What you will study
This module develops the methods and materials for music research introduced in MA Music part 1 (A873), particularly in the context of the digital humanities, but allows for more in-depth discussion of particular topics. By the end of the module you will have undertaken a sustained piece of individual research in the form of a dissertation.
- continue to develop your knowledge of research methodologies applicable to music research
- learn how to accumulate information about music, and synthesise and present your findings in a variety of different writing formats
- encounter a variety of musical topics, themes and repertories from different periods and styles
- undertake a sustained piece of independent music research
The module has four main sections or ‘blocks’, each of which is broadly structured into a six-week study period. Some flexibility is built in so you can extend your reading in areas that particularly interest you. In addition, you will be guided through a number of readings by members of the module team in dedicated forum activity weeks.
Block 1 examines the many and fascinating interactions between music and politics. You'll 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’. You'll 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. You'll 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, in which you will undertake a sustained piece of individual research and present it.