Music Criticism

Subject MUSI30112 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2011.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: One 2-hour seminar per week
Total Time Commitment: 120 hours
Prerequisites: For breadth students: permission of the coordinator.
Corequisites: N/A
Recommended Background Knowledge: N/A
Non Allowed Subjects: N/A
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.


Faculty of the VCA and Music Student Centre
Tel: +61 3 9685 9419
Fax: +61 3 9685 9358
Subject Overview:

Students will develop the ability to look critically at some of the assumptions underlying the study and practice of music; study writings on the nature and value of musical works; come to understand the historical and social background to the development of professional music criticism; gain insight into the critical process both in academic and journalistic criticism and become aware of the problems involved in the discipline. Topics covered include theoretical and academic writings on music criticism, looking in particular at issues raised by the writings of Joseph Kerman; the history of music criticism, tracing the rise of the professional music critic; journalistic ­criticism and the problems encountered and created by the newspaper music critic.


On completion of this subject, students should have developed:

  • an awareness of the history, theory and practice of music criticism
  • an ability to write in different styles appropriate to different audiences
  • the ability to evaluate and criticise the different ways in which people write about music
  • a critical engagement with the relevant literature in the field

Two 700 word short critical assignments (30%); essay of 2500-3000 words (70%).

Prescribed Texts:

A reading pack will be available for purchase from the Melbourne University Bookshop before the commencement of the 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 developed:

  • a capacity for independent critical thought;

  • high-level cognitive skills an openness to new ideas; and

  • ability and self-confidence to comprehend complex concepts, and to express them lucidly whether orally or in writing.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Music
Diploma in Music (Practical)

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