MUSV1107 - Women in Western Music


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Home examination
Grade: Letter grades

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
Home examination 100/100 3 days

Course content

As musicians, audiences, composers, dying heroines, and living divas on the stage, women have been central to musical practice and criticism since the early modern period. Despite this centrality, however, feminist perspectives on music and opera - that is, perspectives that foregrounded their presence in Western music and challenged ideas about gender, sexuality, love, family, and authority upon which opera and musical practice relied - did not emerge until the late 1980s.

This course will introduce students to feminist music criticism while focusing on the place of women in music history from different periods and Western traditions. The course will also consider the performers and the performative acts that have brought these women to stage life, observing how women’s voices often functioned as instruments of political ambition and sexual power. In addition, the course will engage students with the cultural interpretation of opera, exploring the genesis, source models and influences of selected operas, and negotiating the role of contemporary notions of gender and sexuality, and debates about women’s role in society.

Learning outcome


An examinee with a completed qualification in MUSV1107

  • has a broad knowledge of the presence of women in music history
  • has a critical understanding of canon formation in Western music and women’s exclusion from the canon
  • has critical understanding of the role of culture in shaping musical meaning and practices
  • has knowledge of key texts in gender studies in musicology
  • has critical understanding of opera as a medium of contemporary views about women and their role in society


An examinee with a completed qualification in MUSV1107

  • has the ability to engage with complex texts critically
  • has the ability to present knowledge, findings and critical insight in a coherent and convincing form both orally and in written form
  • has well-developed oral and written skills of argument and debate
  • can apply acquired knowledge and understanding in their own work

Learning methods and activities

Weekly instruction varies between lectures and seminar activities.

Further on evaluation

The text for the home examination should have a length of circa 4,000-6,000 words (line-spacing 1.5/12-point font size).

Credit reductions

Course code Reduction From To
MUSV2007 7.5 AUTUMN 2021
More on the course



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


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  AUTUMN 2023

Language of instruction: English, Norwegian

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Gender Research
  • Music History
  • Comparative Literature
  • Drama and Theatre Studies
  • History
  • Musicology
  • Music Performance Studies
  • Theatre Studies
Contact information
Course coordinator: Lecturer(s):

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Music


Examination arrangement: Home examination

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Autumn ORD Home examination 100/100





Room Building Number of candidates
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

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