This project will provide an introduction to a number of central issues in the study of recent (mainly post-1980s) Western art music. We will be studying pieces about which there is little or no pre-existing academic literature; students will therefore be encouraged to create fresh interpretations, through a combination of thoughtful listening and an awareness of the broader streams of thought which inform this repertoire. We’ll use a number of case study pieces and composers as a lens to explore issues which recur frequently within this period – issues such as complexity and simplicity, the nature of sound, the status of the past, and the role of new music (and new art in general) within society.
The project will be taught through a combination of lectures, group discussions and practical exercises. The emphasis throughout will be on active participation. Students will have the opportunity to engage with analysis, issues of philosophy and aesthetics, composition and performance.
This project will be assessed by a combination of coursework, seminar presentation and essay. The coursework will consist of three exercises undertaken during the project weeks. Towards the end of the project, each student will present an assessed seminar of around 20 minutes based upon a specific piece of music agreed in tutorial. This seminar will then be reworked into a 2,500-word essay in time for the final submission deadline. The weighting is as follows:
We’ll cover a wide variety of pieces, and will listen to excerpts of many of these during project sessions. The following are a good start for your own preparatory listening:
There is a bigger list, with links to Spotify and/or YouTube versions of recordings, at http://hutchies.host-ed.me/works.html
Dip into one or more of the following general introductions to contemporary music:
Have a look too at some of the composer interviews in the following collections:
It’s also really worth having a look at the following blogs:
A fuller reading list will be given out during the project.
By the end of the taught part of this module, all students should:
On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes A1-7 & A9.