On Saturday 17 of the students from the two year groups of the MA met in Milton Keynes for a Study Day. In the morning those who’ve just finished A873 were first introduced to the second module and then spent some time talking around the process of reading scholarly articles. Our focus this year was on notation and performance, looking at work on Brahms’s scores and on the composer Tristan Murail. Meanwhile, the A874 students were focusing on their dissertations, with Ben Winters and Byron Dueck running sessions on structuring a dissertation and on gathering evidence. Students from both cohorts then came together with Fiona Richards to think about editing their work, particularly when it might need to be radically revised. Helen Coffey introduced all students to PhDs in Music.
In the afternoon we listened to students presenting their ideas for their upcoming dissertations. This was a real highlight of the day, with extraordinary diversity in the topics selected. MA students are free to pursue their own particular interests, and we heard a huge variety of approaches and repertoire, ranging from operatic versions of Hamlet to Finzi and Hardy, from the use of Grieg and Prokofiev in popular music to morris tunes, making use of material collected by Cecil Sharp that is now available through The Full English. Guitar strings, Scottish tunes and their migration, the operatic voice, and music and paganism were all topics that emerged. We look forward to reading some excellent work in the autumn.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable day, boosted by pastries, lunch and a constant supply of tea and coffee. Although we’re sorry we can’t find a date to accommodate everyone, we do very much appreciate the efforts made by students to travel to Milton Keynes. We hope to run something similar in the first half of October.