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Aural Cultures - MUS00097H

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  • Department: Music
  • Module co-ordinator: Mr. Liam Maloney
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2020-21
    • See module specification for other years: 2019-20

Module summary

In this module, you will analyse current debates surrounding sound practices and aural cultures and develop work that responds to key contemporary aesthetic and cultural theories of sound.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2020-21

Module aims

  • To develop an understanding of the current debates surrounding sound practices and the significance and contexts of sound in contemporary culture.
  • To become familiar with a variety of multidisciplinary approaches to studying sound in relationship to how it is created, stored, manipulated, perceived, consumed and experienced.
  • To provide an overview of concepts and terms related to notions of listening and sounding culture.
  • To develop and present work that responds to key contemporary aesthetic and cultural theories of music and sound.
  • To participate in discussion and critical listening sessions within the seminar format.

Module learning outcomes

  • Understand and interpret complex texts and ideas about various aural cultures and sound practices within the context of contemporary culture.
  • Identify different approaches and disciplines whereby sound can be studied and analysed by considering its creation, reproduction, reception and interpretation.
  • Be able to engage conceptually with different cultural theories of listening and the notion of expressing culture through sound.
  • Create and present work that considers aesthetic and cultural aspects of contemporary sound and music practices.
  • Be able to critique work and make informed contributions through listening, writing and discussion.


Task Length % of module mark
Commentary - 750-1000 words
N/A 10
Creative submission
N/A 90

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Assessment will be via creative submission (90%) with commentary (10%). The submission and commentary will relate to an aspect of aural culture covered during the module. Examples could be a piece of sound art, a headphone work for promenade audience, an experimental podcast, a radio work or an environmental sound piece.

Length of submission dependent on specific project and format.


Task Length % of module mark
Commentary - 750-1000 words
N/A 10
Creative submission
N/A 90

Module feedback

Written feedback within 20 days working days of assessment date.

Indicative reading

Licht, Alan. Sound Art Revisited. 2019. New York, NY : Bloomsbury Academic, Bloomsbury Publishing.

LaBelle, Brandon. 2006. Background Noise : Perspectives on Sound Art. New York ; London: Continuum International.

Groth, Sanne Krogh, and Schulze, Holger Editor. 2020. The Bloomsbury Handbook of Sound Art. Bloomsbury Handbooks. London [England] : Bloomsbury Academic.

Voegelin, Salomé. 2013. Listening to Noise and Silence : Towards a Philosophy of Sound Art. London: Bloomsbury.

Voegelin, Salomé. 2014. Sonic Possible Worlds. New York: Bloomsbury Academic & Professional.

Gloag, Kenneth. 2012. Postmodernism in Music. Cambridge Introductions to Music. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.

Bridle, James. 2018. New Dark Age : Technology and the End of the Future. London : Verso.

Peeren, Esther, and Del Pilar Blanco, Maria. 2010. Popular Ghosts. New York: Bloomsbury Academic & Professional.

Fisher, Mark. 2016. The Weird and the Eerie. London : Repeater.

Blackmore, Susan J. 2000. The Meme Machine. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Nancy, Jean-Luc, and Mandell, Charlotte. 2007. Listening. New York: New York : Fordham University Press.

Kassabian, Anahid. 2013. Ubiquitous Listening : Affect, Attention, and Distributed Subjectivity. Berkeley ; London: University of California Press.

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.