MusM Music (Ethnomusicology)

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Advanced Music Studies: Skills and Methodologies

Course unit fact file
Unit code MUSC60071
Credit rating 30
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Music
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course provides an introduction to both the practical and the theoretical foundations of musicology at postgraduate level. For the purposes of this module, 'musicology' is conceived in the broadest possible sense, encompassing historical, analytical, systematic, performative and cultural approaches with regard to musics of all styles, periods and cultures, including popular and non-Western traditions.

In the first part of the module, students will study a number of practical aspects related to advanced musicological research and demonstrate their proficiency in a range of skills through weekly exercises and the submission of a set of coursework assignments. The second part of the module offers a wide-ranging introduction to concepts, issues, theories and methods within current music studies. It explores some of the key debates and trends shaping the discipline and considers how the contemporary study of music and music-making has responded to broader developments in the arts, humanities and social sciences.



  • To offer advanced musicological training in the areas of literary and primary sources, bibliography, critical reading, writing and communication, together with professional skills such as producing research outlines and funding applications.
  • To introduce students to current and recent debates about methods, theories and approaches relevant to advanced music study.
  • To stimulate engagement with broader debates and problems in historical and cultural disciplines.
  • To promote critical assessment of the problems and benefits of specific musicological approaches.
  • To encourage awareness of historical trends in musicology/music studies and their long-term legacy.
  • To provide students with a foundation for critical assessment of the theories and methods that inform their own research.




Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate a grasp of research resources and tools (in both printed and digital formats) appropriate to masters level
  • Show an awareness of ethical issues in all areas of musicological or music-related research
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the most significant recent developments in musicology and related methodologies
  • Show an awareness and understanding of the nature of musicological debate relating to methodology and approach


Intellectual skills

  • Research and use primary and secondary sources appropriate to masters level
  • Show the ability to situate a variety of musicological texts within the contexts of current and past musicological methods and approaches
  • Demonstrate the ability to discuss and critically to assess the problems and benefits of particular methods and approaches to musicological research


Practical skills

  • Deploy fieldwork skills appropriate to masters level
  • Demonstrate skills in close reading and the analysis of texts
  • Demonstrate skills in oral presentation
  • Write effective research and funding proposals

(Fieldwork is subject to govenrment guidance) 


Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate complex ideas and information in academic and non-academic contexts, using both written and spoken word
  • Demonstrate the ability to engage thoughtfully and critically with a variety of 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) Fieldwork skills (fieldwork is subject to government guidelines)

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 40%
Written assignment (inc essay) 60%
In-class tasks 0%
In-class presentations 0%
Skills-based Assignment  40%
Essay 60%


Feedback methods

  • Oral feedback on in-class tasks, exercises and presentations
  • Written feedback on essays 1 and 2 and on the skills-based assignment
  • Additional one-to-one feedback (during consultation hour or by making an appointment)


Recommended reading

  • Beard, David and Kenneth Gloag, Musicology: The Key Concepts (London, 2005; new edn. 2016).
  • Born, Georgina, and David Hesmondhalgh (eds.), Western Music and its Others: Difference, Representation and Appropriation in Music (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 2000).
  • Duckles, Vincent, and Keller, Michael, Music Reference and Research Materials: An Annotated Bibliography, 5th edn. (New York, 1997)
  • Clayton, Martin, Trevor Herbert, and Richard Middleton (eds.), The Cultural Study of Music: A Critical Introduction (New York and London, 2003)
  • Cook, Nicholas and Mark Everist (eds.), Rethinking Music (Oxford, 1999)
  • Crist, Stephen A. and Roberta Montemorra Marvin (eds.), Historical Musicology: Sources, Methods, Interpretations (Rochester, NY, 2004).
  • Hooper, Giles, The Discourse of Musicology (Aldershot, 2006).
  • Kerman, Joseph, Musicology (London, 1985).


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Project supervision 2.5
Seminars 30
Supervised time in studio/wksp 7.5
Independent study hours
Independent study 260

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Roderick Hawkins Unit coordinator

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