MUSV1031 - Historical Perspectives on Music, Culture and Society


New from the academic year 2020/2021

Course content

What is music history? Is music history shaped by composers and scores, or by the cultural conditions which demanded and/or enabled musical performances? Why are there so few women composers in history books? Which roles and functions did music play in people’s lives? Is music history relevant to today’s music performance? Why do we study music history? This course will engage students with these and other questions and provide an introduction to central characteristics of music development and role in Western culture. The course is articulated through two main components: (a) a series of case studies presented in class, which allow in-depth study of one topic from various perspectives (analytical, historical, performance practice and present day relevance) and encourage references and connections across time and genres, as well as (b) a general review of music history and selected repertory. The latter part is to be carried out by the students independently; it is supported by a textbook and anthology (or equivalent compendium provided by the lecturer), guided by the lecturer, and tested at the end of each semester. The course includes the development of basic study, critical and writing skills.

Learning outcome

An examinee with a completed qualification in MUSV1031
- Has general understanding of the most important developments in Western music from the Middle Ages until today
- Has knowledge of selected musical examples from different periods in music history
- Has in-depth knowledge and understanding of selected works/genres/styles/performance practices in their historical, social and cultural contexts.
- Has basic knowledge of relevant sources and notational techniques from different periods and geographical locations
- Is able to make connections between classes, repertories and periods
- Has critical awareness about the problems associated with writing about music and music historiography
- Has knowledge about practical issues connected with today’s reconstruction, interpretation and performance of music of the past

An examinee with a completed qualification in MUSV1031
- Can describe music from different periods, their aesthetic characteristics and structural features
- Can set and organise personal objectives, and work to briefs and deadlines
- Can work independently
- Can update his/her knowledge within the field of study
- Can express ideas and knowledge in written and oral forms
- Can listen actively so as to be able to participate in and learn from discussions
- Can make connections between what is learnt in class and his/her own practice as musician and music student
- Can apply knowledge, understanding and experience to their own work and/or musical performance

Learning methods and activities

2-hour weekly lectures over 2 semesters (Autumn and Spring). Instruction is obligatory and demands minimum 80% attendance.

Classes can include lectures, active listening, analysis and score-reading, individual and group work, student presentations and discussions.

Independent study.

Compulsory assignments

  • Satisfactory participation in compulsory instruction
  • Class tests

Further on evaluation

1 portfolio (with 2 assignments based on the case studies), and 1 essay.

The total text for the portfolio (assignment 1 + assignment 2, excluding the essay) should have a maximum length of 15 pages (typed, 1,5/12 points) or equivalent.

Assignments can include short essays, concert reviews, oral presentations, oral presentation with demonstration; small projects etc., adapted for musicology and music performance students respectively.

Essay: max 7 pages (excluding music examples and bibliography). Students will receive feedback on a draft of their essay, so that they can revise it before submission.

If the course is not passed, the student must retake the whole assessment. If the candidate retakes the exam there is no need to retake the compulsory assignments, but it is strongly recommended to follow the complete course again.

Specific conditions

Exam registration requires that class registration is approved in the same semester. Compulsory activities from previous semester may be approved by the department.

Admission to a programme of study is required:
Music Performance Studies (BMUSP)
Musicology (BMUSV)
Musicology (ÅMUSV)

Required previous knowledge

Requires admission to the One-year programme in Musicology, or the Bachelor's programme in Musicology or Music Performance Studies.

Course materials

A short reading list for each case study + a textbook and anthology (or equivalent compendium provided by the lecturer) for the independent study part (general music history)

Credit reductions

Course code Reduction From To
MUSV1011 3.0 01.09.2020
MUSV1012 3.0 01.09.2020
MUSP4154 4.0 01.09.2020
More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Foundation courses, level I


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  AUTUMN 2020

No.of lecture hours: 2
No.of specialization hours: 3

Term no.: 2
Teaching semester:  SPRING 2021

No.of lecture hours: 2
No.of specialization hours: 3

Language of instruction: -

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Music History
  • Musicology
  • Music Performance Studies
Contact information
Course coordinator: Lecturer(s):

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Music



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