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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Music

Undergraduate Course: Music and Human Communication (MUSI10067)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting 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 challenging (e.g. autism, developmental disorders, trauma recovery), 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 This course helps you to read and interpret a broad and cross-disciplinary range of scholarly and primary sources in order to deepen your understanding of music and human musicality as communicative, artistic practice.

During the course, you will consider such questions as: What are the materials of musical communication? How should we understand the relationship between music and language? Does music have a particular social and communicative function? You will read scholarship in ethnomusicology, music psychology, communication studies, and the cognitive sciences to learn various answers put forward to these questions from different disciplinary perspectives, from mid-twentieth century to current day research.

On this course you learn by engaging in weekly reading, writing and practical tasks that are designed to guide your critical integration of such varied perspectives. This approach provides a supportive introduction to interdisciplinary research, based in creative reflection.

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

The course is taught through regular 2-hour teaching events (weeks 1-11), plus a series of 1-hr practical communication sessions (weeks 2, 5, 8, and 10). Course materials are accessed through the course VLE, including short instruction videos, writing tasks, and online resource.

There are two graded 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 Priority will be given to Music students in the first instance.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  20
Course Start Semester 2
Course Start Date 16/01/2023
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 weekly writing and comprehension exercises is provided by weekly sample answer sheets and seminar discussion. Option: submit «500 words in Week 4 for individual written feedback, to be returned in line with University policy on timeframes.

Formative feedback on proposed essay titles and summaries is provided in group discussion in Week 10 seminar. Option: Submit essay plan in Week 10 for written feedback, to be returned before the submission of the essay.
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
Miell D, MacDonald RAR, Hargreaves DJ, eds. 2005. Musical Communication. Oxford University Press.

Finnegan RH. 2014. Communicating¿: The Multiple Modes of Human Communication. Second edition. Routledge.

Noë, A. 2015. Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature. Hill and Wang.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Skills in critical reading, reflection and synthesis.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Nikki Moran
Tel: (0131 6)50 2423
Course secretaryDr Ellen Jeffrey
Tel: (0131 6)50 2430
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