MusM Music (Musicology)

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Case Studies in Musicology: Texts and Histories

Course unit fact file
Unit code MUSC60082
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Music
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course examines at an advanced level all aspects associated with particular musical texts (scores, sketches, recordings, performances, productions), including their compositional history, analysis, intertextuality with other works, performance issues, interaction with social, political and economic conditions of the time, and publication, recording and reception history. The focus will normally be on western-music traditions in a variety of contexts and idioms (from high art to popular) and with a wide chronological spread. The course will be built around two in-depth case studies, drawing on the research specialisms of different members of academic staff; these may vary from year to year.



The blocks of study for this unit change annually, with the result that it is not always feasible as a Free Choice unit. Non-Music students wishing to take the unit should consult the Course Unit Director in advance and obtain their approval.


  1. To introduce students to current and recent debates about the mutual interaction between the musical text and its contexts and/or reception.
  2. To stimulate engagement both with the close reading of musical texts and sources, and with their political, social, and cultural issues over a variety of historical, geographical, and social contexts.
  3. To promote critical assessment of musical scores, recordings, and performances with reference to the relevance and appropriation of their content in specific historical contexts.


Knowledge and understanding

  • Show a high-level awareness of how music interacts with social, political and economic conditions in a variety of contexts.
  • Show a high-level awareness and understanding of such phenomena in history and the questions to which they give rise.


Intellectual skills

  • Research and use primary and secondary sources appropriate to master’s level.
  • Show the ability to situate a variety of musical styles and works in their social, political and cultural context and vice versa, taking account of both musicological and non-musicological approaches and methods.


Practical skills

  • Demonstrate high-level skills in close reading and the analysis of texts and musical scores.
  • Demonstrate high-level skills in the search for and presentation of bibliographical and source information.
  • Demonstrate high-level skills in academic writing.
  • Demonstrate skills in oral presentation.


Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate complex ideas and information, using both the written and spoken word.
  • Demonstrate the ability to engage thoughtfully and critically with a variety of musical scores, recordings, texts, and concepts.
  • Demonstrate the ability to synthesize and evaluate material systematically to produce arguments and solutions that are communicated clearly in both written and oral form.
  • Show an ability to produce written work of high quality independently with critical self-awareness and within a self-directed environment.


Employability skills

Time management skills (submitting presentations and texts to fixed deadlines) Oral presentation skills, individual or in small groups Interacting with critical peers Creative problem-solving (fulfilling a set task with the resources available) Digital skills (information searches in databases, catalogues and other online environments) Analytical skills (analysing texts, musical scores and other materials)

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Oral feedback on in-class presentations


Written feedback on case-study essay


Additional one-to-one feedback in person (during consultation hour or by making an appointment)



Recommended reading

The reading will vary depending on the selection of case studies each year.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
External visits 11
Seminars 16
Independent study hours
Independent study 284

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Roderick Hawkins Unit coordinator

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