Find out more about some of our current modules by clicking on the links below. A fuller view of the course structure, including a full list of current optional modules, is offered on the ‘Overview’ tab.
This core module will consolidate your knowledge of the fundamental building blocks of music across all periods and genres. Topics will include notation, mode, chord, time and texture.
This core module focuses upon principles of form construction in music. Topics will include partimenti, baroque forms, song form, sonata and the principles of tonal and thematic relationships.
This core module introduces you to key developments in Early Music and Opera. Through a combination of lectures and seminars, you will become familiar with fundamental developments in these areas of the repertoire, cementing basic knowledge essential for all trained musicians.
This core module introduces you to key developments in 19th and 20th-century music. Through a combination of lectures and seminars, you will become familiar with fundamental developments in these areas of the repertoire, cementing basic knowledge essential for all trained musicians.
This module offers an introduction to the different meanings, practices, and theories of popular and art music from a diverse range of cultures, surveying traditions from Asia, the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the Pacific. It incorporates an introduction to ethnomusicological theory and method.
This module is based upon participation in and preparation for rehearsals and performances of the University Choir and/or Philharmonia. Through intensive preparation of demanding repertoire with a professional conductor, you will develop your understanding of the demands and pleasures of large ensemble performance and knowledge of the repertoire concerned, and be encouraged to reflect upon the roles and responsibilities of individual performers within the group. You will also be required to attend a professional ensemble concert or concerts in the Djanogly Recital Hall, which you will review and on which will prepare a report. Your learning will be assessed through monitoring participation, and by two short written assessments.
You will receive instrumental or vocal lessons (including guidance on programming) from a specialist tutor. These lessons will be complemented by regular, interactive performance workshops examining performance style, stage presentation and recital preparation. You will be assessed through a 15-minute public recital in the Djanogly Recital Hall.
This module explores the relationship between musical raw materials and the realisation of their creative potential by examining a wide range of compositional techniques and musical styles. Short musical studies will focus on new approaches to rhythm, melody, counterpoint and harmony.
Critical Thinking about Music
This module develops awareness of and interest in a variety of broadly based critical and investigative topics that go beyond the orthodoxies of chronological history and technical/stylistic commentary. The module aim is to enable you to see music not just as a self-sufficient artistic and intellectual tradition but also as an activity that is embedded in social-cultural contexts and informed by your values and attitudes. Important critical issues, embracing ethical and philosophical ideas as they relate to music, as well as a range of aesthetic and interpretive questions, will be addressed in a theoretical and a practical way.
Advanced Ensemble Performance
This module assesses student performance in a small ensemble setting. Weekly coaching sessions will be given to student ensembles, plus individual instrumental tuition. The module will be assessed through a public ensemble performance, plus involvement in the larger student ensembles.
This module explores the creative potential of present-day orchestral and popular instruments and the specific notational requirements of contemporary composition. Short musical studies will focus on writing for woodwinds, brass, strings, percussion and popular instruments, culminating in a final project for orchestra.
This module develops core skills in professional digital composition, using Logic Pro software. Topics addressed will include the analysis and study of different examples of digital composition techniques, and the completion of industry-specific composition briefs. The aim is to provide a basic grounding in computer based music composition and industry standard software.
This module offers opportunity for intensive development of performing skills. You will receive regular individual lessons with your assigned performance tutor, with whom you agree a corpus of works to be studied. Individual lessons are complemented by regular performance workshops. Your end of year recital will usually include items selected from the appropriate syllabus of the ABRSM, Trinity or Rockschool.
This module involves part-time placement (1 day a week) in an external organisation, and is aimed at developing hands-on work experience and employability skills in a workplace relevant to Music graduates. Each placement will be arranged by the Department, and will be provided by organisations involved in music or other areas of the creative and cultural industries. Departmental mentoring will take the form of a fortnightly seminar, where experiences are shared and work is undertaken on the assessment tasks.
Approaches to Popular Music
This module aims to provide a grounding in approaches to thinking and writing about popular music, with some theoretical and musicological background in musical, historical and cultural issues. It will cover a variety of general approaches and perspectives, as well as exploring key issues in relation to featured songs, videos, and case studies.
