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Unit of study_

MCGY2613: Music in Modern Times

Traces the essential developments in Western art music from the very end of the 19th century to the start of the 21st, and relates them to broad socio-historical and artistic changes. The overview given in the lectures is reinforced by the analysis of key works in tutorials. Areas covered include Late Romanticism, Impressionism, Expressionism, Free Atonality, Rhythmic Innovation, Neo-classicism, Serial Music, Political Music, American Experimentalism, Electro-Acoustic Music, Chance composition, Textural Composition, Minimalism, influences from Popular Music, Collage and Polystylism, East-West Encounters, Neo-Romanticism, Post Modernism and Spectralism. Works analysed include compositions by Andriessen, Bartok, Cage, Debussy, Ligeti, Messiaen, Part, Schoenberg, Strauss, Stravinsky, Stockhausen and Webern.

Code MCGY2613
Academic unit Musicology
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge:
Ability to read musical notation

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate a broad understanding of the main compositional and aesthetic tendencies in Western art music from c. 1890 to the present day
  • LO2. understand the nature and rationale of the most influential compositional styles during this period, as well as the particular socio-historical circumstances that gave rise to them
  • LO3. understand this in relation to both heard and seen music (performances and scores), with a very diverse selection of ‘set works’ as a primary orientation
  • LO4. extend your personal understanding of the period in question throughout your professional lifetime
  • LO5. place any previously unfamiliar ‘modern’ work within an overall context
  • LO6. understand principles that may underlie tendencies in years to come.