Art of Gesture for Singers and Actors

Subject 740-188 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 1 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 1, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

On campus

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1 two-hour seminar per week
Total Time Commitment: 120 hours
Prerequisites: Offered as breadth with prerequisites: completion of first year studies in Music or Drama or permission of the coordinator. A quota may apply.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability will impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Prof John Griffiths
Subject Overview:

Students undertaking this subject will be introduced to the history of Gesture from its formal beginnings in Classical Antiquity to its rediscovery by renaissance scholars and subsequent use in 17th- and 18th-century European theatre and society. Gesture, as revealed in classical sculpture and European art (1600–1800), will be part of this study. Considerable attention will be given to Gesture techniques and their practical application to present-day performances of sung or spoken works from any period. The course will include lectures, practical work and a master class.


On completion of this subject students should have gained:

  • an understanding of the historical and philosophical background to Gesture, its nature and its role in enhancing performance
  • mastery of a range of Gesture techniques, studied the portrayal of passions and acquired basic knowledge of Gesture notation
  • advanced skills in the analysis of texts and music
  • the ability to prepare Gesture for future presentations in a variety of languages
  • an emerging fluency in the application of Gesture to performance.
Assessment: 20-minute practical examination in the application of gesture techniques to two selected works to be performed at the end of semester (50%); 1500-word written assignment due at the end of semester (20%); participation in classes throughout the semester (20%). Gesture in European Art portfolio to be submitted at the end of semester (10%)
Prescribed Texts: A reading pack will be available for purchase from the Melbourne University Bookshop before the start of semester.
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: On completion of this subject students should have acquired:
  • skills in the basic tools of gesture and, through the interpretation of text and music, an awareness of how, when and where to use them
  • a capacity for independent critical thought and an openness to new ideas and further research.
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts & Bachelor of Music
Bachelor of Music
Bachelor of Music
Diploma in Music (Practical)
Graduate Certificate in Music (Practical Music)
Graduate Diploma in Music (Composition)
Graduate Diploma in Music (Practical Music)
Postgraduate Certificate in Music (Practical Music)
Postgraduate Diploma in Music (Composition)
Postgraduate Diploma in Music (Early Music)
Postgraduate Diploma in Music (Instrumental/Vocal Teaching)
Postgraduate Diploma in Music (Performance)

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