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Module WXM-2011:
Musicology Year 2

Module Facts

Run by School of Music, Drama and Performance

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Prof Chris Collins

Overall aims and purpose

  • To develop enhanced skills in thinking and writing about music and music history.
  • To deepen awareness of the conventions and contexts of academic research and writing.
  • To develop skills in research and knowledge-acquisition.
  • To develop the student’s knowledge and understanding of a specific musicological topic of their choice.
  • To prepare students for the demands of the Year 3 Dissertation (WXM3277).

Course content

Research is a fundamental academic skill, and so too is the ability to effectively communicate the results of that research in writing. On this module, students undertake research into a musical topic of their own choice, and write up their findings in the form of a short dissertation of around 4500-5000 words. At the same time, the module introduces students to some of the conventions and methods of musicological research and presentation, through the study of various examples of academic writing. Moreover, students will continue to develop study skills taught in The Study of Music, including bibliographical skills, skills of independent thinking, and problem-solving skills.

The module will prepare students for undertaking a Dissertation in Year 3, and may also be useful to students considering undertaking an Editing Project in Year 3.

Assessment Criteria


Work which displays basic, restricted knowledge of the chosen subject, with simple ability at conceptual thought and evaluation, and a limited awareness of issues, but has some evidence of a generally intellectual approach, with fair expression


The work should display a sound grasp of the chosen subject, a good level of conceptual thought and evaluation, good awareness of the main issues, with evidence of intellectual acumen and good expression


Work which displays a thorough grasp of the chosen subject, with evidence of deeper study, higher levels of intellectual thinking, originality of approach and excellent written skills

Learning outcomes

  1. On completion of the module, the student should be able to research music and music history in an informed, well-structured and methodologically-conscious fashion.

  2. On completion of the module, the student should be able to devise and plan a research project.

  3. On completion of the module, the student should be able to employ the conventions of academic writing on music.

  4. On completion of the module, the student should be able to apply skills in bibliography and information searching.

  5. On completion of the module, the student should be able to communicate independent findings arising from research into a musicological topic of their own choice.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Bibliography 15
Project Plan 15
Short dissertation 70

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study 178

Nine seminars of two hours' duration.


Individual supervision as required, up to a total of 4 hours.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Musicianship skills – recognition, classification, contextualisation, reconstruction, exploration
  • Intellectual skills specific to Music – contextual knowledge, cultural awareness, critical understanding, repertoire knowledge, curiosity, analytical demonstration
  • Technological skills – digital capture, digital expression, digital innovation
  • Intellectual skills shared with other disciplines – research and exploration, reasoning and logic, understanding, critical judgement, assimilation and application
  • Skills of communication and interaction – oral and written communication, public presentation, team-working and collaboration, awareness of professional protocols, sensitivity, ICT skills, etc.
  • Skills of personal management – self-motivation, self-critical awareness, independence, entrepreneurship and employment skills, time management and reliability, organisation, etc.
  • Enhanced powers of imagination and creativity (4.17)


Resource implications for students


Talis Reading list

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: