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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Music

Undergraduate Course: Notation and Editing of Early Music (MUSI10097)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will focus on editing works from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, furnishing students with the skills to approach musical sources from this time as primary sources, on their own terms. Students will focus on the transcription and editing of repertoire from this period (using sources such as the Alamire manuscripts, Burgundian chansonniers, and central fifteenth-century sources such as the Trent Codices): this will provide students with a practical skill which can be applied to repertoire from the fifteenth to the early seventeenth centuries, and introduce them to the issues and challenges facing editors of late medieval and Renaissance music.
Course description Western Art music has maintained something of a consensus around ways of notating sound for several centuries. Nonetheless, before this time, we see a plethora of different traditions which speak to the diversity of practice within the vibrant musical cultures of the late medieval and early Renaissance periods. The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries can be regarded as a period of relative stability in notational practice but still present challenges that require specialist training to read, understand, and perform. It is on this period that the course will focus, furnishing students with the skills to approach musical sources from this time as primary sources, on their own terms.

Students will focus on the transcription and editing of white mensural notation - the central notational form of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. They will consider a wide variety of European sources from this period, gaining practical skills which can be applied to a broad repertoire. Topics covered will include: transcribing and editing tempus imperfectum, tempus perfectum, and more complex mensural schemes; understanding coloration and ligatures; texting practices; understanding the grammar of early music; and source studies and codicology.

Students will be assessed through two coursework assignments, consisting of 1) an edition of a piece in tempus imperfectum with a written prose component consisting of an editorial commentary (providing a technical description of editorial method, and outlining any editorial interventions) and a critical commentary (situating the edition within the broader historical and cultural context) and 2) an edition of a piece in tempus perfectum and/or more complex mensurations with significant editorial and critical commentary. These will be set in week 6 and week 9 respectively, with deadlines set for two weeks later.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Musicianship 1 (MUSI08066)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements If Musicianship 1 has not been passed, the student requires an A at Scottish Highers or an A Level in Music.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have experience in Western Notation.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  15
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 11, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Course work 1: Editing in Tempus Imperfectum (50%) - set around Week 6 for submission around Week 8.

Course work 2: Editing in More Complex Mensurations (50%) - set around Week 8 for submission in the examination period.
Feedback An integral part of the teaching will be constant feedback. Many classes will work through a notational problem together, with students providing an edition, in class, one at a time, of a bar of the piece we are editing together. Students will then get immediate feedback on their work. Written feedback on coursework 1 will be received before coursework 2 is complete.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the technical features of white mensural notation and transcribe the notation accurately
  2. Engage critically with notational problems and solve them independently
  3. Understand how to make necessary editorial interventions, e.g. correcting scribal errors
  4. Provide a comprehensive critical and editorial commentary to an edition
Reading List
Willi Apel, The Notation of Polyphonic Music (Cambridge, Mass., 1949)
John Caldwell, Editing Early Music (Oxford, 1995)
James Grier, The Critical Editing of Music (Cambridge, 1996)
Carl Parrish, The Notation of Medieval Music (London, 1958)
Richard Rastall, The Notation of Western Music: An Introduction 2nd Rev. Ed. (London, 2008)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Critical and analytical skills
Ability to produce notated music to a professional level
Ability to understand how early music is constructed
Ability to read mensural notation fluently
Ability to research the historical and cultural background of sources
Ability to use sources as historical evidence
Keywordsnotation,edition,source studies,medieval,renaissance,early music
Course organiserDr James Cook
Tel: (0131 6)50 2432
Course secretaryDr Ellen Jeffrey
Tel: (0131 6)50 2430
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