Performance & Context - MUS00052C

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  • Department: Music
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Catherine Laws
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2018-19
    • See module specification for other years: 2017-18

Module summary

This module examines the relationship between what we do in a musical performance and the contexts in which performance takes place. Through both practical workshops and lectures/seminars, we explore the functions and sites of historical and contemporary musical performance.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Summer Term 2018-19

Module aims

This project will explore the relationship between what we do in musical performance and the contexts in which performance takes place.

We will examine the function and contexts of performance from a range of historical and contemporary perspectives. This will include the development of the Western concert tradition and its associated rituals, examining how and why particular modes of performance behaviour have arisen. We will also address the relationship between the emergence of the concert tradition and the idea of the autonomous work of music.

Of what musical and cultural use are concert rituals today, whether for composers, performers or audiences? Are they restrictive or liberating? How can we respond creatively to the specifics of context? What role does context play in the mediation of musical meaning, and how can musicians select and/or create performance material that engages with the specifics of space, place and audience?

The project will then look beyond this tradition, examining performance outside the concert hall. How do composers and performers devise and develop work for other sites and spaces, and for different forms of encounter with the public? And what is the impact of new media on modes of performance and relationship to the public? We will examine examples of musical performance developed for other kinds of arts venues (theatres, galleries, museums, libraries, etc), for other community settings, for networked performance, and for the outside environment. For comparative purposes, we will draw on perspectives from other disciplines, using studies in the anthropology of performance and examining selected examples of site-specific art and devised theatre.

The project will comprise practical workshops (focusing on students’ own performance and compositional practices), lectures, seminars (including analysis of recorded materials), and tutorials.

Module learning outcomes

All students, on completion of the module, should have:

  • participated in workshops exploring the relationship between performances and the contexts in which they take place;
  • developed an awareness of the role of space and place in the composition, performance and/or reception of music;
  • demonstrated familiarity with relevant musicological and performance theory;
  • developed the ability to apply theory to selected examples of practice;
  • gained the skills to reflect critically on the issue of context in their own musical practice.

Third years: on completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate learning outcomes A1-7. Students choosing to be assessed through performance should demonstrate learning outcome A8, and through composition A10.

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark Group
Essay/coursework
Seminar
N/A 20 Default
Practical
Essay
N/A 80 Default
Essay/coursework
Seminar
N/A 20 A
Practical
Performance
N/A 80 A

Special assessment rules

None

Additional assessment information

1 (all students): contribution to a joint/group seminar of 15-20 minutes, presented in class and subsequently written up for submission (20%);

2. either an essay (4000 words) on an agreed topic, or (by negotiation) a performance or combination of composition and performance. If the practical option is agreed, the work should be accompanied by documentation analysing the ways in which the practical process is a relevant form of research: how it has addressed questions raised in the project. (80%)

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark Group
Essay/coursework
Seminar
N/A 20 Default
Practical
Essay
N/A 80 Default
Essay/coursework
Seminar
N/A 20 A
Practical
Performance
N/A 80 A

Module feedback

Report form with marks to student no later than 6 weeks from submission of assessment.

Indicative reading

tbc



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.