MUSV3135 - The Organ as a Time Frame and Mirror of Society


Lessons are not given in the academic year 2023/2024

Course content

The organ is one of the oldest known instruments. The history of the organ is the tale of a musical instrument that has been both static and constantly changing. From Antiquity to our own time, it has consisted of the same main components and principles for creating tone and timbre. But simultaneously, during its more than 2,200 year history, the organ has regularly evolved in alignment with different aesthetic, religious, political and social changes in society. Moreover, a special characteristic of the organ’s uniqueness is the instrument’s interaction with technological advances.This course explores how the organ’s technical and timbral distinctiveness can be viewed and understood from various contextual perspectives. Attention is mainly directed to the instrument’s multidisciplinary nature, where craftsmanship, art and science have melded together to form a creative synthesis. Themes explored include the relationship between art and theology, and the organ’s role in both sacred and secular contexts. Through the close study of specific instruments, the course will consider the organ as both a musical window onto understandings of both historical eras and society.

Learning outcome

Knowledge: A candidate who successfully completes MUSV3135 - will have increased knowledge of the organ’s role in both sacred and secular contexts. - will have increased knowledge of the multidisciplinary nature of the organ. - will have increased knowledge of the organ’s interactions with aesthetic, religious, political and social relations in society. Skills: A candidate who successfully completes MUSV3135 - can formulate his/her knowledge in a compelling manner in both written and spoken forms - can independently identify, assess, and develop understandings based on his/her acquired knowledge - is able to apply his/her acquired knowledge to new and unknown material - is able to further develop his/her own professional activities within the course's particular field

Learning methods and activities

Lectures and seminars.

Further on evaluation

3-days home exam, consisting of ca. 15 pages (ca. 6 000 words).If the course is not passed, the student must retake the whole assessment.

Specific conditions

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)
  • Music History
  • Musicology
Contact information

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Music


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