Choral Music: 1000 Years (Honours)

Subject MUSI40085 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

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

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1 one-hour lecture and 1 one-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours

Prerequisites: None
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.


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 3000 words, due end of semester (55%).

Prescribed Texts:

A reader will be available via the LMS

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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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