MUSA131-18S1 (C) Semester One 2018

Organum to Autotune

15 points, 0.1250 EFTS
19 Feb 2018 - 24 Jun 2018


An overview of Western music history from Medieval times to the present day, including the development of music notation systems, instruments, performance techniques, basic musical structures and genres, and the growth of the "music industry".

The discipline of musicology explores the role of music in history, society, and culture.  At its broadest, it includes all genres of music, and includes varied approaches to history, as well as exploring intersection of music and other topics (such as social and political change, revolution, and colonisation).

This course provides an introduction to a series of topics in music history, and an overview of the music of different historical periods.  It focuses on western cultures but also ventures into other traditions.  It includes a study of the history of music notation, instruments, performance techniques, genre development, and the growth of the "music industry".

The course takes the approach of a theme-based overview of socio-cultural topics in music history.  It provides the foundation knowledge and skills that are further developed in the second and third-year music history, world music, and popular music studies, and is a foundation and prerequisite course for 200-level MUSA history courses (MUSA231, 232, 233 and 244).

Topics covered in this course

*  Telling a story through music:  introduction to music theatre
*  From Herrmann to "Hype":  Music and moving image
*  Una voce poco fa:  Opera as music theatre
*  The virtuoso:  performance and display:  Paganini, Hendrix, and beyond
*  To write, or not to write:  improvisation and notation
*  The invention of polyphony:  Early organum and Notre Dame
*  Authenticity, the personal voice, and ownership:  Robert Johnson, Jordi Savall, and Thom Yorke
*  Organum to autotune:  The voice and the word in music
*  Recording, from cylinders to samples:  Mr Edison to Missy Elliott
*  Paying the piper:  Muses and markets, patrons and pop music
*  Music - organised sound?  The labelling problem

Learning Outcomes

Students who pass this course will
*  Be able to demonstrate an understanding and knowledge of important historic milestones and developments in Western music including the history of music notation, musical virtuosity, development of instruments and performance techniques, musical structures, music genres, authenticity and ownership of music, music with story and image, recording of music, digitisation of music and the music industry;
*  Have developed literacy and tertiary study skills;
*  Have acquired fundamental music research techniques including use of library resources related to music, including electronic databases.



Timetable 2018

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 12:00 - 13:00 A8 Lecture Theatre 19 Feb - 1 Apr
23 Apr - 3 Jun
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 13:00 - 14:00 A8 Lecture Theatre 19 Feb - 1 Apr
23 Apr - 3 Jun
Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 11:00 - 12:00 A7 19 Feb - 1 Apr
23 Apr - 3 Jun

Timetable Note


Student workload (150 hours) will be allocated to:
*  23 hours attending lectures
*  12 hours attending tutorials
*  20 hours preparing and writing research assignment
*  35 hours researching and writing essay
*  30 hours researching and writing review assignment
*  30 hours preparing for listening test


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Research Assignment 16 Mar 2017 20%
Essay 06 Apr 2017 30% (1600 to 1800 words)
Playlist Assignment 18 May 2017 20%
Listening Test 30 May 2017 30%

All assessments are due at 4 pm on the specified date.  Students must submit a hard copy, including an official School of Music assignment cover page, to the assignment drop-box in the School of Music foyer.  Assignment pages can be found in the School of Music foyer, and can also be downloaded from LEARN.

Use of Technology

This course assumes that you have sufficient information and technology skills to confidently use a computer to access material for your course.  Your written work will be handwritten and submitted in class time.

You will be required to access our learning management system – LEARN – and to become familiar with its tools.  LEARN provides easily-accessible information about the course and assessments, topics and deadlines, and supports the learning you will gain from attending all lectures and tutorials.  For help using LEARN, refer to:


Recommended Reading

Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner; Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music; Bloomsbury, 2013.

Peter Burkholder, Claude Palisca, and Donald Grout; A History of Western Music; 9th; Norton, 2014.

Additional Course Outline Information

Assessment and grading system

The following shows how to translate grades to numerical scores:

A+  90–100;    A   85–89;    A-  80–84;    B+   75–79;    B 70–74;    B-   65–69;     C+  60–64;     C  55–59;     C- 50–54;     D  40–49;   E  0–39
In a course at 100- or 200-level examiners may grant restricted credit (R) which will be equivalent to a pass for all purposes except as a prerequisite.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $834.00

International fee $3,888.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see Humanities and Creative Arts.

All MUSA131 Occurrences

  • MUSA131-18S1 (C) Semester One 2018