MA in Music (by research): Improvised Music and Jazz

Research area: Improvised Music and Jazz

Further information on submitting a proposal for the MA by Research inContemporary Studies is available from Dr Jonathan Eato: jonathan.eato@york.ac.uk

The MA by Research in Improvised Music and Jazz welcomes applicants who wish to pursue a programme of research focussing on the application, or study, of musical processes that prioritise improvisation. As this is a research degree applicants should be able to demonstrate a secure understanding of an improvised practice that is relevant to their chosen area of interest. This understanding can be theoretical or practical and it is important to note that both are equally valued. Interdisciplinary research proposals are also encouraged (whether they be cross art form - e.g. dance and music - or seekto connect distinct musical practices in interesting ways).

The University of York archives hold a range of material directly relevant to research in jazz and improvised music, including the J. R.T. Davies collection of pre-1950s jazz (mainly on 78rpm disk) and the ECMRecords collection. The programme is also directly supported by individual coaching and workshops from members of the Julian Argüelles Octet and other visiting musicians. The University Jazz Orchestra is a key resource for practical work (performance and composition), as well as the recording andrehearsal facilities of the mrc.

About our MA in Music (by research)

Overview

Next steps

The MA in Music by Research offers postgraduate opportunities to individuals who prefer to study independently rather than through classroom teaching, working under the close supervision of an expert in their field. This is a research degree, not a taught course programme, and applicants will need to have a clearly-focussed research proposal in their given area in order to be considered for admission to the research MA. Supervision and tutorial meetings are held on either a weekly or fortnightly basis throughout the academic year and by arrangement over the summer vacation. There is also an opportunity for all MA by Research students to interact with one another: the MA Research Forum. Meeting on Wednesday mornings, this is a discussion group that engages with common themes, such as issues of writing about music, while offering the opportunity for individual students to present aspects of their research topics to the larger group.  Students are also encouraged to attend the weekly Research Seminar series (on Wednesday afternoons) where invited speakers, staff members and PhD students give presentations about their latest work, and there are opportunities to meet other postgraduate researchers.

Degree structure

The MA in Music by Research lasts one year for full-time study or two years for part-time study. Candidates may elect to apply to the MPhil/PhD programme subject to satisfactory completion of the MA by Research, though progression is not automatic. The submission of a final dissertation or portfolio of work is the product of a series of carefully-structured elements produced throughout the duration of the programme in conjunction with supervisory guidance.

Submission options

The following submission alternatives are available for MA by Research candidates. All are subject to supervisory agreement:

  • Submission by dissertation: A dissertation of between 30,000 and 40,000 words investigating the candidate's registered topic, accompanied by a comprehensive resource list of relevant materials (including scores, analyses, published texts such as articles, books and concert ephemera, internet and audio-visual resources, etc.). It is expected that candidates in musicology, ethnomusicology or analysis will normally follow this route, but it is not exclusively limited to these subjects.
  • Submission by portfolio of compositions: A portfolio of between 3 and 5 compositions for any instrument, voice, ensemble, audio media or multi-media, as agreed with the candidate's supervisor and presented to a professional standard. Each composition will be supported by appropriate commentary of around 2,500 words, discussing the work, the process of composition and related details that situate the composition in a research context; a resource list of relevant materials (including scores, analyses, published texts such as articles, books and concert ephemera, internet and audio-visual resources, etc.) will also be included. If the candidate has conducted substantial research that is not evident in the portfolio, the documentation may be longer.
  • Submission by portfolio of performance projects: A portfolio normally containing up to 3 discrete performance projects, fully documented through video/audio recordings. Each project will be supported by appropriate commentary of around 2,500 words, discussing the performance and its preparation and situating the project in a research context; a resource list of relevant materials (including scores, analyses, published texts such as articles, books and concert ephemera, internet and audio-visual resources, etc.) will also be included. If the candidate has conducted substantial research that is not evident in the portfolio, the documentation may be longer.

Application process

Please include as part of your application a research proposal detailing your proposed topic and how you plan to investigate it. This should include a paragraph explaining the relevance of your research or professional experience to date and another explaining why you think your work has the potential to make a new contribution to your field of interest. In addition, please include a selective resource list (maximum length: one page) of significant items (e.g. scores, analyses, published texts such as articles, books and concert ephemera, internet and audio-visual resources, etc.) that you have consulted in exploring your topic and preparing your proposal.

The Department will assist you in matching your research interests to our supervisory expertise. Please note that acceptance into the MA by Research programme requires approval by your potential supervisor.