters 1 and 2) and, indirectly, in students’ encounter with and analysis of primary sources as tested in the essay.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination601M20In-class test
Written Examination602M20In-class test
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A602500 words; a choice of essay questions appropriate to advanced level study (level 6), published in the module handbook
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1MWeekly in-class and take-home language assignments. Feedback delivered in-class.
Written exercise2MWeekly in-class and take-home language assignments. Feedback will be delivered in-class.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The Essay tests students’ ability to apply concepts covered in the lectures and set reading to specific case studies. The class language tests examine students’ familiarity with basic components of the Russian language.

Reading Lists