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Unit information: Intertextuality in Music in 2015/16

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Unit name Intertextuality in Music
Unit code MUSI20068
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Williams
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Music
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This course provides a historical and analytic approach to the concept of intertextuality in music. More specifically, it discusses the concept of ‘musical borrowing’ in a range of musical cultures, from early music to the work of Charles Ives, Erik Satie, Charlie Parker, and to topics such as musical exoticism, film music, Jamaican dub, hip-hop, remixes and mash-ups. Each musical culture treats its influences differently, thus a study of other texts within musical styles and genres can reveal wider cultural meanings.

This unit aims: 1. to give students an opportunity to expand the breadth of their historical knowledge through the study of optional subjects 2. to expand their knowledge of the associated musical repertoire and to be able to comment accurately and perceptively on matters of style, structure and context 3. to develop their ability to assemble and assimilate information from a wide variety of sources 4. to engage in critical evaluation of texts about music 5. to develop effective and detailed arguments, both orally and in writing 6. to display competence in the practices, processes, techniques and methodologies that underpin musicological practice.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module, students are expected to (1) have a sufficient knowledge of the concept of intertextuality and apply it to various repertoire (2) be familiar with forms of music that engage with musical borrowing (3) describe with confidence the concept of intertextuality and compare texts from a transhistorical perspective (4) write critically and perceptively about music, intertextuality and its meanings, using appropriate language and terminology.

Teaching Information

10x2-hour classes taught jointly to students at levels I and H

Assessment Information

All the assessment is summative.

Level I: 1x2500-word essay (50%); 1x 2-hour exam (50%).

Both the essay and the exam will demonstrate intended learning outcomes (1) and (2), with the essay in particular providing an opportunity for the students to demonstrate (3) and (4).

Reading and References

  • Burkholder, Peter, All Made of Tunes: Charles Ives and the Uses of Musical Borrowing(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995)
  • Gates Jr., Henry Louis, The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989)
  • Lacasse, Serge, ‘Intertextuality and Hypertextuality in Recorded Popular Music’ in Michael Talbot, ed., The Musical Work: Reality or Invention? (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2000), pp. 35-58
  • Meconi, Honey, ed., Early Musical Borrowing (London: Routledge, 2004)
  • Metzer, David, Quotation and Cultural Meaning in Twentieth-Century Music(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003)
  • Williams, Justin, Rhymin’ and Stealin’: Musical Borrowing in Hip-hop (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press)