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.
Elements of Music I
This module will introduce you to fundamental elements of music theory and harmony. Through small-group teaching and weekly exercises, you will gain competence in harmony, counterpoint, figured bass realisation, key-and chord recognition and musical transcription. Focusing on music from 1650-1850, this module aims to prepare you for Elements of Music II though a weekly 90 minute seminar.
Elements of Music II
This module consists of a series of case studies drawn from the repertoire of 1650-1850, intended to develop a critical understanding of the fundamental elements of tonal music in its historical context. You will consider issues of genre, form, cadential structure, harmony, motivic development, figured bass, register, texture, articulation, ornamentation, tempo, dynamics, mood, topic and character, as well as current issues in historical interpretation. You will have a 90 minute lecture and one hour seminar each week.
This module has two principal objectives: first, to cultivate important skills in reading and writing about music; second, to assess some
fundamental questions about music and musical experience. The first half of the module will consider reasons for and against writing about music, and develop skills in critical reading, referencing texts and structuring an argument. The second half will explore what music is for, how different people listen to and judge it, and the status of knowledge about it. You will have a 90 minute lecture and one hour seminar each week.
This module is based upon participation in and preparation for rehearsals and performances of the University Choir. 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. Conducting workshops will give you initiation and insight into the role (especially the practical tasks) of the conductor. 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.
Skills in Composition
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. Topics include musical textures and forms, scales, basic serial techniques, and contrasting harmonic idioms. You will have a one hour lecture and one hour seminar each week.
This module explores the development of opera from around 1600 to the present day. You will focus on some key works of the repertoire, as well as less familiar works, and examine the musical, cultural and social contexts in which opera has been created and received. There will be an optional trip to see Opera North at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham. You will spend two hours in lectures and seminars as well as a 90 minute workshop each week.
This module offers an introduction to the different meanings, practices, and theories of 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. You will have a one hour seminar as well as a 90 minute lecture each week.
This module aims to provide you with the knowledge and guidance necessary to achieve success in a range of career paths relevant to Music students. Nottingham alumni representing a wide variety of employment sectors will share their experiences, and The Department of Music and Careers Service staff will provide a range of complementary sessions, addressing both practical skills essential to obtaining employment and a broader understanding of the changing nature of employment markets.
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. You will have a two hour lecture and one hour seminar each week.
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. Performers may elect at the start of the module to be examined as duos trios or quartets rather than as individual candidates. The recital should usually include items selected from the appropriate syllabus of the ABRSM, Trinity or Rockschool.
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. You will have a 90-minute practical and one-hour lecture each week.
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.
Notation, Transcribing and Editing
This module provides the opportunity for a detailed study of vocal and instrumental notations of the period 1400-1600, source study, and the
acquiring of basic skills in editing and commentary. There are regular assignments involving transcription into modern staff notation in score
format. Issues of style and interpretation will be addressed in relation to the production of a clear and historically informed musical text. You will have a two hour seminar and two hour lecture each week.
Approaches to Popular Music
This module aims to provide a ground in approaches to thinking and writing about popular music critically, 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. You will have a 90 minute lecture and 90 minute seminar each week.
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. Performers may elect at the start of the module, to be examined as duos, trios or quartets rather than as individual candidates. The recital should usually include items selected from the appropriate syllabus of the ABRSM, Trinity or Rockschool.
This module and its co-requisite offer 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 teacher.
This module provides an introduction to the various styles of film music developed during the history of cinema, and considers aesthetic and technical issues arising from them. Topics include: silent film, early sound film, the golden era of Hollywood, genre characteristics, and trends in European cinema. You will have a two hour lecture and one hour seminar each week.
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 supervisor. Credit will be given for the scope and depth of the study, for clarity of expression and thoroughness of presentation.
Research Seminar C: Can Classical Music Change Lives?
Recent years have seen an explosion of projects using classical music to tackle social disadvantage and conflict. In the UK, projects attempting to change people’s lives through classical music include: In Harmony, Streetwise Opera, Music in Prisons and Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Ballet Hoo. This research seminar will investigate the history and aims of these and other projects, and will analyse their strengths and weaknesses. You will undertake research both on the music projects and on the social problems that they attempt to address. Principal goals of the seminar include evaluating the effectiveness of such projects at a time of severe arts funding cuts, and developing a balanced understanding of a field of great importance to present-day arts organisations. You will have one 2-hour seminar and one 2-hour screening session per week.
Research Seminar B: Music and Ethics
This seminar explores the ethical criticism of music, through a selection of case studies drawn from a variety of historical eras and musicological contexts. Ethics is one of the oldest topics in discussions of music, dating back at least as far as Plato, who warned against the moral (even potentially corrupting) power that music could have on the soul. It is also one of the youngest topics, having attracted increased attention within musicology in recent years. You will investigate intersections of music and ethics in contexts that embrace a range of musical genres and a selection of interpretative approaches drawing on musicology, philosophy, and critical theory. You will base your studies on theories that clarify the ethical content and character of the arts and music and the nature of our critical response and engagement.
Being a Composer in the Renaissance
This module will provide a comprehensive view of the craft of musical composition in the second half of the sixteenth century. Three case studies (the careers and works of Palestrina, Marenzio and Victoria) will illustrate the situation in Rome, one of the most cosmopolitan locations in Europe at the time. You will have a weekly 90 minute lecture and one hour seminar as well as a four hour mini-conference during the semester.