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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Music

Postgraduate Course: Music and Human Communication (PG) (MUSI11074)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) 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 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. You can watch a 3-minute Course Explainer video here:
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.

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-hour 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 resources. Additionally, you will receive two one-hour lectures to support postgraduate level working:

- Identifying your primary disciplinary strengths
- Critical reflection strategies for project work

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 None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  25
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 13, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 4, Online Activities 11, Summative Assessment Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 156 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1a. Musical communication video case study (40%). Group grade is peer-moderated (WebPA) for individual mark.

1b. Critical reflection commentary after group project, 500 words (ungraded but submission required to pass this component)

2. Essay, 3000 words (60%)
Feedback Timeframe for all feedback return is in line with University policy.

Formative feedback on writing tasks provided by sample answer sheets and seminar discussion. Option: submit «500 words in Week 4 for individual written feedback.

Feedback after assessment component 1 (video case study project) is provided through peer-review and written comments from course organiser.

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.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of principal theories and concepts which inform the study of music as communication
  2. Demonstrate awareness of current issues that apply to one specialist area of the subject
  3. Use a range of standard and specialised research and techniques of enquiry to carry out a defined project of interdisciplinary research
  4. Practice in ways that show critical reflection on their contribution to the course community
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. Increased awareness and/or skills in interpersonal communication.
Keywordsmusicality,language,music therapy,interdisciplinarity,behaviour,interaction,cognition,art
Course organiserDr Nikki Moran
Tel: (0131 6)50 2423
Course secretaryMiss Laura Duff
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