BA Music and Drama

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Ensemble Performance B 20 Credit

Course unit fact file
Unit code MUSC20660
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Music
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course provides specific opportunities for ensemble playing in particular idioms under the guidance of particular tutors. Although the focus is on playing together, students will also gain a practical and theoretical background to support their playing. Please note that in the event of Covid-related restrictions, content and assessment may need to be adapted.

Students taking MUSC20660 take both of the following options::

  • Klezmer (max. 12 students)
  • Gamelan (max. 12 students)


This option provides a practical and theoretical introduction to traditional Klezmer music of predominantly Eastern European origin. You will develop skills in improvisation, arrangement and group interpretation. You will also be guided through a selection of background reading and you will listen to a variety of related repertoire. Your studies will culminate in an assessed performance. For 2022-23, this option will be taught by visiting tutor Daniel Mawson with academic support from Dr. Richard Fay.


This option provides a practical and theoretical introduction to Sundanese gamelan music from the Indonesian province of West Java. You will explore a broad spectrum of musical styles and techniques on two contrasting sets of Sundanese gamelan instruments: gamelan degung and gamelan saléndro. Your repertoire will include classical concert pieces, music for traditional and modern dance, and contemporary compositions and arrangements. You will also develop skills in improvisation and group composition. To give you an understanding of cultural context, you will be guided through a selection of listening, video and reading material, and you will learn about Indonesian society, history, folklore and language. Your studies will culminate in an assessed performance for which you will prepare, as a group, a set of pieces that showcase your newly acquired skills and repertoire. Your studies will culminate in an assessed performance. For 2022-23, this option will be taught by visiting tutor Dr. Robert Szymanek.


  • To expand upon skills already established in MUSC 10600 Solo Performance by confronting performance contexts involving collaboration with other musicians and developing the skills of an ensemble player.
  • To facilitate the development of students’ creative imagination and skills of critical self-awareness when working in a collaborative performance context.
  • To learn about music from other cultures through performance.

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate increased understanding of how music works and the contexts in which it is performed.
  • Agree on an interpretation or arrangement with other performers, and apply an informed understanding of musical style and structure in order to realise that interpretation.

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students should be able to:

  • Show an enhanced ability to understand and apply analytical skills to music, and convey that understanding to other musicians.
  • Engage with other musicians in meaningful dialogue about music and its interpretation.  

Practical skills

By the end of this course students should be able to:

•    Demonstrate enhanced performance abilities in the skill areas cultivated by the chosen sub-unit.
•    Respond to and collaborate with other musicians whilst performing.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

By the end of this course students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate enhanced skills in problem-solving, interpersonal communication, rehearsal techniques and the practical application of analytical and interpretative insights. 
  • Demonstrate the confidence and interpersonal skills required to work effectively in groups, showing skills relating to teamwork, negotiation, decision-making and leadership.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Surveying repertoire, analysing and showing understanding of the repertoire you are performing
Initiative in inventing a creative concept and putting it into motion, coming up with your own ideas, and not relying on your teacher to do the thinking for you
Being responsible for overseeing a creative product from inception through to final performance
Project management
Developing time-management skills, developing effective and efficient practising habits, setting and achieving goals, and collaborating effectively with other musicians as appropriate
Self-awareness: knowing your strengths and skills and having the confidence to put these across through performance Willingness to learn: being inquisitive about such issues as repertoire and performance practice, being enthusiastic and open to new ideas, making decisions, assessing progress and making changes if necessary

Assessment methods

Group performance     50%

Group performance     50%

Feedback methods

Workshops/coaching sessions; group discussion; individual discussion with tutor; reflection on informal performances; written feedback on final assessed performance.

Recommended reading

Each of the components in the course unit has its own reading and listening lists. The following titles provide overall support:

  • Davies, Stephen, Musical Works and Performances: a Philosophical Exploration (Oxford, 2001).
  • Dunsby, Jonathan, Performing Music: Shared Concerns (Oxford, 1995).
  • Godlovitch, Stanley, Musical Performance: A Philosophical Study (London and New York, 2003).
  • Rink, John (ed.), Musical Performance: A Guide to Understanding (Cambridge, 2002).
  • Rink, John (ed.), The Practice of Performance: Studies in Musical Interpretation (Cambridge, 2005).

More specific reading lists will be circulated within each option.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 178

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Alexander Gagatsis Unit coordinator

Additional notes


Each option has its own schedule of workshops/coaching sessions and group rehearsals: these will be detailed in the course outline provided by the relevant tutor.

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