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Unit of study_

MCGY3604: J.S. Bach and his World

Semester 1, 2020 [Normal day] - Sydney

More than 250 years after his death, J.S. Bach remains one of the most revered musicians in the Western tradition. What influences formed Bach's style? What makes his music embedded in its time and place, yet distinctive and instantly recognisable? This unit investigates the music of this iconic composer in its historical context, considering his training, cultural and religious environment, stylistic influences and ongoing legacy, and allows students to explore their own research interests relating to Bach's music.

Unit details and rules

Unit code MCGY3604
Academic unit
Credit points 6
Prohibitions
? 
None
Prerequisites
? 
None
Corequisites
? 
None
Assumed knowledge
? 

Students enrolling in this unit will be expected to have background knowledge of J.S. Bach and Baroque music equivalent to that gained from MCGY2611 Music from the Middle Ages to Baroque

Available to study abroad and exchange students

Yes

Teaching staff

Coordinator Alan Maddox, alan.maddox@sydney.edu.au
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment hurdle task Critical reading assignments
Written assessment
20% Multiple weeks 1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Participation Seminar preparation and class participation
Preparation and participation
10% Ongoing Ongoing
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment hurdle task Creative project
Written assessment
20% Week 10 1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Assignment hurdle task Essay
Essay
50% Week 14 (STUVAC) 3000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
hurdle task = hurdle task ?

Assessment summary

  • Critical reading assignments: Students are required to write brief reflective notes on the weekly readings. These are posted on the weekly discussion boards in Canvas each week and edited into a document for submission at mid-semester and end of semester.
  • Creative Project: You are encouraged to devise your own project, or you can choose one from the list in Canvas. Projects can include book or concert reviews, analyses, or audiovisual, performance or creative writing activities about or in response to JS Bach and his music.
  • Essay: An essay on a topic relating to Bach and/or his music. You are encouraged to choose your own topic in line with your interests, or you can choose one from a list. Essays will be developed through a scaffolded process of proposal, draft and final submission.
  • Participation: Class members are expected to come prepared each week, having done the set reading and/or listening, and to take active, constructive part in discussion. Assessed each week on a 0-3 scale.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The following assessment criteria are used for performance work in this unit of study:

Result name

Mark range

Description

High distinction

85 - 100

Comprehensive and outstanding technical control and musical integrity in relation to developmental expectations. Musical individuality consistently projected to create a persuasive personal representation of the work. Performance flair indicative of soloist standard. A mark of 95 or above indicates extraordinary technical virtuosity and musical artistry.

Distinction

75 - 84

Excellent technical, musical and stylistic achievement. Consistently coherent and expressive performance. Some personal interpretation of the work suggesting soloist potential. 

Credit

65 - 74

Confident technique with evidence of solid musicality and some stylistic achievement. Occasional lapses indicative of unresolved technical, artistic and/or stylistic issues. Projects potential for further development.

Pass

50 - 64

Satisfactory level of preparation and musical engagement. Some inconsistencies in musicianship, style and/or technique. Musical imagination and overall performance sense developing though some insecurity in this area.

Fail

0 - 49

Unsatisfactory technical achievement and/or unsatisfactory level of musical and artistic engagement. Limitations may be of such a scale and consistency as to call into question the student’s future direction in the programme.

The following assessment criteria are used for written work in this unit of study:

Result name

Mark range

Description

High distinction

85 - 100

Demonstrates high level of initiative in research and reading; sophisticated critical analysis of evidence; high level engagement with theoretical issues, innovative use of reading/research material and impressive command of underlying debates and assumptions; properly documented and written with style, originality and precision.

Distinction

75 - 84

Demonstrates initiative in research and wide, appropriate reading; complex understanding of question and ability to critically review material in relation to underlying assumptions and values; analyses material in relation to empirical and theoretical contexts; properly documented; clear, well-developed structure and argument with some signs of literary style.

Credit

65 - 74

Evidence of broader understanding than pass level; offers synthesis with some critical evaluation of material; coherent argument using a range of relevant evidence; some evidence of independent thought, good referencing. A high credit (70-74) shows some evidence of ability to problematise and think conceptually.

Pass

50 - 64

Written work meets basic requirements in terms of reading/research; relevant material; tendency to descriptive summary rather than critical argument; makes a reasonable attempt to avoid paraphrasing; reasonably coherent structure; often has weaknesses in particular areas, especially in terms of narrow or underdeveloped treatment of question; acceptable documentation.

Fail

0 - 49

Work may fail for any or all of the following reasons: Unacceptable paraphrasing; irrelevance of content; poor spelling; poor presentation; grammar or structure so sloppy it cannot be understood; failure to demonstrate understanding of content; insufficient or overlong word length.

For more information see sydney.edu.au/students/guide-to-grades.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 The learned musician: Bach’s education Seminar (2 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 02 Bach and the Lutheran musical tradition Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 03 Music at the German courts Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 04 Bach and the French style Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 05 Bach and the Italian style Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 06 The keyboard music Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 07 Contemporary currents: Catholic sacred music Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 08 The non-keyboard instrumental music Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 09 The church cantatas Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 10 The major sacred works Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 11 Bach the intellectual Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 12 Bach and us Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance: Students are expected to attend a minimum of 90% of timetabled activities for a unit of study, unless granted exemption by the Dean, Head of School or professor most concerned. The Dean, Head of School or professor most concerned may determine that a student fails a unit of study because of inadequate attendance. Alternatively, at their discretion, they may set additional assessment items where attendance is lower than 90%.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Weekly class readings are specified on the Canvas site for each week.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

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

  • LO1. demonstrate a detailed knowledge of selected repertoire of J.S. Bach and his contemporaries
  • LO2. demonstrate an understanding of J.S. Bach’s career and output in its historical context, including key cultural and stylistic influences
  • LO3. research and write about one specific Bach topic in depth
  • LO4. demonstrate enhanced information literacy, research, and writing skills
  • LO5. apply a variety of analytical and critical approaches to understanding Bach’s music
  • LO6. think, write, and speak critically about the music of J.S. Bach in its historical context
  • LO7. communicate effectively with peers from a variety of disciplinary, social, and cultural backgrounds
  • LO8. articulate a personal understanding of Bach's place in the musical culture of his time, and of western culture more generally.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
GQ1 GQ2 GQ3 GQ4 GQ5 GQ6 GQ7 GQ8 GQ9

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

This year I have revised the assessment tasks to expand the options for creative projects even further.

More information can be found on Canvas.

Disclaimer

The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.