This module investigates the origins of jazz in ragtime and the blues, and the development of contrasting jazz styles from 1917 to the present day. Topics include: New Orleans and Chicago ensemble jazz; Harlem stride piano; swing bands; be-bop and hard bop; the 'cool' school; modal jazz; free jazz; jazz-rock fusion.
Philosophy and Aesthetics of Music
This module introduces the student to the traditions of philosophical reflection on music, dating from Kant to the present day. Students will be encouraged to apply the ideas of key philosophers to a present-day case study.
Aesthetics of Electronic and Computer Music
This module investigates technological shifts in recording and performance and assesses their impact on the perception of music. Students will explore how cultural changes and advances in technology have shaped existing genres and created new movements.
Composing for Words, Theatre and Moving Image
This module explores musical composition in dialogue with other artistic media. Topics will include text-setting and writing for voice, new possibilities for opera and music theatre, and film composition.
Can Classical Music Change Lives?
This module examines projects that have used music to tackle situations of conflict or social disadvantage. Case studies include El Sistema, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Streetwise Opera and Music in Prisons.
This module considers political ‘meanings’ embedded in individual operas, and examines ways in which political theories might be related to the aesthetic dimension of opera. Themes include race, nationalism, gender, religion, fascism.
This module examines musical traditions throughout Asia, with an emphasis upon the different functions played by musical practice in different cultural contexts.
This module provides an introduction to the various styles of film music developed during the history of cinema. Topics include silent film, the golden era of Hollywood, genre characteristics (eg, animation, musical comedy, science fiction, etc), European cinema, and jazz/pop soundtracks.
The position of Beethoven and Schubert in music history will be examined from a dual perspective: as a continuation of the maturity of the Classical style and as a point of departure for the Romantic era. Their respective biographies will be studied, both psychologically and professionally, in relation to the musical life of the times and their individual creative trajectories.
This module examines ways in which visual artists and composers tell stories and convey feelings in the period 1600–1750. Topics will include: the portrayal and projection of character, the delineation of emotion, the development of plot and action, the build-up of situations and the relation of these to the narrative sequence.
This module examines aspects of style and structure in a wide variety of 20th-century classical music. Topics to be considered include post-tonal harmony, serial thought, block form, minimalism and new concepts of rhythm and texture.
Approaches to Music Therapy
This module considers both the history and the present day practice of therapeutic uses of music. The intention is to give students a grounding in the basic theories of music therapy, and an appreciation of the range of music’s use in different contexts.
This module involves student performers, composers and music technologists working together to develop a new creative project, for performance in a venue in Nottingham. Improvisation will be fundamental to the developmental stages of the project.
Building on previous performance modules, you will develop your performing skills to a professional standard. You will receive regular individual lessons with your assigned performance tutor, with whom you agree a corpus of works to be studied. Individual lessons are supplemented with regular performance workshops. The recital should usually include items selected from the appropriate syllabus of the ABRSM, Trinity or Rockschool.
This module offers the opportunity to develop creative ability and technical skill in composition to an advanced level. Individuality of compositional voice is encouraged in a project or programme of projects agreed between yourself and the module tutor.
This module investigates current production processes within historical contexts; explores communication of artistic expression via musical direction and arrangements, and factors affecting performance; develops communication and time management skills in working with artists; and skills in effective digital file management.
This module provides you with the opportunity to prepare for an extended individual prose study of 11,000–13,000 words, on a self-selected subject, agreed with the module convenor. Credit will be given for the scope and depth of the study, for clarity of expression and thoroughness of presentation. One-to-one supervision will be supplemented by regular group classes and attendance at Department Music Colloquia.
Every year a number of research seminars are offered in subjects directly relating to staff research interests. In the next two years these will be on Britten and Sondheim, Music and Minorities, Musicians’ Health, Music in Historic Cities, and The Romantic Imagination.
Many year two modules are also offered as year three options. You may also take 20 credits from another department.
The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.