The MA in Music (British Music pathway) will not be running in 2013-14; several elements of the pathway are available through the MA in Music (Musicology pathway), however. Contact Dr David Allinson for more information.
This degree programme is run in association with CHOMBEC
British Music, a unique pathway through the MA in Music, will appeal to musicologists (including those who perform), local historians, and those with an interest in the rich and varied but often neglected traditions of music in Britain and beyond. It is available to those suitably qualified but without a first degree in music, though music graduates are also a core constituency. Beyond the core units in research training and the history of music in Britain, four specialisations are available:
Music in the British Empire will appeal to those who wish to study and research the music of the anglophone diaspora from the past or up to the present, whether in the settler dominions of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, the ports of Singapore and Hong Kong, the plantations of the West Indies, the Mediterranean outposts of Gibraltar, Malta and Cyprus, the North American colonies or even the USA, many of whose musical traditions, black and white, are closely bound up with those of the British Empire. The impact of British musical education and traditions right up to the present in the vast territories of India, sub-Saharan Africa, and elsewhere are also within the remit of the programme.
Music in the West Country is a rich but hitherto undeveloped area for study to which this programme can make a vital contribution. The University of Bristol library includes important collections of regional interest, including Moravian hymnody, the history of music in Bristol and Bath, glee club and madrigal society archives, and local newspapers. Bath musical history is an especially rich field, and the Bristol and Exeter cathedral libraries contain musical treasures. Wessex country psalmody, the band, carol, folk, and nonconformist traditions of Cornwall, the mid-Devon tradition of bell-ringing, and the unsurpassed musical culture of a spa town, Bournemouth, are just a few of the research topics available.
Genres and repertoires of music in Britain forms a natural progression from undergraduate work for the music student wishing to study areas in more detail or train for a PhD in musicology. Modules will be offered that relate to staff specialisms, which include the 16th and 17th centuries, organ music, the art song, popular music, musical theatre, film music, and individual figures such as Elgar, Holst, and Vaughan Williams. Folk and multicultural musics may be added to the programme as staffing becomes available. The University of Bristol library contains comprehensive primary and secondary source holdings in most of these areas, including archive material relating to Holst, Vaughan Williams, Parry, the 19th-century madrigal and British opera. CHOMBEC's planned development includes the acquisition of specialist research collections.
Level I and Level H (2nd and 3rd year undergraduate) units in Music - chosen in consultation with pathway convenor. Available units: all split-level history units, Further and Advanced Written Techniques, Transcription and Editing, Writing for Orchestra, Aesthetics and Criticism.
Any other Level M units in Music
Level M units from elsewhere in the University - chosen in consultation with the pathway tutor
This unit introduces students to different categories of musicological sources and discusses issues arising from these, including recent authenticity debates surrounding the use of these materials in performance. It acquaints students with the nature of historical source materials for different repertoires and with the ways in which these may inform an understanding of compositional process. It also introduces typical problems involved in the preparation of critical editions to the highest standards of modern scholarship by means of particular case studies. It is intended that this unit will stimulate an awareness of the sensitivity required in handling primary and other musical source materials and that it will help students to acquire a critically informed approach to musical texts.
Music in Britain has always been subject to national conditions, histories and preferences that make it different from the history of music-making in other countries. The unit will account for and define ten of these differences, many of them operative over large spans of time: the Contenance angloise from Dunstable to Byrd; state patronage; vernacular musical theatre and bourgeois song; the music of state church and religious dissent from Reformation to nonconformism; London and the profession (concert life, instrument manufacture, publishing); Celtic and folksong revivals; bands and choirs; journalism and scholarship; nationalism (the 19th- and 20th-century musical renaissance); the pop revolution.
This unit will focus on research skills that are particularly relevant to musicians, focusing on the construction of a detailed bibliography as assessed work and giving successful oral presentations.
For full-time students, the topic for a research dissertation with an upper limit of 15,000 words, or an equivalent piece of research in terms of scholarly editing and commentary, is chosen during Teaching Block 1 or 2 with guidance from a supervisor. The dissertation is shaped and drafted during one-to-one supervisions in the Summer Term and then written up as an independent study over the summer vacation, to be informally bound by the student and submitted to the Music Office (two copies) by 15 September. The same applies to part-time students except that they normally begin to identify their dissertation topic in their first year of study.
This unit offers an opportunity for detailed study of a particular area of interest in the field of historical musicology. The particular project (chosen from a list of broad areas, initially those addressing aspects of British music) will result in the writing of two extended essays, presented according to modern, professional scholarly conventions. It will necessarily involve a substantial degree of independent study, although students will receive weekly supervisions in which bibliographies, outlines and methodological strategies will be formulated, or drafts discussed, as relevant. Additionally, there will be weekly Graduate Seminars at which students can refine their oral presentation skills. and regular tutorial project should demonstrate an ability to research a topic effectively and sufficiently, and to dissertation. Students take two Special Study units, either concurrently or in successive semesters. The initial choices will be from the following: The London Piano School; Elgar; Holst; Vaughan Williams; English organ music; British film music; The 20th-century English art song; English music in the renaissance; The English middle ages.
NOTE: Part-time students take Research Training, Themes and Readings in the History of Music in Britain, and 20 credits of Additional or Special Study in Year 1, the remaining units in Year 2.
For further information on life as a postgraduate in Bristol, visit the Graduate School of Arts and Humanities.
For enquiries about the course please contact one of the following: