You must pass year three which counts two thirds towards your final degree classification.
The modules listed below are only available in year three. However, many year two modules are also offered as year three options.
In this module, students will compose at least 15 minutes of original music and organise a performance of their work. The submitted compositions will be judged on technical merit and originality. The goal of the module is for each student to begin to build a body of work expressive of his or her individual creative voice.
Dissertation or Editorial/Analytical Project
You have the opportunity to pursue an extended individual project of 10,000 -- 12,000 words or equivalent, in the areas of musicology, analysis, or transcribing and editing.
Topics are proposed by the student, and agreed in advance with the Director of Teaching/ Module Convenor.
Performance 3 (Year-Long)
This module offers opportunity for intensive development of performing skills. Students receive regular individual lessons across the year with their assigned practical music teacher, with whom they agree a corpus of works to be studied. Students are required to perform one work (to be agreed in advance with the module convenor and instrument/voice tutor, and to differ from the repertoire chosen for the final recital) at a Performance Festival to be held mid-year, at which informal feedback will be offered. Students are also required to attend workshops and specific concerts throughout the year. The final recital (see assessment) should usually include items selected from the appropriate syllabus of professionally recognised diploma lists, including ABRSM, Trinity, Rockschool. Instrumental recital: two items at LRSM level or equivalent. Vocal recital: three items at LRSM level or equivalent. Further details can be found in the module handbook.
Jazz: Origins and Styles
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; symphonic jazz; jazz-rock fusion. and other jazz-related fusion styles; and jazz film scores.
Aesthetics of Music
Discussions of music have a long-established history of engaging with philosophical issues, while music has often challenged and shaped philosophical thought. This module introduces the student to relationships between the two disciplines and examines some of the crucial issues at stake.
The first half of the module will explore the foundations of modern aesthetics in the writings of enlightenment and nineteenth-century philosophers, including Kant, Hegel,Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche.
The second half will explore key twentieth-century contributions from thinkers including Adorno, Barthes and Lydia Goehr.
The module offers a variety of conceptual tools that will enable the student to develop critical and philosophical skills relevant for the historical and theoretical study of music.
This module will introduce students to the art of writing for orchestral instruments including strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion and keyboard with some coverage of writing for popular instruments.
The Art of 18th-Century Performance Improvisation - Research Seminar
In the eighteenth century all professional musicians had to undergo an apprenticeship of up to 10 years, either with a family member or within a church school or orphanage (conservatoire). The first three years of training involved singing and imparted essential skills in performance, improvisation, and composition. After that, apprentices would specialize in either singing, composing,or playing an instrument. If they chose to play, then they would repeat the entire three years of rudiments upon their instrument (unless they chose the keyboard, which involved a different system called partimento). They learned to create music on the spot. They did not need scores.
In this module, we will undertake the same real lessons of an eighteenth-century apprentice, both sung and played. Students should expect to participate in improvisations and sing or play in class. By the end students will be able to read 84 different staves fluently (7 clefs multiplied by 12 key signatures), improvise a stylish and correct melodic composition instantaneously, and perform scores in a novel yet historically authentic way.
Music and Environmentalism - Research Seminar
How does music reflect our changing relationship with nature, and how can musicians and musicologists make meaningful contributions to debates on environmentalism and climate change?
We will explore ways of making and writing about music that can work towards positive environmental change. Students will be introduced to the latest developments in the field of ecomusicology, which examines the relationship between music, culture and nature.
We will analyse music and sound-based examples from a wide variety of genres and styles that include commentary on environmental topics and critically debate readings that sit at the intersection of musicology, environmental anthropology and ecocriticism.
Drawing on these analyses and readings, students will carry out independent research on a topic of their own choice. Potential areas of research include but are not limited to:
- sound art
- acoustic ecology
- critical analysis of protest music
- music in the age of the anthropocene
- related areas of applied musicology.
The Hollywood Musical
This module surveys the development of the Hollywood musical from the invention of “talkies”to the present day.
Through a series of case study films ranging from The Jazz Singer (1927) to The Greatest Showman (2017), it considers the specific issues associated with staging a musical in screen.
Topics will include:
- theatricality and “backstage narratives”
- star casting
- dance on screen
- the role of animation in developing the form.
In this course, students will compose a portfolio of original electro-acoustic compositions for soloist and electronics that will be performed towards the conclusion of the module. The course will cover a range of contemporary music in the creation of a series of etudes in compositional areas that will encourage the development of current practice and an understanding of electroacoustic compositional ideas and related performance practice. It will establish a thorough technical base for future compositional output in a wide range of areas within fixed and live electroacoustic music that includes aspects synthesis, sampling, and computer music. The final submission will be judged on both technical merit and creativity. The goal of the module is for each student to develop a body of work expressive of their individual creative voice.
Music and Health
This module will address issues relevant for professional performing musicians including:
- injury prevention and treatment
- integrative medicinal approaches.
We will explore research on topics such as:
- healthy movement for musicians (including Tai Chi / Qi Gongand Yoga)
- therapeutic approaches such as physiotherapy and Alexander Technique
- the latest directions in working with performance anxiety and stage fright such as visualisation, mindfulness and “smart practice” methods as well as time and stress management.
Seminars will introduce readings on these topics supplemented by occasional guest lectures and practical activities, discussion and student presentations.
Approaches to Popular Music
The 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. More broadly, it aims (i) to give students a sense of the richness and diversity of the theoretical approaches to popular music of the Anglophone world, while exploring common links and themes; (ii) to ask fundamental questions about the social location of popular musics and their role in forming and responding to social practices; and (iii) to explore, where appropriate, connections with other cultural traditions and artistic media.
Composing for Words, Theatre and Moving Image
This module will introduce students to approaches to composing music that responds to and interacts with work by non-musical artists. Students will compose choral works on poetic texts and scores for short films.
Race and Music Theatre
This module interrogates the role of race in “music as drama”.
Using examples from:
- opera (Aida and Madama Butterfly)
- musical theatre (Kiss Me, Kate, Hamilton, The Lion King)
- plays with music (Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s Emilia)
it explores critical race theory as it relates to representation, agency, and identity.
Analysing Early Music
This module introduces students to the analysis of European music to circa 1700, from the Ancient Greeks to the beginnings of the Baroque.
With the help of the latest scholarly conversations our classes will consider the challenges and possibilities of assessing style, structure and meaning in pre-modern musical repertories.
In particular, we will be thinking about:
- musical traditions built upon different systems of pitch, tonality and rhythm
- repertories that are partially notated, improvised or inherently variable in their transmission
- the relationship between repertories and the writings of contemporary theorists
- whether or not analysis can disclose musical meanings (hermeneutics).
Although Western Europe is our focus, the issues encountered in this course also readily pertain to popular repertories, and to musical cultures worldwide.
The Social Life of Scores
This module looks at musical scores as material (or virtual) objects, from the earliest medieval songbooks to IMSLP and the PDF, via five centuries of music printing.
With attention to objects in the Nottingham library collections, as well as famous items online and in facsimile, we will be asking what do scores tell us about their makers, their owners and their users?
Classes will think about matters including literacy, musical interpretation and cultural memory, as well as intersections between music books and race, gender, power and social class.