Sex, Death and the Ecstatic in Music

Subject MUSI40058 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2015.

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

170 hours


AMEB Grade 5 or equivalent, or permission of the coordinator



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

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 may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Linda Kouvaras

Subject Overview:

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.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a deeper understanding of, and knowledge of contemporary and historical attitudes towards, music that embodies the elements of sex, death, and/or the ecstatic in music;
  • Evaluate and criticise the different ways in which people write about sex, death and the ecstatic in music;
  • Analyse and articulate the workings of sex, death, and/or the ecstatic in music compositions; and
  • Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the aesthetics and historical context of the work presented in class with regard to one or more of the qualities under consideration in this subject.
  • Four (4) short written projects (300 words each) - Weeks 3, 6, 9, 12 (4 x 7.5% each: Total 30%)
  • A class presentation (of 15 mins), which is also submitted in written-up form (of 1,200 words) - Weeks 9 to 12 (30%)
  • A take-home exam essay (of 2,600 words) - End of Semester Exam (40%)
Prescribed Texts:

Select readings, available through Readings Online via LMS.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students should possess:

  • A capacity to make critical, informed and sophisticated responses to new musical ideas, methodologies and theoretical frameworks
  • The ability to engage with new ideas and respond to them in a thoughtful, critical and in-depth way
  • The ability to communicate effectively
  • Knowledge, skills and practices which provide a basis for independent critical inquiry and research-based writing.
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Music (Degree with Honours)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Composition

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