You will study two core modules:
Music as Critical Practice
This module introduces the aesthetics and criticism of contemporary music and sound art. Its themes cross the notation/sound-based divide and may include post-formalism and conceptual music; music and the Anthropocene; inter-and post-media art; music as social activism; music and posthumanism; music and the digital; music and contemporaneity; practice-based research. A key problematic for twenty-first century music is its relationship to what is not music, whether that be sound, the other arts, other media, or the social and political. We will explore this, discussing examples that challenge the legacies of high modernist formal aestheticism and medium specificity. But we will also reflect on what this situation means for our own practices as composers and musicologists, and in what ways writing music and music writing should change to reflect contemporary music's transmediality.
Assessment: Written project, Sound based project and Listening diary
Music Employability offers opportunities to develop applicable skills to foster a music career and identify transferable skills for adjacent career trajectories. You will improve your grant writing skills, cultivate public presentation skills, acquire skills in content creation, and explore new means of self-promotion. Using a combination of seminar discussions, masterclasses, and project-based work, you will draw on the resources of the University of Birmingham Careers Network and connections to the wider city community to pursue topics that may include leadership cultivation, digital literacy, professional development, copyright awareness, public presentation tools, podcast and video creation, and website development.
Assessment: Professional Development Statement and Portfolio and Creative Project
You will also choose optional four modules from a range which typically includes:
- Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art
- Sound Studies
- British Music in Performance
- Sonic Alchemy: Live Electronic and Mixed Music Ensemble
- Fieldwork Methods
- Introduction to Global Popular Musics
- Topics in Early Music
- Electronic Music Studies
- Historically Informed Performance
- Classical and Romantic Keyboard Music
- Gustav Mahler: The Philosophy of Music
- Postsocialist Music and Ethnography
Subject to availability, you may also select one relevant undergraduate Music module to take at the MA level; these modules change regularly and relevant information will be included with your module choice form. In addition, you may also take one relevant module from other College of Arts and Law MA programmes.
For more information, see our Music module descriptions.
In addition to your taught modules, you will conduct a piece of independent research with the support of a supervisor, culminating in a 13,500 - 16,500-word dissertation. Students are also required to attend and to write short summaries of research seminars presented during the academic year.
Please note that the optional module information listed on the website for this programme is intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.