Module Catalogue

MUS3076 : Music and Philosophy (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Stephen Overy
  • Lecturer: Dr Paul Attinello, Dr Ian Biddle, Professor David Clarke, Dr Richard Elliott, Dr Adam Potts
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


• To encourage an interdisciplinary perspective into the study of both philosophy and music.
• To bring students from the two subject areas together in order to develop their understanding of both musical practice and philosophical thinking in ways that are mutually illuminating.
• To develop the musical understanding of philosophy students, and the philosophical understanding of music students, as well as broadening the understanding of students in their "home" discipline.
• To establish models of interdisciplinary teaching ahead of a possible tenth school.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module is delivered in four separate projects, co-led by members of staff from the departments of music and philosophy, and the module is available to students from both subject areas. Projects will include the study of philosophical and musicological texts, alongside guided debate, listenings, and practical exercises, and these will be predominantly in the areas of contemporary and popular music practices, though options will be able to be developed, in consultation with delivery staff, for practical elements outside of this area. Students will be introduced to key issues of the two disciplines through lectures, readings, and discussions, but there will also be space for practical responses, in terms of music and sound art practices, to be planned for and discussed with the module staff. For music students no formal knowledge of philosophy is required, and for philosophy students there is no pre-requisite for any formal musical training. By the end of the module students will have engaged with philosophical thinking and musical material, as well as gaining experience into how one discipline can inform and influence the other, leading to an enhanced understanding of how theory and practice can inter-relate. As well as having value in its own right, the module will be an enriching and useful preparation for postgraduate study in practical or theoretical music study, or in philosophy as a discrete discipline.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture82:0016:00each of the four projects have two x 2-hr lectures
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1541:00154:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching161:0016:00each of the four projects have four hour-long seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops121:0012:00each of the four projects have three hour-long workshops
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery40:302:00group tutorial time available for students to gain formative feedback at the conclusion each project
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures present students with key ideas and perspectives (outcomes A1, A2, B1 above)

Workshops develop these ideas and perspectives through direct engagement with musical and philosophical materials and practices encouraging students to develop inventive and imaginative ways in which to further their interdisciplinary understanding, and to see how such an approach deepens their understanding (outcomes A1, A2, A3, B1, B3 above).

Small group teaching has a seminar function where students negotiate theory and practice, philosophical texts and musical texts of various sorts (recordings, performances, musicological writings, music criticism, etc.), and gain a deeper understanding of interdisciplinary study (outcomes A1, A2, A3, A4, B1, B2, and B3 above).

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio1A50Portfolio (equivalent to 2,400 words) will include documentation and reflection on both of the two projects undertaken in semester 1
Portfolio2A50Portfolio (equivalent to 2,400 words) will include documentation and reflection on both of the two projects undertaken in semester 2
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Design/Creative proj1AThe first of the semester 1's projects can be submitted for formative feedback in week 6 sem 1
Design/Creative proj2AThe first of the semester 2's projects can be submitted for formative feedback in week 6 sem 2
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Portfolio submissions will be focussed around "trigger questions" or specifically identified issues in both semesters allow for students to build up their coursework and devise suitable forms of submission to evidence the learning attained through each project, and to critically reflect on that learning. The aim is to preserve a degree of flexibility in how students respond to given "trigger questions" concerning music and philosophy, with a strong option towards interdisciplinary submissions that may combine theory and practice. The "project-related supervision" for each project factored in above is designed to ensure that there is a degree of equity across portfolios.

Reading Lists