The musicology pathway through the MA in Music is designed to introduce students to a wide variety of musicological methods, theories and approaches, to develop skills in editing, analysis, critical thinking and techniques for research, and to provide balanced and comprehensive training for those who wish to pursue future research degrees.
In the first semester, all MA in Music students take an introductory course in Research Skills for Musicians and the Readings in Musicology. Together, these provide the foundation for the second semester's classes, on Source Study, Palaeography and Editorial Practices, together with a choice between Special Studies and other optional units taught both in the Music Department and in other Departments. In the course of these classes, students come into contact with the specialised research areas of members of staff in the Department, and start to formulate a topic for their own dissertation or edition, written in the summer.
Major research areas in the Music Department include: film music, Russian and Soviet music, medieval music, British music (especially 20th-century), baroque music and performance practice. Further details of staff research interests can be found on their individual pages. Several members of the Department are involved specifically in research on music in Britain and the British Empire. This area is represented within the Department by CHOMBEC (the Centre for the History of Music in Britain, the Empire and the Commonwealth), a research centre directed by Professor John Pickard.
For further information about the MA optional units, see this year's unit booklets
** taught as supervised independent studies
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.
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 how to give a successful oral presentation.
Selected topics in current musicology, including theories of historiography, concert practice, orality and the work concept, gender and critical theory.
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 you an opportunity for detailed study of particular areas of interest in the field of historical musicology. Each Special Study (one or two chosen, in consultation with available staff each year) will be taught as supervised independent study in tutors' postgraduate office hour. You and your tutor(s) will cover topics and repertoires methodically in regular meetings by way of discussing bibliographies, outlines, critical approaches and methodological strategies and by reading out short essays. Additionally, the weekly departmental research seminars will encourage you to refine your critical responses and discussion skills. Overall, the tutorials should demonstrate an ability to research aspects of a topic effectively and sufficiently, leading naturally to the MA dissertation in terms of approach (though not necessarily topic). Three 2000-word essays will be researched per 20-credit unit, presented, discussed and graded on the spot at regular intervals through the semester. The best two grades of three carry forward, with the marks confirmed or adjusted when all the essays are handed in and second-marked at the end of the semester.
Part-time students typically take Research Training, Readings in Musicology and 20 credits from the courses in Teaching Block 2 in Year 1, the remaining units in Year 2, but we consider other combinations on a case-by-case basis.
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: