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Unit information: Editing Project in 2015/16

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Unit name Editing Project
Unit code MUSI30139
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Scott
Open unit status Not open

Level I MUSI 20056 Transcription and Editing



School/department Department of Music
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit will enable students who successfully completed the 2nd year Transcription and Editing Unit (MUSI20056) to study the discipline at a more advanced and specialised level. They will transcribe an agreed amount of music from one single manuscript or early printed source, typically involving a type of notation or tablature studied at 2nd year level (i.e. from the period 1450-1650); with the agreement of the Unit Director, however, earlier or later sources may also be proposed. The final submission will include a professionally presented edition together with an extended editorial preface.


This unit aims to consolidate the student's understanding of modern techniques of editing early music. Attention will also be devoted to more advanced matters of notation, source filiation and effective scholarly presentation.

Intended learning outcomes

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

  1. interpret and transcribe a complex notation with a high degree of accuracy, and to present this in a clear modern format
  2. understand and apply modern editorial conventions
  3. make informed choices based on contextual awareness of early musical styles
  4. record in a detailed and concise way relevant information in primary source documents
  5. set the music in its appropriate historical context and provide, where appropriate, information on the composer(s) concerned
  6. provide appropriate guidance on matters of performance

Teaching details

Fortnightly 30-minute tutorials (plus additional time in tutor’s office/surgery hour when needed)

Weekly 3rd year Musicology seminars

Assessment Details

Submission of an extended edition (as agreed with the Unit Director), together with a 3000-word editorial preface

Learning outcomes 1 – 4 will be demonstrated through the edition, outcomes 5 – 6 in the editorial preface.

Reading and References

  • W. Apel, The Notation of Polyphonic Music (Cambridge, Mass., 1953)
  • J. Caldwell, Editing Early Music 2nd ed. (Oxford, 1995)
  • J. Grier, The Critical Editing of Music (Cambridge, 1996)
  • R. Rastall, The Notation of Western Music (New York, 1982)
  • Articles on ‘Editing’ and ‘Notation’ in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1980 and 2001 editions).
  • Reference to scholarly editions such as Early English Church Music and Musica Britannica.