Studies in Musicology 3

Subject MUSI90021 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 1, Parkville - 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

Semester 2, Parkville - 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: 2 hours of classes per week
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: Permission of the subject area coordinator (refer to subject areas for details).
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 course are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Dr Kerry Murphy


VCA and Music Student Centre
234 St Kilda Rd, Southbank

Tel: +61 3 9685 9322
Fax: +61 3 9685 9358

School of Music - Parkville
Conservatorium Building

Tel: +61 3 8344 5256
Fax: +61 3 8344 5346
Email via:

Subject Overview:

A detailed examination of an aspect of Western music history or theory.Available subject areas:

Semester 1, 2010:

Music of the Manuscript Tradition (Coordinator: Professor John Griffiths)

Through studies of selected medieval manuscript sources, students will develop their own understanding of the nature, the role, and the functions of music in selected areas of European society in the 12th to 14th centuries. Students will engage in a directed exploration of the processes of gathering materials and manuscript compilation, the relevant notation and scribal practices, illumination and decoration. Students will also make critical studies of the repertoire contained in each manuscript and its sociocultural context, performance issues, relevant theoretical writings, and contemporary scholarship.

Music Psychology (Coordinator: Dr Katrina McFerran)

This subject will encompass an initial exploration of music psychology research. Selected researchers within the field, including music therapists, behavioural neuroscientists, neuropsychologists, and experimental psychologists will outline recent and current practical research involving music across the lifespan. Information will be provided on the relationship between music and the brain, as well as music and the body. The development of musical skills at different life stages will be outlined, from birth to old age. Each seminar will incorporate didactic teaching paired with class discussion, followed up by weekly on-line quizzes and development of music research concepts.

Sex, Death and the Ecstatic in Music (Coordinator: Dr Linda Kouvaras)

An examination of examples of Western music from Hildegaard to the present, including some twentieth-century “popular” songs, which contain one or all of the themes of sex, death, and the ecstatic in their compositional circumstances, title, pre-compositional intent, or lyrics (if song or aria). Consideration of these works will be viewed through perspectives from key cultural theories of the late-twentieth or early twenty-first century.

Semester 2, 2010:

Broadway and Music of the Theatre (Coordinator: Peter Hurley)

A survey of the range of music theatre from the lighter entertainments to the more ambitious works regarded as Music Theatre, but often staged by opera companies today. The subject starts with the origins of the music theatre in light opera and traces the development through Vaudeville, Revue and Musical Comedy through to mainstream West End and Broadway. This subject examines how these works frequently reflect social and cultural realities of their times.

Composition Studies (Coordinator: Dr Elliott Gyger)

This subject introduces students without previous composition tuition to strategies for thinking about and constructing original music. Students will write chamber music based on instruments available within the class. The subject will be divided into three 4-week modules, each beginning with a process of sketching and culminating in a short completed project to be performed in class.

Music and Health (Coordinator: Dr Katrina McFerran)

This subject will provide an overview of the ways that music can be used to promote physical health and healthy behaviours for a range of people, including musicians. Topics covered will include music for expression, relaxation, anxiety reduction and communication. Students will be involved in experiential activities underpinned by theoretical knowledge. They will also contribute to weekly web-based discussion that furthers understanding of topics covered in class.

Stravinsky and Music of the 20th Century (Coordinator: Dr Michael Christoforidis)

Students will develop an understanding of the music of Igor Stravinsky and be able to relate it to the composer's creative process and the broader cultural context. The impact of Stravinsky’s music will also be explored through the study of selected works by other 20th-century composers. Topics covered will include a study of Stravinsky's output in relation to nationalism, impressionism, neoclassicism, collage and serial techniques, minimalist structures and scenic considerations.

Studies in Opera (Coordinator: Associate Professor Kerry Murphy)

The subject is not an introduction to opera but aims to stimulate those who are already interested in the genre. It examines issues that relate to the interdisciplinary nature of opera (such as the importance of the text and staging) alongside a study of selected works from the operatic genre with particular emphasis on their social and historical significance. This subject encourages you to think about the future of the genre and also its role in Australia at the present time.


On completion of this subject, students should have developed:

  • High-level cognitive skills;
  • A critical knowledge of the literature, and;
  • A capacity for independent critical thought.
Assessment: Written work totalling 5,000 words (80%); A 20-minute class presentation (20%).
Prescribed Texts: None.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Related Course(s): Master of Music (Music Performance)
Master of Music (Musicology/Ethnomusicology)
Master of Music Studies by Coursework(Composition)
Master of Music Studies by Coursework(Musicology/Ethnomusicology)

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