- A level requirements: ABB
- UCAS code: I615
- Study mode: Full-time
- Length: 3 years
This programme combines BA Music with a Minor pathway in Game Design Studies – a new and distinctive provision in the study of interactive audiovisual media. This new offering in Game Design Studies builds on the Department of Music’s established reputation for the study of sound and music in gaming and other multimedia, and teaching is supported by a range of dedicated, industry-standard facilities.
While the Music component focuses on developing an in-depth and critical historical understanding of classical music repertoires, cultures, and practices, it also offers flexibility through a generous range of optional modules. Some modules are practical in nature, and cover composition, performance, orchestration, and music technology; others are more theoretical, examining classical music history, music analysis, and music psychology, or even the music industry.
The Minor pathway will introduce you to the study of video games, which includes topics such as the history and development of gaming cultures, the complex nature of interactive media, and the critical issues that accompany engagement with virtual worlds, multicursal narratives, and dynamic musical content. Digital games represent one of the fastest growing forms of entertainment media: consequently, there is a growing need for many jobs that are not only in the games industry, but in surrounding industries as well. This programme develops a wide range of skills that prepare students for employment at various entry points in the job market, including content creation, publishing, journalism, and marketing.
This programme is available with a Year in Industry. Year Three is spent on a paid placement within an organisation in industry, broadly defined. You will be supported by the School of the Arts and the Department throughout, and your reflexive written account of the experience will contribute towards your final degree result. If you wish to study this programme with a Year in Industry, please put the option code ‘YI’ in the ‘Further Choices’ section of your UCAS application form.
This programme is only available for 2023 entry.
Discover what you'll learn, what you'll study, and how you'll be taught and assessed.
You will take three compulsory modules in Music, and two compulsory modules in Game Design Studies.
This module introduces students to the semantics of video game design and the techniques of close reading. It examines how mechanics, environment and audio design, genre conventions and iconography can be used to create meaning, both in support and subversion of explicit narrative. Students will learn to make connections between the disparate artforms involved in game design and develop the ability to form their own readings of games. The module is taught in 2-hour workshops which involve a mixture of theory lectures and in-depth discussion of specific games, including student-led choices. Assessment consists of a 2000-word coursework essay (85%), of which there is a formative, peer-reviewed ‘pitching’ exercise in week 6, and a 5-10 minute in-class presentation or video essay (15%), delivered during the second half of the module.
This module ensures a solid foundation in the history of western art ("classical") music since the Baroque era, providing students with suitable experience for second and third year classical history modules on more specific topics. The module deals not only with key composers, genres, and structures, but also with appropriate contextual issues. In unscheduled time, the module also provides a basic grounding in core study skills.
The module Introduction to Game Design Studies explores the phenomenon of video game studies from a variety of Arts and Humanities perspectives. Therefore, the module will focus on three key interrelated contexts for the analysis and theorisation of video games as digital media culture: the text of the game itself as an aesthetic and formal virtual object, genre and system of representation; the video game player as a type of audience or user who is immersed, interactive, and embodied; the video game industry as a global media business, one with a strong Japanese presence and with a profound effect on the wider media context.
The module will introduce students to the organisation and functions of record companies and to contemporary practice within the music industries. The students will be introduced to key debates concerned with the commercial promotion and manufacture of music. Topics covered within the module will typically include: analysis and critique of the concepts of ‘music industries’ and ‘creative industries’, the circulation of music products within the creative industries’ ecosystem and discourses of disruption, innovation and entrepreneurship. Lectures will draw on case-study material in order to illustrate key debates.
Music is ubiquitous, yet its function and meaning can be specific to the context in which it is situated. Similarly studying music, in the 21st century context for example, is both complex and specific in equal measure. This module will examine how and why music matters as a cultural expression, intimately linked to the contexts of its production, dissemination, and reception. The scope and breadth of the study of music will be introduced along with various academic approaches and methods employed in such study, along with key terms and concepts used in the study of music in relation to culture. The module will provide students with a foundation for the further study of music and culture at levels two and three, and helps students to understand interdisciplinary approaches to the study of music.
Students will gain historical and practical knowledge of contrapuntal techniques in music composition. Students will demonstrate comprehension of counterpoint rules through several assignments over the course of the term. Students will then complete an original composition which centres around contrapuntal writing.
This module provides students with a structured framework to enhance practical performance skills. Students work with the module leader and an assigned instrumental or vocal teacher towards the development of technical, aural, practice and performative skills.
This module bridges the gap between A Level music theory and those required for music analysis at University level. It starts by reviewing the most fundamental elements of western classical music theory, in order that students emerge with a deeper understanding of their relationships and of the function of the key building blocks of the musical repertoire. By the end of the module, students should emerge feeling comfortable working with complex harmonies and cadences, and be able to take these foundational skills on to further analytical study.
