Module WXM-3205:
Notation and Editing

Module Facts

Run by School of Music and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr John Cunningham

Overall aims and purpose

  • to advance the student's knowledge and understanding historical systems used for the notation of music
  • to provide the students with an understanding of different types of sources and the skill to judge their validity and reliability
  • to understand the pragmatic and conceptual differences between original notation of different periods and functions and a modern performing score
  • to enable them to effect a translation from one into the other
  • to provide them with the practical skill of using music notation software to prepare such scores

Course content

Cap: This module is limited to 15 places (across years 2 and 3).

Students taking the course will transcribe and edit a variety of music, some vocal and some instrumental from the 17th to the 19th centuries, from reproductions of original sources. Some sources will be in score and others in parts; some will be manuscript and some printed. Certain pieces of work will involve a single source; others will require the collation and appraisal of more than one source, with variant readings tabulated and conclusions drawn about the relationship of the sources. The module is designed to give students a comprehensive introduction to the fundamental principles of editorial musicology. ‘Editing’ covers techniques and approaches of critical editing and philology, which will enable you to produce a scholarly edition with all the standard ingredients. Case studies for this part of the module are taken mainly from the so-called ‘common practice era’. The ‘notation’ aspect will cover aspects such as tablature and coloration. Additional tutorials in using Sibelius will be provided if required. In semester 1 there will be a weekly lecture and a seminar. In semester 2 you will work largely independently (under supervision) on an editorial project (see schedule below). Please note: this module only deals with repertoire from after c.1600. It will cover instrumental and vocal music.

Assessment Criteria

threshold

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

good

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 good expression.

excellent

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. have developed a good understanding of the main different types of musical sources created between the 17th and mid-19th centuries.
    1. have gained critical awareness of different editorial methodologies and their conventions;
    1. be able to transcribe (and transliterate) accurately complete compositions or sections of compositions and be able to identify and eliminate errors, to reconcile variants, and to lay out music in an appropriate modern score format (commensurate with Level 6);
    1. be able to prepare a comprehensive critical commentary, editorial principles, source description and introduction as appropriate to a modern scholarly edition (commensurate with Level 6);
    1. have honed skills in independent thinking and enquiry.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
COURSEWORK Coursework 1

You will be given two sources for a short piece or an extract from a longer work (approx. 20 bars). Your task will involve the following main components: (1) identify a copy-text; (2) provide an accurate transcription; (3) compare the sources for variants, which are then to be listed in a given format (Critical Commentary).

10
COURSEWORK Coursework 2

Task 1: You will be asked to identify errors (typically 4 or 5) in a given extract (usually 6–8 bars) and suggest editorial interventions that would correct them.
Task 2: You will be given two sources for a short piece or an extract from a longer work (approx. 30 bars). Your task will involve the following main components: (1) identify a copy-text; (2) provide an accurate transcription; (3) compare all sources for variants, which are then to be listed in a given format (Critical Commentary); (4) provide a brief description of the sources and comment on their relationships.

10
COURSEWORK Coursework 3

Task 1: You will be asked to identify errors (typically 4 or 5) in a given extract (usually 6–8 bars) and suggest editorial interventions that would correct them.
Task 2: You will be given three or four sources for a short piece or an extract from a longer work (approx. 30 bars). Your task will involve the following main components: (1) identify a copy-text; (2) provide an accurate transcription; (3) provide a set of Editorial Principles; (4) compare all sources for variants, which are then to be listed in a given format (Critical Commentary); (5) make any necessary editorial interventions; (6) provide a brief description of the sources and comment on their relationships, using a stemmatic diagram as appropriate.

30
Written assignment, including essay Mini-edition project

In semester 2 you will prepare a mini-edition of approx. 100 bars* comprising one or more short pieces (e.g. solo songs), a self-standing short work, or an extract from a longer work (e.g. one or more movements from a multi-movement work or a section from a movement). Your edition will include a brief introduction, source description(s), editorial principles and a critical commentary. You must use a software programme such as Sibelius for the submitted work. In preparation for the edition you must submit a brief proposal (not assessed) by week 3 of semester 2. You will receive guidance and assistance where necessary in finding sources.

Please note that the bar count is subject to variation depending on the complexity of the editorial challenge, based on the following criteria: 1. the number of voices, e.g. a complex orchestral score vs a work for solo instrument/voice; 2. the relative difficulty of transcription, e.g. the processing of a printed score, which already corresponds to ‘modern’ standards, vs the transcription from parts into score and/from different forms of notation (modal/mensural notation, tablature); 3. the number of sources, e.g. two nearly identical sources vs an array of sources with a multitude of variants; 4. the extent of the accompanying prose sections, e.g. a ‘shorter’ edition can be compensated by a more detailed codicological, palaeographical or stylistic study.

You will be required to submit a 200-word proposal by the third week of semester 2; this will not be assessed but failure to submit is likely to have a negative impact on your grade due to poor planning.

50

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Private study

It is intended that the bulk of this time will be spent working on the mini-edition project in semester 2.

160
Supervised time in studio/workshop

Three ‘Project surgeries’ up to a total of 6 hours, in allocated weeks in semester 2.

6
Lecture

In semester 1 there will be 11 weekly classes consisting of a lecture (50 minutes), and a seminar with hands-on exercises (50 minutes) or individual consultations. In semester 2 there will be five lectures (50 minutes each) and four seminars; these will be held in weeks 1–5. In the remaining weeks, there will be a mixture of individual tutorials and ‘Project surgeries’. The surgery sessions are drop-in consultations for individuals and small groups to discuss aspects of the project, their length will be determined by the number of students who take the module.

16
Seminar

In semester 1 there will be 11 weekly classes consisting of a lecture (50 minutes), and a seminar with hands-on exercises (50 minutes) or individual consultations. In semester 2 there will be five lectures (50 minutes each) and four seminars; these will be held in weeks 1–5. In the remaining weeks, there will be a mixture of individual tutorials and ‘Project surgeries’. The surgery sessions are drop-in consultations for individuals and small groups to discuss aspects of the project, their length will be determined by the number of students who take the module.

15
Tutorial

there will be five individual tutorial sessions over the two semesters, totalling 3 hours.

3

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.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • 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
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

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)

Resources

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: