We have a wide range of resources and facilities to support your learning and ensure you receive the maximum benefit from studying this programme.
Our facilities in the new £16 million Bramall Music Building include the Dome room, which is regularly used for readings, rehearsals, and concerts, and the 450 seat Elgar Concert Hall, which is arguably the best space of its kind in any University in the UK, with flexible acoustics designed by renowned acoustician and architect Nicolas Edwards (Symphony Hall Birmingham, Symphony Centre Dallas, Royal Shakespeare Theatre). The entire building is wired with state of the art audio systems which allow for the recording of student works.
By studying this pathway you have the opportunity to write works for the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (our ‘Ensemble in Association’) the Department’s New Music Ensemble, as well as other departmental ensembles such as the orchestras. As well, we regularly offer workshops with visiting performers (e.g. Darragh Morgan, Carla Rees, and Joby Burgess in recent years). All this combined with excellent equipment (computers, microphones, recorders) and library resources, and the opportunity to interact with distinguished guest artists in our COMPASS Forum seminar series, makes for an exciting and creative environment.
You will study four core modules:
Advanced Studies in Instrumental/Vocal Composition
The module contains four main areas of study: musical form (micro and macro); advanced studies in notation; repertoire studies; and relevant strands of advanced music theory. Topics covered will include proper editing and preparation of materials at a professional level, recent stylistic developments in contemporary music (e.g. post-spectralism, post-minimalism), and computer assisted composition techniques.
Issues in Contemporary Music
For this module you are required to attend the Music Department's COMPASS Forum series of seminars. This includes presentations by invited speakers on a variety of topics related to issues within the field of contemporary music. You will be required to write reports/critical responses for three of these presentations, and to give a short conference length presentation on your own research or a related topic. Additional information will come from a prescribed reading list consisting of key and secondary texts in the field, which will serve to inform your written work and presentations.
Information Skills and Resources in Music
This module helps you to identify and access appropriate bibliographical resources, archives, and other sources of relevant information; describe in detail the process of bibliographical research and justify it; and execute a critical survey of the existing literature on a research topic.
Introduction to Music Research
This module introduces you to contemporary issues, methods, techniques and debates in music, in such areas as source studies (manuscript, printed, electronic), historical performance practice, reception history, and genre studies.
You will also choose one optional module from the following:
Advanced Music Analysis
This module will benefit Masters students in Music who lack a traditional background in technical analysis. You will attend the Level I undergraduate module ‘Analysis’ and tutorials given by the module leader. Topics include analysis of fugue, sonata form, nineteenth-century harmony, rhythm and metre, post-tonal pitch organisation and musical narrative.
Thinking about Music: From Aesthetics to Critical Theory
Some knowledge of philosophical aesthetics is an essential prerequisite for any musicologist who wishes to follow the critical debates that have stemmed from the ‘New Musicology’ of the 1990s. Composers, too, are increasingly called upon (or find themselves drawn) to explain their work in philosophical terms. This module is intended to prepare you to meet these demands. At its core is an introduction to the German aesthetic tradition, and the crucial role played in its history by music. Extracts from canonic texts will be read and discussed in seminars, and the development of aesthetic thought traced from the Enlightenment to Postmodernism.
Contemporary Music Studies
This module studies the explosion of musical expression that characterises 20th-century and contemporary music, focusing on key movements (serialism, minimalism, etc) and concerns (tonality/atonality, aleatoric principles, etc). Starting from the musical ‘crisis’ of the early years of the 20th century, the course will address issues such as the separation of ‘art’ and ‘popular’ music, the impact of technology and the presumption of postmodernism at the start of the 21st century. The marked shift in aesthetics and music’s ‘function’ will also be discussed.
We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2013/14 are as follows:
Home/EU: £5,130 full-time
Overseas: £15,000 full-time
Part-time programme fees are one half of the full-time programme fees.
Learn more about fees and funding
Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available.
For further information, visit the College of Arts and Law scholarships page or email email@example.com
International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.