This module is an introduction to MIDI sequencing and Apple’s Logic Pro X. It is suitable for complete beginners and intermediate users of Logic. Through lectures and workshops, both of which involve much hands on practice, students learn about MIDI sequencing, software instruments and Digital Audio Workstations (DAW). Topics and techniques covered include recording and editing MIDI; use of effects processors and mixing, software synthesis and sampler instruments. Two creative coursework projects, concentrating on differing compositional approaches and styles, enable students to demonstrate the technical and compositional skills taught and practiced during the module.
This module provides an overview of key developments in Anglo-American popular music particularly during the latter part of the twentieth century and the early twenty-first century. Students are introduced to the musical characteristics of key styles and genres, as well as significant social/cultural movements and critical issues that are relevant to an understanding of the music in question. The module also provides an introduction to key perspectives and issues in popular music studies.
This module introduces students to the use and role of music in a range of audio-visual media. It focuses specifically on the sound and music of mainstream narrative cinema, as the lead expression in contemporary audio-visual media and one that has shaped this aspect of other artforms, such as television and videogames. From the relationship between music and early moving pictures, to the importance of re-using popular musics to score gender or sexuality in the modern Hollywood blockbuster, the module considers both the historical practicalities of sound and music in cinema and some of the key critical ideologies that have been shaped by and shaped the soundtracks of film. Through a focus on key case studies and fundamental theories, students will acquire a firm grounding in the history, nature, and critical discussion of the function of sound and music in film specifically, and audio-visual media more generally. The module is delivered in a manner designed to be equally accessible to students from a non-Music background.
The module introduces students to the basic principles of sound, acoustics and music technology. They will learn about many of the core concepts, relevant terminology and theories essential to modern music technology studies. Subjects covered will include acoustics and sound propagation, analogue and digital audio theory, key electronics theories and sound measurement systems. The module includes some practical work at a digital audio workstation. Normally, the module will include a visit to the University’s Acoustics Research Unit.
This module introduces students to Sound, Recording and Production techniques in the University Recording Studio. This is a practised based module where teaching is delivered through hands on workshops and lectures. Lectures will discuss recording, audio editing and effects processing techniques in Pro Tools. The weekly workshops, which are in small groups, will be led by the module leader who will demonstrate production techniques and then set group tasks which will allow students to practice key skills during the workshop sessions. By the end of the module the student will be competent enough to use the studio independently and effectively.
Students will complete two assessments. The first is an individual mixing assignment to be completed in the Mac Suites. Assignment 2 is a group recording project carried out in a University Studio and includes a group presentations about the project.
A practical and constructive course in Music Theory, with specific reference to the practical needs of popular musicians. Students will be introduced to a range of scales and modes, diatonic chords and their extensions, common chord symbols, along with common musical forms and structures. Musical notation will be used, though not exclusively, and there will be an aural component. Delivery will be via online lectures, workshop sessions, seminars and tutorials. Formative assessment will be an important teaching tool, and summative assessment will be via an end of term theory test.
Content will include but not limited to:
BBC Radiophonic Workshop
Electronic music in rock and jazz,
Electronic dance music,
Sound Design in Cinema.
Building on a foundational knowledge of music theory, this module examines repertoires from popular music and the classical era as well as music from film. The module first explores formal contrasts in musical works, through examples of dynamic contrasts from Stravinsky and Radiohead, influenced by ‘montage cinema’. This develops through a study of modes, scales and keys in the nineteenth century classical repertoire and in rock and jazz. Techniques for analysing electronic music are adapted and developed by students, while the final lectures introduce the dynamics of form in Baroque and Classical music.
Your second year will be made up entirely of optional modules. Your Game Design Studies options include SOTA202, MUSI273, ENGL397, and COMM211. If you are taking the Year in Industry pathway, you will be required to take SOTA260.
This course continues to develop students’ performance skills, with a particular emphasis on developing listening skills and technique. Ultimately, the course intends to benefit students’ own practice, performance, and ensemble skills.
MUSI 202 is a continuation of MUSI 201 in which students will continue to improve upon the listening and technical skills developed during Semester One. This module will delve further into the relationship between theory, technique, and a mature professional approach to the practice of each student’s individual instrument. Students work with the module leader and an assigned instrumental or vocal teacher to further develop their technical, aural, practice and performative skills.
