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Unit information: Historical Studies II : Western Art Music (1750 to the present day) in 2017/18

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Unit name Historical Studies II : Western Art Music (1750 to the present day)
Unit code MUSI10046
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Kate Guthrie
Open unit status Open




School/department Department of Music
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit seeks to combine detailed historical study of 'Western Classical Music' (principally from the high classical period to the present day) with in-depth consideration of contemporary cultural issues and intellectual debates touching on music, including popular musics, ethnic repertoires, film and stage music, music and media etc.


This unit aims to develop the student's knowledge base in relation to key repertoire from the era of Haydn and Mozart to modern times, principally by investigation of particular works and by relating these to relevant contexts. It also provides an introduction to important intellectual issues in contemporary musical culture (such as the representation of music in the media, recorded sound, music for stage and film), and encourages students to challenge and rethink established frameworks for understanding the role of music in society. The variety of perspectives offered in the lectures is complemented by the associated tutorials which build on the foundational skills in music historiography acquired in Historical Studies I.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Successful completion of this unit will enable the student to:

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

2) demonstrate a detailed understanding of social and cultural contexts for music

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

4) plan an essay correctly using footnote referencing and appending a bibliography

Teaching Information

11 x weekly lecture (2 hours)

Assessment Information

1. 3 x 1000-word essays (summative, equally weighted). ILOs 1 - 4.

Reading and References

  • Dahlhaus, C., Foundations of Music History transl. References J. Bradford Robinson (Cambridge, 1982)
  • Adorno, T. & Eisler, H., Composing for Films (London, 1994)
  • DeNora, Tia, Beethoven and the Construction of Genius (California, 1995)
  • Citron, M., Gender and the Musical Canon (Cambridge, 1993)
  • Horton, Julian, Schubert’s Late Music (Cambridge, 2016)
  • McClary, S., Feminine Endings (Minnesota, 1991)
  • Middleton, R., Studying Popular Music (Milton Keynes, 1990)
  • Forster, H. (ed.), Postmodern Culture (London & Sydney, 1985)
  • Taruskin, Richard, The Oxford History of Western Music (New York, 2005)