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Unit information: Art and Music in 2015/16

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Unit name Art and Music
Unit code HART20008
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Shaw-Miller
Open unit status Not open



Special Field Project

School/department Department of History of Art (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

The unit examines the dynamic relationships between the arts of music and painting in the period c.1800¬¬–1950. Although art and music are often thought of as separate and opposite art forms, one visible, one invisible, one silent, one noisy, one temporal and one spatial, they have in fact constantly interacted in rich and productive ways. Such interaction has taken place at the level of individuals: amongst those we shall consider are Beethoven, Wagner (especially the concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk), E.T.A. Hoffman, Klee, Kandinsky, Kupka, Schoenberg, Satie and Mondrian; at the level of art movements, for example, Symbolism, Orphism, Cubism, Futurism, Dada and Abstract Expressionism; and at the level of ideas: the absolute, representation, abstraction, dissonance, purity, hybridity, synaesthesia. We will listen to a great variety of music, from opera to free jazz, and consider issues in painting, sculpture, architecture (the design of concert halls, for example) and ‘colour music’ (the development of light projection).

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will have developed 1. a deeper and wider awareness of the relationship between music and art; 2. detailed familiarity with the works of key composers, artists and art movements in the period 1800-1950; 3. the ability to analyse and generalise about issues of continuity and change from a comparative perspective; 4. the ability to select pertinent evidence/data in order to illustrate/demonstrate more general issues through coherent argument; 5. the ability to derive benefit from and contribute effectively to group discussion; 6. the ability to identify a particular academic interpretation, evaluate it critically and form an individual viewpoint; 7. the acquisition of key writing, research, and presentation skills.

Teaching Information

Weekly 2-hour seminar Access to tutorial advice with unit tutor in consultation hours.

Assessment Information

2-hour unseen written examination (summative, 100%)

Reading and References

D. Albright, Untwisting the Serpent: Modernism in Music, Literature, and Other Arts (Chicago, 2000). P. Dayan, Art as Music, Music as Poetry, Poetry as Art, from Whistler to Stravinsky and Beyond (Ashgate, 2011). D. Kahn, Noise Water Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts (MIT, 1999) R. Leppert, The Sight of Sound: Music, Representation and the History of the Body (California, 1993). S. Shaw-Miller, Visible Deeds of Music: Art and Music from Wagner to Cage (Yale, 2002, pbk 2004). P. Vergo, That Divine Order: Music and the Visual Arts from Antiquity to the Eighteenth Century (Phaidon, 2005).