Here in the Music Department, we’re currently working on completing part 2 of our new MA in Music. This second module (A874) follows on from A873, which is currently in the first year of its presentaion, and explores three main study areas of current interest to musicology (music and politics; music notation and performance; and music and relationships) prior to examining a number of case-study research projects. The module concludes with the writing of a dissertation or digital humanities project.
The module has four main sections or ‘blocks’, each of which is broadly structured into a six-week study period, and after which students will complete a TMA (Tutor-Marked Assignment). Students will also be guided through a number of readings by members of the module team in dedicated seminar forum weeks.
Block 1 examines the many and fascinating interactions between music and politics. Students will study a variety of topics including: the role of music in Nazi Germany, and in the Cold War; the reception history of Mahler and Shostakovich; and the protest songs of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and others.
Block 2 explores notations and performances throughout music history. The main topics of study include: performing early keyboard music from Byrd to Bach; studying historic recordings; folk songs and klezmer; fiddle tune books and jazz scores; Mozart’s manuscripts; and the range of contemporary notations used by woodwind players.
Block 3 looks at a number of topics under the theme of ‘music and relationships’. Students will examine the interactions between performing musicians, the roles music can play in closely knit communities, and the kinds of connections that the mass-mediated circulation of music enables between strangers. Topics will include the emergence of brass banding in Britain in the nineteenth century, sacred and devotional musics, and the mbira music of the Shona people of Zimbabwe.
Block 4 consists of a series of case studies exploring a number of different topics and methodologies. Students will study how electronic musicians use social media to cultivate relationships with fellow composers; the role played by music in cross-cultural encounters around the rim of the Atlantic ocean; opera and gender; the figure of Pan in music composed in England and France; and the Handel Documents project.
The module concludes with a dissertation or digital project, in which students will undertake a sustained piece of individual research and present it either as a written dissertation or (if they have the necessary technical skills) as an online web project. Two formative TMAs will prepare students for this dissertation.