MUS3051 : Richard Wagner and Wagnerism

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


This module aims to introduce students to the Music Dramas and operas of Richard Wagner and their aesthetic and musical legacies (up to 1945). The module will cover a range of approaches to this topic, including (but not limited to):
The philosophical background to Wagner’s musical ideas
The historical and political contexts
Strategies for understanding the musical materials (analytical approaches)
Approaching Wagner’s musical works as a historiographical problem

Outline Of Syllabus

The syllabus will cover Wagner’s musical output and his impact on subsequent musical thinking, especially in Europe up to 1945. Themes covered may include:
•       Wagner and antisemitism
•       Wagner and imperialism
•       Wagner and the Nazis
•       Wagnerism and anti-Wagnerism
•       The Ring Cycle and its legacy
•       Opera and Music dramas: two distinct genres?

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture182:0036:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1164:00164:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The nature of the materials examined (musical scores, images, and other materials requiring slose analysis) requires a hybrid mixed lecture/seminar. Although all sessions are marked lectures, in fact students will be asked to switch regularly between more active learning (seminar-style, split into groups) and more passive learning (lecture-style). Since all students are present at all sessions, there is no need to schedule separate seminars).

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M1004000 words
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay1MAnnotated bibliography
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The module will require students to develop a research essay (4000 words), based on the core topics covered in the module, but exploring one of them in depth. In the run up to the essay, students will be set a number of formative written assignments (see above) which will be helpful in developing ideas for the final essay.

Reading Lists