University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Music

Undergraduate Course: Music and Human Communication (MUSI10067)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryHow valuable is music for human communication? Given that words and speech can provide such a rich and specific mode of human interaction, what is music's role? In some cases where social acts of communication prove to be very difficult (e.g. autism, behavioural problems, dyslexia), the work of music therapists and community music practitioners appears to alleviate difficulties. What makes music special?

By focusing on musical action and performance - studying music as something that people do - this course introduces students to aspects of the relationship between music and human communication.
Course description By focusing on musical action and performance - studying music as something that people do - this course introduces you to aspects of the relationship between music and human communication. During the course, you will consider such questions as: What are the materials of musical communication? How can we examine the relationship between music and language? Does music have a particular social and communicative function?

Ethnomusicology, music psychology and social interaction research have all contributed to the study of music and human communication. Reading material for the course includes contributions to the topic from these various disciplines, offering an introduction to the application of social science methods in music research.

Lecture topics include:
What does communication mean for musicians?
What kind of language is music?
Music, cognition and communication
Nonverbal communication
Materials of improvisation and music therapy
Ethnomusicology and social interaction studies
Music, relationships and health
Musical communication in social context

The course is taught through ten weekly, 2-hour seminars. Throughout the course, you will complete weekly writing tasks designed to help you to interpret and synthesise the course literature, which covers wide-ranging topics from different academic disciplines.

There are two assessed assignments. The first is a musical communication case study, involving structured group-based study of a video or film excerpt of musical performance. The final assignment, an essay, gives you the opportunity to explore in greater detail one of the topics raised during the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting Student pre-requisites: Open to Music students who have taken prior courses with a humanities or social science approach (focus on writing, not practical). Open to students with a social sciences background by permission of Course Organiser.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Course Start Date 18/09/2017
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1. Musical communication case study (30%). Group presentation grade is peer-moderated (WebPA) for final individual mark.

2. Essay, 3000 words (70%).

Feedback Formative feedback on the regular writing and comprehension exercises is provided by sample answer sheets and seminar discussion. Formative feedback on proposed final essay titles/summaries (Week 10).
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the principal theories and concepts which inform the study of music as communication
  2. Apply knowledge, skills and understanding in carrying out a defined project of interdisciplinary research
  3. Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of one specialist area of the subject
Reading List

Key Texts:

1. Clayton, M. R. L. (2016) The social and personal functions of music in cross-cultural perspective. In Hallam, Cross & Thaut (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology (2nd ed., pp.47-59). Oxford, UK: OUP. Main library, electronic access.

2. Miell, D. E., MacDonald, R., & Hargreaves, D. J. (Eds.). (2005). Musical Communication. Oxford, UK: OUP. Main library, electronic access.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Skills in critical reading, reflection and synthesis.
Additional Class Delivery Information Seminars in weeks 1-5, 7-11. Students should be available for group work during week 6 for the first assignment (due in week 8).
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Nikki Moran
Tel: (0131 6)50 2423
Course secretaryMiss Carrie Lyall
Tel: (0131 6)50 2422
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information