MUSV3130 - The Cultural Brain


Lessons are not given in the academic year 2020/2021

Course content

In all known cultures around the world and throughout human history, there has been music. Today, most people spend a lot of time and resources listening to music, or they make music themselves, such as singing or playing an instrument. Such activities may bring us joy and satisfaction, but we also know that musical commitment affects us in many different ways, such as our mental and physical health. In this seminar, we will investigate how music and music making may affect our brain in terms of health, quality of life, and learning.

Questions that may be addressed include: Can music make us healthier? Can music make us smarter? How does music affect us throughout life? How does music affect our health? How important is it to be given access to music? What happens if we are not given access to music?

Musicology is an umbrella term that usually includes historical studies, musical work studies, cultural studies, and music theory. In recent years, however, the field of study has further begun to look at people's use of (or lack of use of) music in everyday life and the role of music in human life, regardless of learned skills. Through this, musicology has opened up to several other disciplines, including pedagogy, biology, psychology, sociology and health therapy. This seminar will be in dialogue with these various subject areas to investigate how music affects us in different ways.

Learning outcome

An examinee with a completed qualification in MUSV3130
- has critical understanding of the social, cultural and political significance for the use and perception of the term “the cultural brain”.
- has knowledge of different academic disciplines that can relate to the term “the cultural brain”, including examples such as music psychology, pedagogy, sociology, therapy and ethnology.
- has knowledge of these academic disciplines’ different research methodologies
- has a broad understanding of how, and to what extent people engage with music in different ways throughout life, and what effect this has on different aspects of our health, quality of life and learning.

An examinee with a completed qualification in MUSV3130
- has the ability to analyse critically and discuss the place of music in human life
- has the ability to make his or her own, independent, reflections on the bases of and in extension of the acquired knowledge
- has the ability to present knowledge and critical insight in a coherent and convincing form both orally and in writing
- can apply acquired knowledge and understanding in their own work
- can apply acquired knowledge of research methodology on materials that are new and unknown for the candidate

Learning methods and activities

Lectures and seminars. Compulsory assignments: Participation in two quizzes.

Compulsory assignments

  • Participation in two quizzes

Further on evaluation

The essay is delivered mid-term and will be written on an approved topic. The essay should be 3 pages long, with font size 12, line spacing 1.5.

The take-home exam is delivered at the end of the course, and should be 10 pages long, with font size 12, line spacing 1.5.

If the course is not passed, the student must only retake the part of the assessment that was not passed. If the candidate retakes the exam, there is no need to retake the compulsory assignments.

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 (MMUSP)
Music Performance Studies (BMUSK)
Music Performance Studies (BMUSP)
Music Technology (BMUST)
Music Technology (MMUST)
Musicology (BMUSV)
Musicology (MMUSV)

Required previous knowledge

Requires admission to one of the Bachelor's or Master's programmes in Musicology, Music Technology or Music Performance Studies.

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Second degree level



Language of instruction: Norwegian

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Musicology
  • Music Pedagogy Subjects
  • Psychology
  • Social Studies
Contact information

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Music



  • * 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.

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