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Unit information: Music in National Cinemas in 2021/22

Unit name Music in National Cinemas
Unit code MUSI20127
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Carter
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Music
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

The concept of national cinema has a long tradition within film history. It has been used in a range of socio-political contexts as both a marketing tool and as a tool for promoting nationalist agendas. This unit will consider the ways in which music has participated in defining national cinemas from early sound films to the Netflix era, and will ask whether approaching film music in national terms still makes sense in light of global streaming practices and transnational production. Each class will consider the development of scoring and genre conventions in contexts beyond Hollywood, for instance Germany, Japan, Mexico, Scotland, the Soviet Union and more, to explore the relationship between music, audiovisual media, and national identity. The unit aims to provide students with theoretical frameworks to evaluate film scores in relation to national and global issues, and to consider how they operate within national and transnational understandings of film music production and exhibition.

This unit therefore aims to:

1. introduce students to the history of film music in a range of socio-political contexts from the birth of sound film to the present day.
2. help students engage with key theoretical debates in film and media studies, particularly around national, transnational and global cinema.
3. provide students with an analytical toolkit of filmic and musical techniques that will allow them to critically evaluate film music.
4. develop students’ skills in the oral and written presentation of their ideas

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

1. demonstrate a good knowledge of film music history and of the historical contexts covered;
2. show a solid knowledge of key concepts and theories in film studies;
3. describe filmic and musical techniques employed in films from a range of contexts;
4. assess how political, economic and social situations have influenced various approaches to creating film;
5. develop coherent arguments in both oral and written form.

Teaching Information

Weekly two-hour lecture-seminars

Assessment Information

Summative assessments:

2,500-word essay (70%) [ILO 1-5]

Audiovisual essay of 5-10 minutes in total (30%) [ILO 2, 3, 5]


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. MUSI20127).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.