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Unit information: Historical Studies in 2015/16

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Unit name Historical Studies
Unit code MUSI10055
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Scheding
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Music
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

The unit provides an introduction to Western art music through the study of relevant repertoires, works, contexts and historiographical issues. In order to provide balance between breadth and depth, the unit does not aim to cover music history from the Middle Ages to the present day, but, after an introductory lecture on music history as a discipline, focuses on a selection of three periods, discussed in three lectures for each of them. Depending on the staff involved in the unit in any given year, the periods/repertoires will change from year to year, but will allow students to study a broad range of different kinds of music, questions, approaches and methods.

Unit aims: This unit aims to develop the student’s knowledge base in relation to key repertoire within Western art music (principally by investigation of particular works from a selection of three periods and by relating these to relevant cultural issues). It also seeks to provide foundational skills for historiographical research into music, including an ability to evaluate existing published writings, effective use of bibliographical resources, planning and researching a short essay and (in a seminar context) presenting and defending an argument orally.

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the end of the unit, a successful student will be able to

1. discuss in greater depth particular works and repertories introduced in the lectures;

2. alternatively, to examine similar, contrasting or complementary works;

3. demonstrate a detailed understanding of social and cultural contexts for music;

4. evaluate and apply strategies and methodologies for writing historical accounts of music, including relevant research methods, bibliographical tools, etc.;

5. evaluate traditions and cultural values critically;

6. know how to use the bibliographical tools of the academic study of music (such as libraries and databases) effectively;

7. plan an essay correctly using footnote referencing and appending a bibliography;

8. present and defend arguments orally;

9. contest arguments in seminar discussion;

10. internalise information and apply it appropriately in an examination context.

Teaching Information

2-hour weekly lecture + plus 1-hour weekly group-tutorial with the students' personal tutor = 3 hours of contact per week.

Assessment Information

1. 1500 word essay, on the first period of music history studied in the unit (formative only, but required for credit), ILOs 1-7.

2. 1500 word essay, on the second period of music history studied in the unit (summative, 50% of unit mark), ILOs 1-7.

3. 2-hour unseen written examination covering the content of the unit as a whole. The exam accounts for 50% of the unit mark, and assesses ILOS 1-5, 10

Learning outcomes 8 and 9 will be demonstrated through the students’ participation in class and in the tutor group meetings.

Reading and References

1. Carl Dahlhaus: 'Foundations of Music History' (transl. J. Bradford Robinson). Cambridge 1983.

2. Richard Taruskin: 'The Oxford History of Western Music'. 5 vols. Oxford 2005.

3. Leo Treitler: ‘What kind of story is history?’, in: '19th-Century Music' 7:3 (April 1984), pp. 363-73.