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Semester 1

Music and its Instruments (MUSI10095)







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Visiting students' eligibility for this 3rd year Music course (including any required Music background) will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. **Spaces on Music courses are limited in 2022/23, and so enrolment cannot be guaranteed for any visiting student**

Course Summary

Musical instruments are central to all kinds of music. They are positioned at the intersection between the physical world (materials, physics, technology), the musical world (style, timbre, ensemble) and the human world (ergonomics, culture, economics). This course focuses on the musical context of instruments and the interactions between composers, performers and musical instrument makers. We can use musical instruments as indicators of musical thought processes, technological changes, and the structure of the music business in its many forms. Students will be introduced to concepts relating to how instruments are designed and made; how we can look at and think about them; how different musical cultures are mutually influential (constructively or destructively); the gendering of music and its instruments; and how external influences can impact on the adoption of certain instruments and their repertoire. This course requires no prior knowledge of music theory or notation and no previous knowledge of musical instruments.

Course Description

Musical instruments are central to all musical activities in that they shape and are shaped by negotiations between makers, performers and composers. This course encourages students to consider what musical instruments are and how they fit into, and move between, musical contexts. It is designed as a new approach to teaching using the University's Musical Instrument Collection. The Course addresses general themes by means of case studies of each concept. An indicative list of concepts explored in the course, with each addressed by means of case studies involving instruments from the University's Musical Instrument Collection, might include: **1. Introduction: what are musical instruments and how can we think about them, look at them, study them, use them and find out about them? Including terminology, cataloguing, collections and issues of conservation/preservation/playing; **2. The interaction between performers, composers and musical instrument makers, including new ideas (patents), alterations and the concept of 'evolution'; **3. How the construction of instrument impacts on what musicians and composers do, including ergonomics and basic acoustics; **4. Tradition vs Innovation and their impact on music and instruments - exploring how some makers and musicians are willing to explore new ideas while others prefer to stick to the familiar; negotiating the market place; the entrenchment of the orchestra; **5. Musical instruments and technology: key systems; valves vs slides; barrel organs; tools; **6. Composers and Instruments - the importance of personal connections, marketing and external factors such as the railway network: JS Bach, Wagner, Berlioz, Heckel, Sax; **7. Cultural crossovers, and regional traditions - the violin; the accordion; the sitar; the ud; bagpipes; Catalan oboes; Ugandan xylophones; **8. Gender and musical instruments - organs and organists in 18th-century London, the Koto, the flute; the harp; **9. The early recording and electronic age: Moog, Theremin, Stroh; **10. Creating new instruments - what composers, musicians and instrument makers are doing today using modern technologies. What might happen next?

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 80%, Practical Exam 20%

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All course information obtained from this visiting student course finder should be regarded as provisional. We cannot guarantee that places will be available for any particular course. For more information, please see the visiting student disclaimer:

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