MUSV3133 - Music and Theatre


Lessons are not given in the academic year 2021/2022

Course content

This course explores the variable role of music in Western theatre and their reciprocal influences through the focused study of the tradition of Commedia dell’Arte from the Early Modern period to today. Students will be introduced to contemporary theoretical and dramatic writings and will examine a range of musical, theatrical and visual texts with reference to the relationship between music, words, movement and staging. Part of the course will focus on the tradition of Commedia dell’Arte and its performers in Early Modern Europe. The course will additionally guide students to explore a range of examples of how Commedia techniques and aesthetics have been understood, assimilated and challenged in later theories of theatre and works. Students will explore concepts that have prompted some 20th century writers, composers, directors and performers to incorporate humour, irony or satire in their works when addressing their commonly held view of the tragedy of human existence and the hopelessness of the individual. Examples may include Renaissance carnival songs and madrigal comedies, opera, Stravinsky’s 'Petrushka' and Schoenberg’s 'Pierrot Lunaire'. The course will include at least one example from contemporary theatre.

Learning outcome

Knoweldge: An examinee with a completed qualification in MUSV3133 - Demonstrates knowledge and understanding of the relationship between music and drama in Western theatre in selected examples from the Early Modern period to the Twenty-first Century - Demonstrates an understanding of theoretical and methodological perspectives from other Humanities disciplines - Has a critical understanding of how and why the themes presented in class have recurred in different musico-dramatic guises throughout the 19th and 20th century Skills: An examinee with a completed qualification in MUSV3133 - Has the ability to present knowledge, findings and critical insight in a coherent and convincing form both orally and in writing - Demonstrates the acquisition of independent and appropriate research skills through written projects on a topic relating to the module - Can draw on concepts and skills encountered during the module and be able to use them critically to evaluate a wide range of related works

Learning methods and activities

Combined lectures and seminars.

Compulsory assignments

  • Satisfactory participation in compulsory instruction and activities set out during the course.

Further on evaluation

Students are required to submit two assignments. One will be due half way through the semester, the second at the end of the course. The first (30%) should be about 1500 words (4-5 pages long, with font size 12, line spacing 1.5), and the second (70%) about 3500 words (9-10 pages, 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

Compulsory activities from previous semester may be approved by the department.

Admission to a programme of study is required:
Creative Music Technology (MMUST)
Drama and Theatre (BDRAMA)
European Studies (BEUROP)
Music Performance (MMUSP)
Music Performance Studies (BMUSK)
Music Performance Studies (BMUSP)
Music Technology (BMUST)
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, or the Bachelor's programme in Drama and Theatre Studies or European Studies.

More on the course



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



Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Music History
  • European Studies
  • Cultural History
  • Drama and Theatre Studies
  • Musicology
  • Music Performance 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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