Musicology tutorials

There are numerous musical ensembles at Oxford, many of exceptionally high standard, but instruction in performance is not offered as part of the University’s academic course. Musicians are advised to bring their instruments with them. Wycliffe Hall has a piano and organ which may be used for practice (subject to their use for other Hall events). Access to practice space is not guaranteed. SCIO will try to help students of large instruments (harp, double bass etc) to hire or borrow instruments, and to help all students find practice space, but cannot guarantee to do so. It is intended that musicians use their time at Oxford primarily as a time to further their studies in  the intellectual rather than practical side of music.  However the SCIO staff includes an ex professional ‘cellist and two keen amateur musicians who will do their best to help musicians.

Specialisation within tutorials is encouraged for more advanced students: thus for example, a tutorial in Techniques in Composition could focus on fugue for students who are organists; a tutorial in Topics in Music History after 1750 could focus on Lieder for students whose principle study at home was voice; and a tutorial in Musical Thought and Scholarship could focus on music and education for students who are education majors, or on music and neuroscience for students with previous experience in psychology.

With the exception of a handful of courses, the descriptions below are copyright University of Oxford and cover tutorial courses offered by the University to matriculated undergraduates. SSO students follow such courses as closely as is practicable, though there may be scope for minor variation to take into account students’ previous experience. Students will not necessarily cover all the material cited in the description (especially when they take the course as a secondary tutorial). All tutorials involve in-depth study: where the title might suggest a survey course, the content of the tutorial will involve focused study on part of the syllabus.

Musicology tutorial descriptions

Musical Analysis and Criticism

This course is intended to equip students with the skills needed to offer analytical and critical comment on a musical work (or movement of a work): that is, to be able to study a score, to observe what is significant, and to articulate this critically and cogently. A range of approaches  may be taken, including the predominantly analytical and the predominantly critical and/or contextual. The focus will be on musical works from the late eighteenth or nineteenth century.

Musical Thought and Scholarship

This course covers the history, criticism, and philosophy of music. Students are expected to develop critical understanding of a variety of issues related to musical cultures (present and past) and how they are (and have been) studied and understood. They should also acquire knowledge of trends in music history and historiography.

Musical Thought and Scholarship is designed as a course that is deliberately wide in scope, accommodating a variety of approaches and lines of enquiry. Core topics include:

  • Musical meaning and interpretation
  • Music and/as performance
  • Music and identity
  • Time lines and parallel music histories
  • Music-Gender-Sexuality
  • Music and post-colonialism
  • Vernacular music and art music
  • Music/musicology and recording

Techniques of composition

Students are offered a wide range of possibilities for extending their exploration of stylistic composition. It can be undertaken both as an exercise in the completion of missing parts and as a piece of extended composition based on given material. There is a wide choice of styles and genres to work in. Students may undertake exercises in which they complete or continue in

 

 

 

the appropriate style a piece of music from which at least one part will be given, such as:

  • later sixteenth-century continental vocal polyphony in four parts;
  • aria in three parts (voice, obbligato instrument, and basso continuo) from the period c.1700–c.1760;
  • four-part texture, of the period c.1760- c.1830;
  • nineteenth-century song accompaniment for piano, in the Austro-Germanic
  • Alternatively, students might choose to write one of the following:
    • a fugue;
    • a sixteenth-century-style motet or Mass movement in five parts;
    • an eighteenth-century (Baroque style) aria or other ritornello-based movement;
    • a sonata movement (not necessarily the first) in the style of the period from Haydn to Brahms;
    • a movement in a twentieth-century idiom

Topics in Music History Before 1750

This course is intended to provide students with the opportunity to study a wide range of notated Western music, and to grasp something of its cultural context. Student will also consider different methods of and approaches to study.

Detailed historical study has to be selective, even very selective, but such study benefits from a broad awareness, a wide historical perspective, an acquaintance at least with different historical stances and procedures, and knowledge of some of the theoretical, aesthetic, philosophical and social issues touching on the musical repertory. The range of topics covered may include the piano sonata in the nineteenth century, Richard Wagner: the romantic operas and music dramas, pastoral idylls and national anxieties: the Romantic symphony, and modernism in Vienna, 1900– 1935, though topics vary from term to term.

Topics in Music History After 1750

This course is intended to provide students with the opportunity to study a wide range of notated Western music, and to grasp something of its cultural context. Student will also consider different methods of and approaches to study.

Detailed historical study has to be selective, even very selective, but such study benefits from a broad awareness, a wide historical perspective, an acquaintance at least with different historical stances and procedures, and knowledge of some of the theoretical, aesthetic, philosophical and social issues touching on the musical repertory. The range of topics covered may include the piano sonata in the nineteenth century, Richard Wagner: the romantic operas and music dramas, pastoral idylls and national anxieties: the Romantic symphony, and modernism in Vienna, 1900–1935, though topics vary from term to term.

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