Our MA pathway in Russian Music is unique in the UK. It was conceived as a tailor-made MA for students who wish to proceed to PhD study in Russian music, who then find that learning the language slows down their research and limits what they are able to do. We also welcome students with a special interest in Russian music who wish to take their BA or BMus studies further but who are not sure whether they will continue to PhD level.
At Bristol, you can choose a range of options from both Music and Russian programmes from our list of 'core' and 'optional' units .The 'core' units are: Research Skills for Musicians, Readings in Musicology and a 15,000-word dissertation. A 20-credit Russian language unit is run over the course of the whole year, and will take you from being an absolute beginner to making translations of Russian poems by June. You will also take optional units to the value of 40 credits (as detailed below).
Staff specialisms in the Music and Russian Departments include: Shostakovich and Soviet Music; Russian Opera; Soviet and post-Soviet film and theatre; Pushkin and Romanticism; The Russian Silver Age; Soviet critical theory and Bakhtin; Russian and Soviet Literature and History. Both the Music and Russian Departments run Research Seminars with invited speakers; the Music Department Seminar programme can be found on our website. The Russian Department seminar series is available on the School of Modern Languages website
For further information about the MA optional units, see this year's unit booklets
** taught as supervised independent studies
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.
This unit will focus on research skills that are particularly relevant to musician, 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.
The unit will provide students with a knowledge of modern Russian inflectional and derivational morphology and syntax and introduce them to the concept of register. Emphasis will be on acquisition of a passive knowledge of the language for reading purposes. In the second teaching block students will be introduced to texts of a historical, political or sociological nature in the original. Teaching will be in small groups. There will be four classes a week over two teaching blocks. The unit will be assessed by a three-hour written examination in the Summer Term which will test knowledge of grammar, breadth of vocabulary, ability to translate from Russian into English and comprehension of a text of a historical, political or sociological nature.
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.
The unit is designed as a forum for the close study of the constructional techniques to be observed in the scores and recordings of music that can be of major interest, and value as exemplar, to the contemporary composer. This discipline will acknowledge the requirements of the Analytical profession but is more focused on the acquisition of tools and manners of perception and their potential transferability to practice-based research. A variety of musical sources and related readings will be studied in preparation for writing the assessed self-directed written project.
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 explores the relationship between the creative intelligentsia and the Soviet state through a study of historical documents, memoirs, film and a small number of literary texts. It is chronologically structured, and examines political interference in the creative processes of writers and other artists with reference to the following topics: literary groups of the 1920s; Socialist Realism; the role of the Writers' Union; the Purges and literature; the Zhdanovshchina of the post-War years; the post-Stalinist Thaw; the Pasternak affair; the Solzhenitsyn affair, Siniavskii; Daniel and Brodskii; the dissident movement and the emigration; glasnost, perestroika and the end of Soviet culture.
This unit will explore a number of key themes in the thought of the Silver-Age period in Russia, from 1890 to 1921, namely: the "Russian Idea"; utopia and apocalypse; reason and faith; the feminine principle; sex, family and nation. It will seek to facilitate an understanding of the ways in which these concerns are peculiar to Russia (both in the period described and beyond), whilst also locating them more broadly within European modernism. Authors to be considered are: Vladimir Soloviev, Vasilii Rozanov, Lev Shestov, Nikolai Berdiaev, Pavel Florensky, and Mikhail Bakhtin. Teaching is in weekly seminars, and the unit will be assessed by one essay of 5,000 words or two essays of 2,500 words each. Knowledge of Russian is desirable but not essential for this unit.
For further information on life as a postgraduate in Bristol, visit the Graduate School of Arts and Humanities.
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