Choral Music: 1000 Years

Subject MUSI20185 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2013:

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

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1 one-hour lecture and 1 one-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours


Any level 1 music subject or permission of the coordinator

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.


Dr Sue Cole


Contact Centre
T: 13 MELB (6352)

Melbourne Conservatorium of Music
VCA and MCM Student Centre

Subject Overview:

This subject will examine a range of different topics relating to choral music, from plainchant to contemporary Australian composition. It will provide an opportunity to examine some of the social, cultural and political forces that have shaped our perceptions of this music, and to study selected examples of the choral repertoire, including large-scale Renaissance works such as Tallis’s 40-part Spem in alium; Bach’s B-minor Mass; the working men’s choirs of the early nineteenth century; choral societies in colonial Melbourne; the role of choirs in the Early Music revival; and recent choral compositions by Elliott Gyger, Eric Whitacre and others.


On successful completion of this subject students should have developed:

  • an increased familiarity with the choral repertoire
  • an increased awareness of the importance of choral music in the history of Western Art Music
  • a deeper understanding of some of the historical and social factors that shaped this repertoire
  • an awareness of some of the performance practice issues pertaining to choral music
  • the ability to think more critically about questions of value in Western Classical music

Two tutorial assignments of 500 words each, due in weeks 3 and 6 respectively (20% - 10% each assignment); 1000 word report on live choral performance (as audience member or performer), due in week 9 (25%); essay of 2000 words, due end of semester (55%).

Prescribed Texts:

A reader will be available via the LMS

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 successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  • engage critically with the relevant scholarly literature
  • identify ways in which the history and traditions of choral music differ from those of operatic and orchestral music
  • think critically about the historical and musical factors that shape our views of choral music
  • demonstrate an understanding of the social functions served by the performance of choral music
  • reflect critically on their own engagement with choral music

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