BA Music and Drama

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Aesthetics

Course unit fact file
Unit code MUSC30502
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Music
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

This course introduces and evaluates perspectives from aesthetic theory and the history of aesthetics, focusing in particular on the values, meanings and functions of music. Structured thematically around key issues, it explores a wide range of texts from Plato to the present, offering particular rich coverage of concepts and controversies from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It also probes more recent developments, encouraging students to explore the relationship between contemporary debates and practices.

Pre/co-requisites

 

This course is designed for Music students, although may be taken by other students from the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures.

 

Aims

  • To give students a grounding in aesthetic theory and the history of aesthetics, with particular reference to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
  • To introduce students to key issues in the aesthetics of music, including questions of ontology, beauty, form, content, affect and value.
  • To introduce students to the social, cultural and intellectual contexts in which key concepts and issues have been debated and developed
  • To enable students effectively to compare, contextualise and critique different perspectives and arrive at original and inventive conclusions
  • To equip students with the necessary skills and intellectual tools for studying the various aspects of music aesthetics
  • To consider a range of trends and issues in recent literature and their application
     

Teaching and learning methods

 

 

Knowledge and understanding

  • demonstrate an understanding of key issues in aesthetic theory and of developments within the history of aesthetics
  • demonstrate a grasp of issues and ideas central to Western musical thought
  • demonstrate an understanding of current controversies in music aesthetics

Intellectual skills

  •  interpret, compare and make connections between primary texts; engage critically with secondary literature; and formulate their own perspectives
  • show an ability to understand and re-apply complex modes of thought
  • summarize, evaluate and critique arguments

Practical skills

  • articulate, discuss and support findings coherently in both written and verbal form
  • work effectively both independently and in groups towards clearly delineated goals
  • synthesize ideas and standpoints from diverse sources into coherent arguments

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • present digests of sophisticated texts and arguments to their peers
  • pose questions about complex issues
  • solve a range of problems using appropriate methods, and to present their findings in a professional manner

Employability skills

Other
By the end of the course unit, students will have enhanced their skills in working independently and collaboratively; managing their time effectively; locating, processing and evaluating complex information; problem solving, analysis and argumentation; presenting their findings orally and in writing in a professional manner; engaging in critical discussion of their work; and responding positively to feedback

Assessment methods

Essay 1 45%
Essay 2 45%
Presentation 10%
   

 

Feedback methods

  • written feedback on assignments 1 and 2
  • oral feedback on presentations and prepared work for seminars
  • additional one-to-one feedback (during the consultation hour or by making an appointment)

Recommended reading

  • Adorno, Theodor W., Essays on Music, ed. Richard Leppert, Berkeley and London, 2002
  • Bowie, Andrew, Aesthetics and Subjectivity: from Kant to Nietzsche, 2nd edn. Manchester, 2003
  • Bowman, Wayne D., Philosophical Perspectives on Music, New York and Oxford, 1998
  • Downes, Stephen (ed.), Aesthetics of Music: Musicological Perspectives, New York, 2014
  • Gracyk, Theodore & Andrew Kania (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Music, London, 2011
  • Rancière, Jacques, Aesthetics and its Discontents (Cambridge, 2009)

 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 33
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 156

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
James Garratt Unit coordinator

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