BA Music and Drama / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Music post 1900

Unit code MUSC20221
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


An introduction to some significant Western musical works from the 20th and 21st centuries, with emphasis on historical trends and analytical aspects.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Tonality: Form and Function MUSC10011 Pre-Requisite Recommended
Tonality: Motive and Meaning MUSC10022 Pre-Requisite Optional


  • To acquaint students with 20th- and 21st-century Western musical repertoire and trends, and with various analytical approaches thereto.
  • To show how historical, analytical and aesthetic issues may be mutually illuminating in challenging musical repertoire.
  • To foster initiatives in project design with a view to third-year dissertation writing.


  • The syllabus is published on Blackboard prior to the commencement of the course 
  • Lectures emphasize historical, social and aesthetic issues, while seminars are mainly devoted to analytical issues

Teaching and learning methods

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Course documentation and bibliographies online
  • Use of electronic databases such as Naxos and Classical Music Online.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate detailed knowledge of a selection of significant musical works from the 20th and 21st centuries, and some of their key technical features.

Intellectual skills

  •  Understand and evaluate musical analyses encountered in modern scholarly studies.
  • Identify and discuss the broad lines of Western music history since 1900 and recent discourse surrounding them.

Practical skills

  • Use a range of established techniques for analysing and interpreting musical materials.
  • Demonstrate improved score-reading skills.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Demonstrate enhanced interpersonal and presentational skills.

Employability skills

¿ Analytical skills applied to musical scores and texts ¿ Exercising initiative in both devising assignments within a loose framework ¿ Time-management and informational skills

Assessment methods


Assessment task


Weighting within unit

Coursework assignment 1

Coursework assignment 2

2,000 words or equivalent

3,000 words or equivalent




Feedback methods

  • Assignments annotated and assessed via Turnitin
  • Additional one-to-one feedback (during consultation hour or by making an appointment)

Recommended reading

Griffiths, Paul, Modern Music and After, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1995

Ross, Alex, The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, London, Fourth Estate, 2007

Taruskin, Richard, The Oxford History of Western Music, vols. 4 and 5, New York, Oxford University Press, 2005.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
David Fanning Unit coordinator

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