The Medieval Pathway through the MA in Music combines a focus on methods in historical musicology with an emphasis on the Middle Ages, an area in which Bristol University specialises. It introduces students to a wide variety of musicological methods, theories and approaches, helps them to develop skills in editing, analysis, critical thinking and techniques for research, and provides a balanced and comprehensive training for those who wish to pursue future research degrees.
In the first teaching block, all master's students take an introductory course in Research Skills in musicology (20 credits). In the first teaching block, Medieval Music students also take the Readings in Musicology unit in the Music Department (40 credits), and a language course in Latin (20 credits). In the second teaching block, they take optional units (as detailed below) to the value of 40 credits.
The Special Study unit is particularly suitable for students on this pathway (supervised independent study on any aspect of medieval music). There is also usually a joint undergraduate/MA module on a medieval music topic ('Western Liturgical Chant' in 2008-9; 'Liturgical Drama' in 2009-10; 'Inside Medieval Music' in 2010-11; 'Music ad Archaeology of Medieval Monastic Cultures' and also 'the Renaissance Polyphonic Mass' in 2011-12).
The dissertation or edition, completed during the summer (60 credits), will be developed in consultation with the pathway convenor during the first two semesters.
for further information about the MA optional units, see this year's unit booklets
* taught as supervised independent studies
This unit comprises twelve two-hour classes designed to give beginners and near-beginners a secure introductory grounding in Latin, in particular the basic elements of grammar. It serves as a point of entry into what was the most widespread and prestigious language of written communication in the Middle Ages and into the early modern period, and consequently the single most important language in our surviving sources. The unit draws on teaching materials specifically designed for the needs of adults new to the language. Its aim is to help students reach a point from which they can proceed to practise their knowledge and develop their proficiency whenever they encounter Latin source materials in the subsequent stages of the degree programme.
This unit will focus on research skills that are particularly relevant to musicians, focusing on the construction of a detailed bibliography as assessed work and how to give a successful oral presentation.
Selected topics in current musicology, including theories of historiography, concert practice, orality and the work concept, gender and critical theory.
For full-time students, the topic for a research dissertation with an upper limit of 15,000 words, or an equivalent piece of research in terms of scholarly editing and commentary, is chosen during Teaching Block 1 or 2 with guidance from a supervisor. The dissertation is shaped and drafted during one-to-one supervisions in the Summer Term and then written up as an independent study over the summer vacation, to be informally bound by the student and submitted to the Music Office (two copies) by 15 September. The same applies to part-time students except that they normally begin to identify their dissertation topic in their first year of study.
This unit offers you an opportunity for detailed study of particular areas of interest in the field of historical musicology. Each Special Study (one or two chosen, in consultation with available staff each year) will be taught as supervised independent study in tutors' postgraduate office hour. You and your tutor(s) will cover topics and repertoires methodically in regular meetings by way of discussing bibliographies, outlines, critical approaches and methodological strategies and by reading out short essays. Additionally, the weekly departmental research seminars will encourage you to refine your critical responses and discussion skills. Overall, the tutorials should demonstrate an ability to research aspects of a topic effectively and sufficiently, leading naturally to the MA dissertation in terms of approach (though not necessarily topic). Three 2000-word essays will be researched per 20-credit unit, presented, discussed and graded on the spot at regular intervals through the semester. The best two grades of three carry forward, with the marks confirmed or adjusted when all the essays are handed in and second-marked at the end of the semester.
This unit introduces students to different categories of musicological sources and discusses issues arising from these, including recent authenticity debates surrounding the use of these materials in performance. It acquaints students with the nature of historical source materials for different repertoires and with the ways in which these may inform an understanding of compositional process. It also introduces typical problems involved in the preparation of critical editions to the highest standards of modern scholarship by means of particular case studies. It is intended that this unit will stimulate an awareness of the sensitivity required in handling primary and other musical source materials and that it will help students to acquire a critically informed approach to musical texts.
Part-time students usually take Research Skills, Medieval Latin and one 20-credit optional unit in the first year. In year two, they take Readings in Musicology and the remaining 20-credit optional unit. Alternative routes through the MA are possible, by negotiation with the pathway tutor.
For further information on life as a postgraduate in Bristol, visit the Graduate School of Arts and Humanities.
For enquiries about the course please contact one of the following: