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Unit information: Music and Society 1 in 2020/21

Unit name Music and Society 1
Unit code MUSI10061
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Scott
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Music
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit gives first year students a foundation for reading, listening and critically evaluating a wide range of musical practice based around the notion of Music and Place. Instead of giving a ‘chronological’ account dominated by the Western classical canon, this unit will address issues in terms of (for example) geography, cultural identity, migration and other social factors influencing the creation and practice of music. It also seeks to provide foundational skills for historiographical research into music, including an ability to evaluate existing published writings), effective use of bibliographical resources, planning and researching a short essay and (in a seminar context) presenting and defending an argument orally.


This unit aims to develop the student's knowledge base in relation to key repertoire, principally by investigation of particular works and by relating these to relevant contexts. It also provides an introduction to important intellectual issues in contemporary musical culture (such as the representation of music in the media, recorded sound, music for stage and film), and encourages students to challenge and rethink established frameworks for understanding the role of music in society.

Intended learning outcomes

Successful completion of this unit will enable the student to:

1) discuss in greater depth particular works and repertoires introduced in the lectures

2) demonstrate a detailed understanding of social and cultural contexts for music

3) evaluate traditions and cultural values critically

4) plan an essay correctly using footnote referencing and appending a bibliography

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including lectures and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Details

3 x 1000 word essay (summative, equally weighted) ILOs 1-4.

Reading and References

  • Dahlhaus, C., Foundations of Music History transl. J.Bradford Robinson (Cambridge, 1982)
  • Everist, Mark, The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Music, CUP, 2011
  • Hornby, Emma, and Rebecca Maloy, Music and Meaning in Old Hispanic Lenten Chants, Boydell and Brewer, 2013
  • Strohm, R.,The Rise of European Music (Oxford, 1995)
  • Citron, M., Gender and the Musical Canon (Cambridge, 1993)
  • Forster, H. (ed.), Postmodern Culture (London & Sydney, 1985)