Students will learn how to effectively compose and arrange music for film and television. The module will cover practical issues such as: working in a software programme such as Logic Pro to compose with synchronised video clips; arranging instrumental parts using sample libraries, working with tempo, speed and appropriate harmonic languages. The coursework will involve a series of compositions to written briefs and video clips, totalling 5-8 minutes in duration. Each composition assignment will address a different challenge and style aspect of film or TV music and be accompanied by a written commentary explaining the reasons for the approach and style taken in the music.
In this course, students will gain experience composing original classical or contemporary music for two different small ensembles from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. The lectures will cover techniques for writing themes and accompaniments, designing musical contrast, and rudimentary approaches to musical structure. Seminars will be used to workshop specific compositional techniques and also to hold recording sessions with orchestra musicians. This module’s two assessments are musical compositions, and students will receive recordings and musician feedback on both. This module will draw heavily on the material the prerequisite modules (MUSI105 Writing for Instruments; MUSI106 Classical Composition 1) and fluency with music notation is required.
The module is designed to introduce critical perspectives on current developments in popular music. Each week will introduce a particular genre or subgenre of contemporary popular music which will act as a way in to a discussion of a set of theoretical issues relating to culture, identity, aesthetics, technology and industry. Topics may include: Introduction to genres and classification, mainstreaming, R&B, UK dance and post-dub musics, New Folk and the legacy of authenticity, Post Rock, Noise music, DIY scenes and digital democratisation, new strains in electronic music, metal in the 21st Century.
This module introduces students to academic work that challenges the conventions of mainstream gaming, or what has been called ‘queer game studies’. It examines the relationship between queerness and play, and how the formalising of play into games, especially digital and technological games, has sustained and promoted societal norms. Themes covered include the representation of marginalised identities, queer reclamation of ‘failure’ and the ways that technology can reproduce or subvert social structures. Students will learn to reexamine the conventions of game design with a view to conceiving a wider range of possibility for games, as well as engaging with the fundamental concepts of academic queer theory. The module is taught in 2-hour design workshops, with an introductory lecture in the first week. Assessment consists of a 1000-word design sketch for a game (40%) and a 1500-word coursework essay (60%). The textbook for the module is Ruberg & Shaw eds ‘Queer Game Studies’ (2017), Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
The module uses both scores and recordings to examine music across different repertoires, focusing on how harmony, chord progressions and pitch are organised. We explore different techniques and methods for understanding harmonic developments, and evaluate the use of these techniques through a range of pieces from different repertoires (classical, popular and film). The module uses examples ranging from Schubert, to Frank Zappa, to Hitchcock films. It will be of use to those wishing to learn about how harmony and chord progressions are constructed, and will be a useful supplement to those studying performance, composition or musicological topics.
Games are ubiquitous today; even if you don’t think you play them, you do, via schemes like loyalty cards. This module examines the role of games in contemporary society, and the ways in which this has been reflected within contemporary literature. Throughout this module, we will consider the relationship between games and literature in relation to three key areas—“Ludic Literature”, “Gaming Cultures”, and “Games of the Future”—with each area involving the analysis of particular literary texts to consider what they reveal about contemporary society and its interests in games and gaming. Illustrative authors include: Raymond Queneau and members of the OuLiPo, Orson Scott Card, William Gibson, Daniel Suarez, and Ernest Cline.
This module explores the development of popular musics of the world. Particular emphasis will be given to popular music genres and styles of non-Anglophone origins to understand how different artistic creativities and practice operate in the contemporary system of popular music production, distribution and consumption.
How are specific genre and styles of indigenous/local popular music created? What are the local characteristics of musical techniques and aesthetics? How are specific regional and local cultural values reflected in these musical outputs while cultural, economic and political globalisation also gives shape to these musical processes. In connection with these broad questions, we will look into specific musical genres and forms from Asia, South/Latin America, Africa and the Middle East to develop the skills needed to analyse and critically assess the developments in popular musical outputs and their specific socio-cultural contexts which facilitate the creation and consumption of these artistic works throughout the world.
The second-year module Immersive Media and Virtual Worlds explores the histories, theories, and industries related to the production of immersive experiences, digital technologies and virtual realities and worlds. In particular, the module will focus on video games and cinema.
This module introduces students to the process, skills and approaches expected when conducting instrumental or choral ensembles.
Music Psychology is a multi-disciplinary field that aims to understand and explain musical activities and experiences through the scientific study of mind and behaviour. This module introduces key contemporary topics and research in this area, including the origins of music, music and emotion, the brain on music, musical development, music and cognitive performance, and music and health. The module will follow a flipped classroom instructional strategy that includes a set of video lectures, hands-on seminars, and individual tutorials. In the lectures, students will be introduced to central concepts, perspectives, and research on a variety of core topics of Music Psychology. These topics will then be actively explored during the seminars through a set of practical activities and group discussions. Individual tutorials will support students to develop their knowledge of research in the field, refine their areas of interest within the topics discussed and coursework preparation. The assessment framework includes one coursework assignment and one multiple choice exam.
This module introduces students to Live Sound technology and the practical skills needed to competently and safely operate a Live Sound system. Students will receive lectures on live sound equipment and its applications, along with relevant electronics and acoustics theory. They will also have weekly practical workshops in the Music Hub, where they will learn to operate the Hub P.A. system. They will cover front of house mixing and stage monitor mixing techniques, as well as microphone techniques for live sound and learn about ancillary equipment requirements for live sound. The module also covers very basic lighting set-up and control.
Students will be introduced to Ableton’s Live software for music creation, and they will learn how to create simple effects plugins using Max for Live. They will create electronic music in Live that utilises effects they have created with MAX, as well as learn how to use both the session and arrange windows to compose and structure musical material. They will learn how to mix music in Live and discover the new options Live offers for music production, compared to other common digital audio workstations.
An introduction to empirical, philosophical, and intellectual perspectives on music and emotion. The course will introduce students to psychological theories of emotion and affect, methodologies for measuring affect in music, and consider diverse approaches to conceptualising musical emotion, as well as providing an overview of key texts and ideas in the history and theory of emotion and music.
This module provides a critical understanding of music’s role and prominence in sport, encompassing perspectives from practical sporting experience to mediatised sport, and in linkages between music and sport as components of the entertainment industry. An innovative inclusion to the curriculum, it will encourage interdisciplinary questioning as a key component of critical engagement required for the module, through historical and contemporary case studies, supported by scholarly literature. This will enable students to develop knowledge through real-world case studies focused on music in relation to specific sports and sporting events, explicating how music features in the experience of sport as viewers, practitioners and fans. As a result, it will explore concurrent themes in music and sport such as performance and representation, gender and race, and more broadly, intersections of music and sport in interrogations from varied studies on media, politics, sociology, psychology and anthropology.
This module aims to introduce students to a range of ideas about gender and sexuality, and to explore how they interact with musical texts, practices, and cultures. Over the semester, students will consider a range of theories and movements to do with gender and sexuality, which might include social constructionism, psychoanalysis, feminism, and queer theory. The module traces the historical developments of some of these models and considers the extent to which musical texts, practices, and cultures reflect and/or contribute to prevailing ideologies of gender and sexuality. The case studies used to explore these ideas will be drawn from a range of musical repertoires, including popular and art musics. The module aims to encourage students to think about all kinds of western music as gendered practices and to introduce them to ways of exploring the relevance of gender and sexuality as questions for consideration when thinking about the cultural work being done by particular musics. Students should emerge from the module with an understanding of the intersections of history, culture, and music, in terms of ideas about gender and sexuality.
This module examines the function and design of music in video games (including games-consoles, PCs, and smart-phone ‘apps’). It considers the historical development of music in gaming, the relationship between game-music and technological advance, and the role and function of music in different types of game (and how this dictates compositional choice). This is achieved via a combination of case-study analyses and engagement with appropriate literature and research. Delivery incorporates lectures, workshop/seminars, and directed activity. Assessment incorporates a discursive essay and a portfolio of case-study analyses. The module assumes the study and discussion of case-study examples, but is delivered and assessed in a manner which does not require technical music skills (ie notational literacy or formal analytical method).
This module will explore the musical practices of film traditions outside the Anglophone world and their cultural contexts, with particular emphasis on comparisons to classical Hollywood practice. Students will develop the ability to think and write about music in audiovisual contexts. Topics will variably include East Asian films, Bollywood, North African/Middle Eastern films as well as cinemas from Europe and Latin America.
The module will study musical theatre in its twentieth/twenty-first century context.
This module considers opera in Europe from the lead up to the French Revolution (1789) and into the twentieth century, and its relationship to politics—particularly national politics—during that period. The module considers the production and reception of opera in relation to landmark events such as the French Revolution and the ensuing wars, the unification of Italy and Germany, and the build up to the First World War, with a view to understanding operatic responses to political developments, and the response to opera in political contexts. While national politics are central to the themes considered, local and identity politics may also come under consideration (when dealing with the expected role of individuals in relation to societies as a whole, for instance). The module also covers the major developments in opera during the period, exploring the development of the genre and its sub-genres, while also seeking to understand musical developments in a broader historical context.
During the course of their education, students will already have travelled on an individual musical journey. This course aims to continue this process by exposing them to models of song writing and composition from a broad array of popular music, underpinned with a solid and practical theoretical grounding. Arrangement and orchestration of instruments from beyond those used in the standard rock “backline” will also be covered. An over-arching theme of the course will be the need to identify a broader “common practice” than that traditionally associated with classical composition classes. Practical exercises and assignments will lead to the completion of two original compositions.
A study of music by composers writing under the influence of Richard Wagner whose philosophy of life and music influenced much of fin de siecle Europe.
The module aims to prepare students for a smooth transition into a work placement year and, more broadly, to develop lifelong skills, attitudes and behaviours and support students in their continuing professional development. This will help students lead flexible, fulfilling careers working as a professional in their field, and enable them to contribute meaningfully to society.
This module provides an introduction to the university’s student-run record label, Merciful Sound Records. Working in a fully functioning record label, students will develop ‘real-world’ employability skills focussed on music marketing, promotion and distribution, culminating in the release of an album to be launched at the end of the semester.
In this module students learn techniques for mixing and remixing, using samples, stems or tracks from exiting songs. Using Apple’s Logic audio editing and sampling techniques are explored, as well as mixing techniques suitable for EDM and electronic music. There will also be a focus on correctly using relevant software instruments and effects plugins available in Logic.
This module is an opportunity for you to undertake a placement in a setting which matches your academic and possible career/industry interests, develop materials and/or undertake tasks within a practical or vocational context, apply academic knowledge from your degree, and develop your personal and employability skills within a working environment. SOTA300 is not open to students who have taken SOTA600.
This module will introduce the student to audio editing and sound transformation in Logic X in the context of sound design for the moving image and the broad field of electronic music composition. Students will learn a variety of audio editing and sound transformation skills in Logic and other specialist applications to produce the sound design for number of idents and also produce an extended work using recorded sound and sound design techniques. The module will be delivered via lecture and workshops in the Mac Suites.
This module is a pre-requisite for MUSI308.
This module will extend students’ knowledge of studio recording and production techniques, including stereo recording; editing; mixing tracks with problems (poor quality recordings, unwanted noise, poor performances); making timing and tuning adjustments; audio quantisation; comping; and working with large multitrack projects.
This course examines the ongoing relationship between technological development, popular music and the cultures which surround it. Students are introduced to major perspectives on popular music and technology in order to examine social, aesthetic and historical issues.
This module introduces students to who does what in music industry. Essentially, music industry is a collaborative effort between musicians and various personnel from a range of music companies. Music companies ‘add value’ to musicians by providing them with services they find difficult or impossible to provide for themselves. These ‘music companies’ are spread across the music industries of recording, music publishing and live performance; increasingly companies from outside traditional music industry also offer services to musicians (for example, online and IT companies). The module will consider what key jobs and roles exist in the world of converting imaginative ideas into commodities for sale in music markets.
Students will gain an overview of technical and idiomatic aspects of writing for string, wind and brass instruments. Students will demonstrate comprehension writing for instruments through orchestrating pre-existing musical materials for string quartet and wind quintet. Students will then demonstrate an understanding of percussion writing by orchestrating sounds from a recorded excerpt for percussion ensemble.
Students will gain an overview of technical and idiomatic aspects of writing for instruments beyond those covered in Writing for Instruments 1 (including piano and keyboards, guitar, percussion and the saxophone family). Students will demonstrate comprehension by orchestrating pre-existing materials for combinations of instruments covered.
You will take two compulsory modules in Game Design Studies. The rest of your modules will be taken from a range of options, which must include an Independent Project.
Games and Algorithmic Culture investigates how videogames are responding and contributing to the current technological and cultural changes in the use of AI, data mining, procedurally generated content, metrics and automation. The module provides a fundamental knowledge of the videogame industry and its new markets and trends, such as eSports, live streaming, independent productions, casual and mobile gaming. It explores how these new social, cultural, and aesthetics trends of game culture are framed around a broader algorithmic culture that pervades our contemporary technics of digital production and distribution. The module will enable students to understand the specificity of games as new media, to critically analyse the technical, economic and social factors that frame contemporary digital culture, and identify areas of intervention within the global entertainment industry.
This module introduces students to the major philosophical issues associated with play, games especially digital games and virtual worlds. It examines both the philosophical literature around play and contemporary concerns expressed in relationship to the growth of the video games industry, including addiction, violence, ‘gamification’ and the use of play and software for education and therapy. Students will learn to challenge common assumptions, including their own, about the triviality of play in relation to modern constructions of labour and value, and develop an understanding of how these assumptions underpin both popular and academic discussion of games.
The module is taught by pre-recorded online mini-lectures (approximately 1 hour per week), and a guided online reading group comprising synchronous discussions via video chat and asynchronous discussions via online discussion board, based on a selection of key texts. Assessment consists of a 3-part project: a formative pitching meeting with the module leader in the first 5 weeks of the course, a short report on that meeting (500 words, 35%) including a research plan, and a final essay (2,500 words, 65%).
F FULL ON-CAMPUS TEACHING RESUMES: The module is taught by lecture (1 hour per week) and seminar (1 hour per week). Assessment consists of a 3-part project: a formative pitching meeting with the module leader in the first 5 weeks of the course, a short report on that meeting (500 words, 35%) including a research plan, and a final essay (2,500 words, 65%).
An overview of central orientations and key texts in the aesthetics of music, from ancient to modern. Lectures will guide students through influential ideas in the history of music philosophy and intellectual history; and seminars will afford an opportunity to reflect upon and discuss this material in greater depth and detail.
This module examines the concepts and principles associated with historically-informed performance practice.
This module offers an exploration of the song form in a western art music context. Taking Beethoven’s ‘An die Ferne Geliebte’ as a starting point, we progress to explore Schubert’s Lieder in some depth, exploring his settings of poetry, performance traditions and techniques. We then consider the role of Art-Song in the 19th and 20th centuries, using art-song as a prism for examining cultural changes in music and society, culminating in Maxwell-Davies’ "Eight Songs for a Mad King". A continued focus throughout the module will be Schumann’s song-cycle "Dichterliebe", which will a ‘set work’ that will form part of your final exam.
The music of Ludwig Van Beethoven has become central to the Western classical tradition. Not just popular with audiences worldwide, Beethoven’s symphonies, quartets, sonatas, and concertos have shaped the values by which all other composers are judged. As well as surveying Beethoven’s music, this module will explore how and why it has captured the imaginations both of listeners and critics (including analysts and philosophers). The module will engage a variety of methodological approaches, including music analysis, reception history, aesthetics, and semiotics. Ultimately, it will engage with the ‘big question’: Is Beethoven’s fame constructed, or earned?
This module provides an introduction to the design and implementation of sound and music in video games. Students engage with game music scholarship and case studies, then apply their knowledge to create original sounds and music for premade game projects.
The module will consider how popular music is presented as heritage in different contexts such as museum exhibitions, library collections and DIY online archives. It will examine the different ways in which popular music heritage has been represented, mobilized and interpreted. Taking a case study approach it will explore who is invested in discussions of heritage, how heritage is defined, and what this can tell us about representations of the popular past. The module will have a particular focus on the context of gallery and museums and will examine curatorial approaches to popular music and its related cultures.
The module examines and explores musical form, rhythm and time in a range of repertoires – pop, classical, jazz and film. It uses recent music theory to provide new ways of thinking about these issues in a cross-repertoire environment. It will explore pre-existing compositions and encourage students to use the module to supplement their other musical activities – composition, performance and musical appreciation – to give a greater insight into how musical forms are constructed from rhythms to structure. We will explore issues such as repetition, ‘form as becoming’, cinematic montage forms, ‘two-dimensional forms.’ Repertoire will vary but will cover a range of musics from Arab Strap and LCD Sound System’s “cyclic forms” to Beethoven’s Eroica; from Pulp and Arcade Fire’s “terminally climactic forms” to the “two-dimensional” sonata forms of Franz Liszt. There will be opportunities for improvisers to participate in workshops focusing on rhythm.
This module offers final-year students the chance to ‘major’ in performance, where ‘performance’ is loosely conceived to incorporate any genre of music as a solo or ensemble instrumentalist/vocalist, and also conducting/directing. Students will be supported in their development as vocalists, instrumentalists, or conductors/directors by way of a series of one-to-one lessons and a number of large group sessions bringing together students in related areas.
This module offers final-year students the chance to create a substantial music composition. Projects may include works for acoustic instruments as well as works for acoustic instruments and electronics.
Student are allowed to design their own project to carry out across semesters 1 & 2 of Year 3. In consultation with their allocated supervisor, they will agree a programme of research which will lead to a pilot project submission in Semester 1 and a short presentation. In semester 2, students will produce a 12-15 minute portfolio, as well as a commentary that contextualises their work. The content of the portfolio is intended to be a tool for seeking future employment and may have a technical focus, be more concentrated on composition projects or have research focus on a practical music technology related area, depending on the student’s career aspirations.
This module offers final-year students the chance to ‘major’ in popular performance, where "performance" is loosely conceived to incorporate any genre of popular music as a solo or group instrumentalist/vocalist. Students will be supported in their development as vocalists, instrumentalist, band members, or solo artists by way of a series of one-to-one lessons and a number of large group sessions bringing together students in related areas.
This module is an extended research project in which students can concentrate in an in-depth manner on a particular issue or subject area. This gives students the opportunity to carry out independent study at an advanced level, with appropriate support, into a topic of interest to them and to draw on and extend the skills and knowledge acquired in taught modules. The module will include a taught element providing guidance on dissertation planning, preparation and skills.
The module will cover jazz in the broadest sense of the genre – from its nineteenth/early twentieth century precursors to assessments of the present day scene and its global significance. Awareness of the historical scope and trajectory of the genre will be complemented by analysis of specific ‘moments’ (e.g. albums, tracks, concerts) and longitudinal topics (e.g. personalities, race, dance, improvisation, nationalism/transnationalism). There will be opportunity for students to develop work for assessment based on their own interests.
This module will develop students’ knowledge of synthesis to an advanced level. In the first assignment, there is a particular focus on methods of working with modular synthesis, such as building a modular instrument or creating a generative composition. Building on the audio-visual skills acquired in MUSI208 and MUSI213, the second assignment explores FM and granular synthesis, through the production of a fixed audio-visual composition.
This module is suitable for anyone who is interested in the role of music in everyday life, ie people’s quotidian engagement with music. Students will develop a practical understanding of music’s ability to support individual and social functions, the ability to engage in current debates in the research literature and the capacity to explore new directions to advance research in this field. The module is interdisciplinary, drawing on perspectives such as music, psychology and sociology, however no prior knowledge of any specific discipline is necessary.
The module includes a series of lectures, seminars and individual tutorials. Lectures support the students in identifying pertinent topics concerning the uses of music in everyday life and how to approach these topics from a research perspective. Seminars place a strong focus on the gradual development of enquiry skills through guided engagement in various research activities. Individual tutorials will be scheduled with students to support the preparation of coursework.
Assessment takes the form of a written research proposal (100%) on a subject chosen by the student themselves. Students will have the opportunity to receive formative feedback on an early version of their proposal.
Students will gain insight into orchestrating for large ensemble, including aspects of acoustics, timbre and the distribution of harmonic elements. Students will demonstrate the ability to write for wide range of instrumental resources by orchestrating pre-existing material for large orchestra. In addition, students will orchestrate a monophonic piece for chamber ensemble, strategising both the distribution of a monophonic resource for larger forces as well as creating polyphonic music by adding contrapuntal material.
In MUSI 210 Students have investigated a range of tonal and rhythmic practices, some of which will have informed their own music making. This module will continue this process. Song-writing, extended and jazz harmony, improvisation and orchestration will all be further investigated. Practical exercises and assignments will lead to the completion of two original compositions.
This module examines various issues relating to popular music performance, in an attempt to better understand how music has resonated with audiences, aiming for a more informed appreciation of popular music in all its forms.
Students in this module oversee the day-to-day operations of the university’s student-run record label, Merciful Sound Records. Working individually and in teams, students will manage the label’s various departments as well as oversee the production, marketing, sales and distribution of an album to be released at the end of the academic year.
This module introduces students to the A&R, artist management, recording, production and project planning aspects of the university’s student-run record label, Merciful Sound Records. Working in a fully functioning record label, students will develop ‘real-world’ employability skills focussed on music management, recording and production and project planning, culminating in the release of an album to be launched at the end of the academic year.
This module is an opportunity for you to undertake a placement in a setting which matches your academic and possible career/industry interests, develop materials and/or undertake tasks within a practical or vocational context, apply academic knowledge from your degree, and develop your personal and employability skills within a working environment. SOTA300 is not open to students who have taken SOTA600.
This module will introduce students to various theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of music and sound in their social and cultural contexts. The module considers sounds and music as experienced across diverse settings (private, public, individual and collective) and considers key issues relating to how the sonic is embedded in everyday life and impact upon our perception and understanding of the world. Using a wide variety of examples drawn from popular music, art music and other audiovisual media it will outline key issues relating to the sociology and philosophy of sound.
This module examines the film-music output of the composer John Williams. It considers the historical development of John Williams’ compositional style, in the context of Hollywood convention and the evolution of the ‘block-buster’. It situates his style in relation to classical and other relevant influences (especially late romantic and early modernist techniques). It considers the relevance of his close relationship with particular directors (e.g. Lucas and Spielberg). It relates particular compositional techniques (such as letimotif) to the filmic and narrative context. Delivery incorporates lectures, workshop, and directed activity. Assessment incorporates a discursive essay and a portfolio of case-study analyses. The module assumes the study and discussion of case-study examples, but is delivered and assessed in a manner which does not require technical music skills (i.e. notational literacy or formal analytical method).
This module explores the places and spaces of music, and how place matters for music practice, industry and experience. It does so through a series of case studies on places that differ in type and scale, from small music venues to cities and nations, and through perspectives and approaches drawn from various disciplines, including social anthropology, cultural geography, sociology, music and media studies.
We employ a range of teaching methods, including lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, master classes, 1-2-1 instrumental lessons, ensemble coaching, and online tasks and projects. The emphasis is on student participation and interaction. We fit the most appropriate mode of teaching to the particular subject, conscious that the learning process needs to be enjoyable, enabling you to acquire useful and marketable skills and knowledge.
Each module has an individually determined system of assessment (by coursework, written paper, test, recital, composition or technology portfolio, presentation or podcast, examination, and combinations of these), and we select the method that best suits the nature of the module.
We have a distinctive approach to education, the Liverpool Curriculum Framework, which focuses on research-connected teaching, active learning, and authentic assessment to ensure our students graduate as digitally fluent and confident global citizens.
Studying with us means you can tailor your degree to suit you. Here's what is available on this course.
Much of your teaching will take place in the Department of Music. Our recently renovated facilities include studios, teaching spaces and industry standard equipment, and we recently opened the Tung Auditorium: a 400-seat state of the art performance venue, which has been developed to support our requirements and to function as a public-facing space for concerts outside of teaching time.
From arrival to alumni, we’re with you all the way:
The Music department at the University of Liverpool is friendly and welcoming and I felt that I could really fit in to that environment. I have felt so at home within this department that I have chosen to continue my studies in this department right through from undergraduate to PhD.
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Studying Music opens up many career opportunities. As well as jobs in music (from performance, composition, and production, through to teaching, music therapy and community arts), employers in many sectors are increasingly seeking arts and humanities graduates for their transferable skills. As a music student you will achieve creative flair and imagination, confidence in expressing yourself, an openness to new ideas, a capacity for hard work and an ability to analyse data. You will learn the value of working with others towards a shared, finished product and a whole range of flexible, professional skills.
As a student in the School of the Arts, you will be supported to maximise your employability from day one. The School has its own placements and employability officer, and you will have the opportunity to undertake a work placement or a year in industry as part of your programme. We also have a student-run record label, through which you can gain practical experience of all aspects of the music industry – from contract negotiation and project planning, through to promotion and distribution.
At Liverpool, our goal is to support you to build your intellectual, social, and cultural capital so that you graduate as a socially-conscious global citizen who is prepared for future success. We achieve this by:
Hear what graduates say about their career progression and life after university.
Jake graduated in 2014, and is currently studying for a masters degree in Composition and Conducting at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, whilst working as a composer, music director and jazz musician. In the two years between graduating and beginning my MMus, I worked as a Composer and Music Director, specialising in music […]
Your tuition fees, funding your studies, and other costs to consider.
|UK fees (applies to Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland)|
|Full-time place, per year||£9,250|
|Year in industry fee||£1,850|
|Year abroad fee||£1,385|
|Full-time place, per year||£21,000|
|Year in industry fee||£1,850|
|Year abroad fee||£10,500|
Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching and assessment, operating facilities such as libraries, IT equipment, and access to academic and personal support. Learn more about tuition fees, funding and student finance.
We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This could include buying a laptop, books, or stationery.
Find out more about the additional study costs that may apply to this course.
We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to help cover tuition fees and help with living expenses while at university.
Scholarships and bursaries you can apply for from the United Kingdom
The qualifications and exam results you'll need to apply for this course.
My qualifications are from: United Kingdom.
ABB including A level grade B in Music or ABRSM Grade 8 in Music Theory at Distinction. If an applicant is taking Grade 8 in any instrument (or singing) a dual offer can be made: ABB or BBB with Grade 8 Distinction.
Applicants with the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) are eligible for a reduction in grade requirements. For this course, the offer is BBB with A in the EPQ.
You may automatically qualify for reduced entry requirements through our contextual offers scheme.
|GCSE||4/C in English and 4/C in Mathematics|
|BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma||
BTEC applications are encouraged. We evaluate each BTEC application on its merits and may make offers at DDM.
33 including Higher Level 6 in Music, with no score less than 4
|Irish Leaving Certificate||H1, H2, H2, H2, H3, H3 including H2 in Music|
|Scottish Higher/Advanced Higher||
Scottish Highers at AABBB plus Scottish Advanced Highers grade B in Music, combinations are also welcome.
|Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced||Accepted including 2 A levels at BB (including Music)|
|Access||Not acceptable without an A level in Music or ABRSM Theory Grade 8|
Many countries have a different education system to that of the UK, meaning your qualifications may not meet our direct entry requirements. Although there is no direct Foundation Certificate route to this course, completing a Foundation Certificate, such as that offered by the University of Liverpool International College, can guarantee you a place on a number of similar courses which may interest you.
Have a question about this course or studying with us? Our dedicated enquiries team can help.
Last updated 31 May 2023 / / Programme terms and conditions /