Practical Musicology Project
Notation and Editing Project 2024-25
School of Arts, Culture And Language
Module - Semester 1 & 2
This module allows students to design and deliver a critical edition or a portfolio of critical editions, suitable for publication or for performance.
Working with a supervisor, you will identify music to be edited (typically works from 1600 onwards) and then work closely with the sources to produce a critical edition. In group seminars you will discuss general editorial challenges, such as copyright etc. Throughout you will be supported and advised by a supervisor in tutorials.
You will be able to bring to life a neglected masterpiece, with a view to possibly getting it performed; many students go on to publish their work.
You will learn a range of skills such as: project management; attention to detail; problem-solving; research.
There are three assessments. In semester 1 you will submit a short blog post about your work. In the January assessment period you will deliver a work-in-progress presentation on your project. Finally ahead of the summer assessment period you will submit your edition.
Participants of this module will prepare a critical edition of a suitable work from original sources or photographic reproductions of such sources. The work concerned will be selected by the candidate in consultation with the module coordinator, preferably by the start of the preceding summer. The length of the work will depend upon various factors, including scoring, the number and complexity of sources, and the extent and degree of editorial intervention the materials demand; but in every instance full editorial apparatus will be required, including a detailed textual commentary. The edition should show awareness of previous editions of relevant music, but also demonstrate a capacity for solving specific editorial problems. Credit will be given for the quality of presentation as well as of editorial work.
The project will be accompanied by seminars on the research, bibliography and methodology skills required for preparing the edition.
First Class: A+ to A** (84–100%) Work of this calibre will display all qualities of First Class work to an exceptional degree. An edition at this level will essentially be publishable as it stands. The work will be flawless or near flawless in all technical aspects (transcription, notation, typesetting, presentation, critical apparatus) and will show a high level of research, initiative and (where appropriate) originality in discussing the sources and their relationship, demonstrating a good knowledge of relevant philological issues. All issues arising from conflicting readings or illegible passages will be resolved convincingly and imaginatively.
First Class: A- and A (70–83%) The distinguishing quality is the accomplished presentation of a musical text and critical apparatus based on a full understanding and a convincing as well as intelligent evaluation of the sources. The work will contain only minor errors in all technical aspects (transcription, notation, typesetting, presentation, critical apparatus) and will show research, initiative and (where appropriate) originality in discussing the sources and their relationship, demonstrating a good knowledge of relevant philological issues. Most issues arising from conflicting readings or illegible passages will be resolved convincingly.
Upper Second Class: B- to B+ (60–9%) The distinguishing quality is the fully satisfactory presentation of a musical text, based on a highly accurate transcription accompanied by a comprehensive critical apparatus and description of the sources. The work will convey a good understanding of the sources and their relationship, comprehensively argued and well presented. The musical text and the critical apparatus contain a limited number of minor/major errors and/or omissions, typically occasional and localised. Work at this grade may contain many of the same qualities which apply First Class work; however, the work may be outstanding in one category, yet deficient in another.
Lower Second Class: C- to C+ (50–9%) The main quality which warrants marks in this category is the adequate presentation of a musical text, based on a complete transcription of the sources accompanied by a competent critical apparatus and description of the sources. Qualities which limit the mark to this level are: flaws in the transcription of the sources and their typesetting/presentation, which are more than occasional and/or not localised; major errors/omissions that indicate lack of comprehension of basic editorial methodologies; shortcomings in the description, comparison and evaluation of the sources; lack of argument or lacunae in the critical apparatus/list and evaluation of variants; omission of variants/errors in the critical commentary.
Third Class: D- to D+ (40–9%) The crucial achievement is demonstration of a basic grasp of technical/notational skills and the rules of source philology. However, the mark will be limited to this level by such things as: frequent shortcomings in the transcription of the musical notation; consistent/frequent flaws in the typesetting and presentation of the musical text; a number of major errors/omissions that indicate lack of comprehension of basic editorial methodologies; failure to properly address the relationship of the sources; inadequately reasoned editorial decisions; inconsistent, incomplete or inadequate description of sources; poorly presented and/or largely incomplete critical apparatus/list of variants.
- Assess complex editorial challenges and find appropriate solutions (including reconstruction, if appropriate to the project)
- Communicate ideas in writing or orally accurately and convincingly
- Critically evaluate modern editorial methodologies
- Demonstrate enhanced skills in the search for, and the use of, primary and secondary scholarly material
- Design and apply a sophisticated editorial method, based on current practices, appropriate to their editorial project
- Summarise key information and present it in a coherent manner
Critical edition. The student chooses the project in consultation with the module coordinator. Note that the exact parameters of the edition vary depending on the complexity of the editorial task: the module coordinator will advise; the following is purely indicative. A critical edition from at least two sources, typically up to around 300 bars of orchestral scoring and average complexity; a short prose introduction including source descriptions etc. (typically up to c.1000 words); critical commentary.
Presentation delivered during the semester 1 assessment period.
Blog entry on chosen project in the style of AR Editions' Underscore blog.