Art Music and Postmodernism

Subject MUSI40072 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2012.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1 two-hour seminar per week
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours


Offered as breadth with prerequisites: 740-289 Music since the French Revolution, or permission of the coordinator.



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


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.


Contact Centre
T: 13 MELB (6352)

Melbourne Conservatorium of Music
VCA and Music Student Centre


Subject Overview:

This subject will focus primarily on art-music written since 1968 and the trends in composition leading up to this watershed period when a widespread compositional shift occurred as significant numbers of composers generally began to question seriously many modernist ideals and techniques. This resulted in the current pluralistic approach to music composition, where such elements occur as the breakdown of barriers between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture; gender issues; quotation and pastiche; cultural hybrids; and the rise of Neo-movements such as Neo-Tonality, Neo-Romanticism, Neo-Nationalism, Minimalism, and Sound Art—along with the ‘postmodern backlash’ to be found in such styles as New Complexism. We will also engage with the New Musicology, where postmodern filters are deployed not only to contemporary music but also to classical and early twentieth-century music.


On completion of this subject students should have developed:
• an understanding of western art-musical styles since 1968 and their social, cultural and intellectual contexts;
• an ability to undertake scholarly work using bibliographic tools and discussion/analysis of primary sources.


Four short assignments due throughout the semester of 400 words each (5% each); mid-semester written-up class presentation of 1200 words (40%); one take-home examination essay of 2000 words (40%) due during the examination period

Prescribed Texts:

A reading pack will be available for purchase from the Bookroom before the commencement of the semester.

Recommended Texts:


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
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Composition

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