Module WXM-2012:
Music Revivals

Module Facts

Run by School of Music and Media

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Mr Stephen Rees

Overall aims and purpose

Music in the West – both classical and folk – has periodically turned to its own past in order to enhance its present and develop its future. In that process, the past has frequently been creatively re-imagined in many ways. This module explores selected instances of music revival via a series of case studies. The first revival to be studied is the ‘Bach Revival’ of the nineteenth century, spearheaded by the composer Felix Mendelssohn. In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, we will examine the contemporary Early Music Revival form the 1970s onwards; and instances of traditional music revivals within differing national and ideological contexts including the British Isles, North America and the ‘Celtic’ nations. The final topic area will examine contrasting preservationist and modernist ideologies with the field of jazz. All of the case studies will draw on current scholarship in ethnography and musicology, and will focus on ideological motivations for revival (such as cultural and political nationalisms), and on the different ways in which music is inevitably transformed as it undergoes revival.

Course content

  1. A number of selected case studies of music revival in the will form the basis of the module.
  2. The music revivals studied will be drawn from classical, folk, and popular traditions.
  3. Each revival will be examined in its historical and cultural context.
  4. Current critical and theoretical perspectives on the issues of music revival will be presented and discussed.
  5. Issues of cultural nationalism, contrasting preservationist and modernist ideologies, and the inevitable nature of transformation inherent in music revival will be examined in detail, as well as the impact of these on the music itself.

Assessment Criteria


A-: Demonstrate an ability to critically analyse current theoretical and musicological perspectives on the nature and essence of music revivals


B+-C-: Demonstrate a reasonably sophisticated understanding of current musicological and theoretical perspectives concerning music revivals and their attendant ideologies.


D-: Demonstrate a basic understanding of current musicological and theoretical perspectives concerning music revivals and their attendant ideologies.

Learning outcomes

  1. Think critically about issues of canon-formation in written, unwritten and hybrid musical traditions.

  2. Appreciate the nature of differing and contrasting ideologies – both explicit and implicit – within the motivations behind musical revival.

  3. Utilise appropriate and relevant critical terminology when discussing revivals in different musical genres.

  4. Be able to provide an overview of the historical and sociological contexts of selected music revival case studies.

  5. Demonstrate understanding of the importance of revivals within Western music.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight

Individual student presentation (25%) of 6-8 minutes in length, including any music examples.

ESSAY Final assignment (essay)

Essay of 3000 words.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


11 weekly classes of 2 hours each, including a variety of different teaching and learning strategies. These will include (but not be limited to) formal lectures, student presentations, directed seminars, and some audio-visual sessions (videos, audio, etc.)

Private study

Directed reading, own research, preparatory work for presentation and essay. To include two individual tutorials in preparation for student presentation (15 minutes each).


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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

  • Intellectual skills specific to Music – contextual knowledge, cultural awareness, critical understanding, repertoire knowledge, curiosity, analytical demonstration
  • 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)


Reading list

• Bithell, Caroline, and Juniper Hill (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Music Revival (Oxford, 2014) (Available as an e-book via Bangor University Library)

• Brocken, Michael, The British Folk Revival, 1944-2002 (Aldershot, 2003)

• Goertzen, Chris, Fiddling for Norway: Revival and Identity (Chicago, 1997)

• Harker, Dave, Fakesong: The Manufacture of British Folk Song, 1700 to the Present Day (Milton Keynes, 1985)

• Haskell, Harry, The Early Music Revival: A History (London, 1988)

• Kaminsky, Dan, Swedish Folk Music in the Twenty-First Century: On the Nature of Tradition in a Folkless Nation (Lanham MD, 2011)

• Leech-Wilkinson, Daniel, The Modern Invention of Medieval Music: Scholarship, Ideology, Performance (Cambridge, 2007)

• Marsalis, Wynton, & Geoffrey Ward, Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life (London, 2008)

• Ramnarine, Tina K., Ilmatar’s Inspirations: Nationalism, Globalization, and the Changing Soundscapes of Finnish Folk Music (Chicago, 2003)

• Sweers, Britta, Electric Folk - Revival and Transformation of English Traditional Music (Oxford 2004)

• Taruskin, Richard, Text and Act: Essays on Music and Performance (Oxford, 1995)

• Wilson, Wilson, The Art of Re-enchantment: Making Early Music in the Modern Age (Oxford, 2013)

• Winter, Trish, and Simon Keegan-Phipps, Performing Englishness: Identity and Politics in a Contemporary Folk Resurgence (Manchester, 2014)

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: