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Module WXM-3153:
From Dufay to Josquin

Module Facts

Run by School of Music and Performance

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Mr Stephen Rees

Overall aims and purpose

The period between the end of the fourteenth century and the middle of the sixteenth is one of the richest of Western musical history. This module will trace the contemporary changes in musical style, compositional procedure, and composers’ attitudes towards the setting of sacred and secular texts, alongside the growth of independent instrumental music during the period. We will take a broad view of selected repertories (such as the chanson), and examine the compositional output of specific composers as case studies. Perspectives from contemporary theoretical writings and the role of patronage will also be addressed. The music will be studied within its wider cultural and historical context.

Course content

The module will address the following topics from a range of perspectives that will include musical analysis, the transmission of music, performance practice, patronage, and compositional context:

  • The music and careers of selected composers including Dufay, Binchois, Ockeghem, Isaac, Obrecht, and Josquin
  • Compositional procedure including perspectives from contemporary theory
  • Anonymous music and issues of attribution

Assessment Criteria

C- to C+

C- to C+ Work which displays fair knowledge of the subject, with some ability at conceptual thought (albeit inconsistent or otherwise flawed), and a general awareness of issues, with evidence of a generally intellectual approach, with good expression


B- to B+ The work should display a sound grasp of the subject, a good level of conceptual thought, awareness of the main issues, with evidence of intellectual acumen and very good expression.


D- to D+ Work which displays basic, restricted knowledge of the subject with limited ability at conceptual thought, and a limited awareness of issues, but has some evidence of a generally intellectual approach, with fair expression.


Please also see the Explicit Marking Criteria for Musicology:

A- to A** Work which displays a thorough grasp of the subject, with evidence of further study, deeper thought, originality of approach and excellent written skills.

Learning outcomes

  1. On successful completion of the module, students will be able to synthesise a range of concepts within a critical evaluation of the composition, transmission and performance of music composed c.1400–1550.

  2. On successful completion of the module, students will be able to utilise analytical concepts in the discussion of one or more compositions from c.1400–1550.

  3. On successful completion of the module, students will be able to critically evaluate and synthesise scholarly literature about music composed c.1400–1550.

  4. On successful completion of the module, students will be able to demonstrate advanced skills in communication.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight

Essay questions are provided in the module booklet, distributed at the start of the module.


Presentations will be held during the course of the semester on dates agreed with the module tutor. Depending on the class size it may be necessary to hold one or more separate sessions for student presentations.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


Individual consultation on the assessment will be available on demand, up to a total of 1 hour.

Private study

Private study, including lecture preparation (reading, listening, etc.) and assignments. Each week students will be expected to spend at least two hours on assigned (unassessed) preparation tasks.


One two-hour class in each of the eleven teaching weeks in the semester.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • 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.
  • 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.


Resource implications for students


Reading list

Reading lists will be provided as appropriate to the topic studied.

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: