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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Music

Undergraduate Course: Understanding Music History 1: Critical Approaches to Art Music in Europe, c800-1800 (MUSI08084)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course offers a critical perspective on the early pre-history of Western Classical music from the Middle Ages to the late Eighteenth Century. It seeks to introduce students to the music history of the period and to its wider cultural, political, economic, and philosophical contexts.

The lectures and tutorials will explore major theoretical and aesthetic systems, and Issues of transmission, representation, cultural norms, performance practice, and music historiography. Students will be introduced to analytical methods and will develop an awareness of the ways in which music reflects the time period in which it is created.
Course description This course takes a critical and historiographical approach to the study of music from the Middle Ages to the late Eighteenth Century. It explores the emergence and development of new styles of music through this period and the ways in which they develop from and reflect the societies that produced them. It also focuses on the ways in which we have constructed our histories of these periods: what pieces, and what stories about them, are included, and which are not?

Combining close study of a range of representative compositions with readings from primary and secondary literature, the course explores how these developments influenced approaches to music, and contextualises the history of music in terms of wider cultural and philosophical trends. Broadly, the course covers repertoires such as medieval chant, organum, and motets; Renaissance Mass cycles, and madrigals, Baroque operas, ballet, and chamber musics, and Classical concerti. With the context of these genres and repertoires, it explores how common ideas now associated with western art music, such as 'the composer', 'tonality', or 'musical form' were created, adopted, and adapted.

The course is taught through two one-hour lectures a week, weekly tutorials, and set reading and listening.

Please note that score-reading skills are a prerequisite for this course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  50
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, Summative Assessment Hours 3, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 160 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One 2000-word coursework essay assignment (50%).

One time-limited exam (identifying excerpts of four unseen works, and giving a short essay on each as a contextual, historical, and/or analytical account) given in the exam diet (50%) [to be replaced with a time-limited take-home exam of c. 2000 words (500 per extract) if under continued Covid disruption].
Feedback All students will receive oral feedback on their progress in tutorials, as well as feedback on short, unassessed essays and presentations within these sessions. All students will submit an assessment essay mid-way through the semester: you will be given written feedback on this as per university regulations.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Place a piece of music in the context of its historical period and identify representative stylistic characteristics.
  2. Debate aesthetic theories pertaining to music from the Middle Ages to the late Eighteenth Century.
  3. Analyse the history of music in terms of its wider cultural and philosophical currents.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the historical process and critical and historiographical debates surrounding the theory and practice of music in the period covered by the course.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills 1. Demonstrate a discerning understanding of a defined range of core theories, concepts, principles and terminology in music historiography, theory and aesthetics
2. Demonstrate awareness and understanding and be able to work with research and equivalent scholarly/academic processes
3. Be able to use a range of professional skills, techniques, and materials to research and analyse music and musical culture
4. Undertake critical analysis, evaluation and/or synthesis of ideas, concepts, information and issues.
5. Work alone or with others on tasks with minimum directive supervision.
Keywordswestern art music,historiography of music,music criticism,medieval,Renaissance,Baroque,Classicism
Course organiserDr James Cook
Tel: (0131 6)50 2432
Course secretaryDr Ellen Jeffrey
Tel: (0131 6)50 2430
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