Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)

Module MUSI1211: Musical Techniques

Department: Music

MUSI1211: Musical Techniques

Type Tied Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to QRV0
Tied to W300


  • A-Level Music or equivalent.


Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • Students will gain a basic understanding of contrapuntal techniques and the resources of common-practice harmony as employed by composers of Western art music from the sixteenth to the early nineteenth centuries, as well as an insight into a range of musical styles from this historical period.


  • The range of topics covered in any one year may include (but will not necessarily be restricted to) the following: (a) harmonisation of chorales in the style of J. S. Bach; (b) strict counterpoint; (c) sixteenth-century counterpoint (in the style of Palestrina and his contemporaries); (d) figured bass and the Baroque trio sonata (Corelli and contemporaries).

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will acquire a basic theoretical and practical knowledge of harmony and counterpoint, as well as the ways in which composers employed these resources during the historical period specified.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will develop a deeper understanding of musical styles and an insight into the craft of composition during the historical period in question.
Key Skills:
  • Students will acquire an understanding of the fundamentals of musical grammar and syntax as employed by composers during this historical period, gaining practical experience through regular assignments in pastiche composition. They will also develop more generic study skills relating specifically to score-based work which were introduced in the induction week at the start of the academic year.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Teaching will be by weekly lectures and tutorials distributed throughout the year. Students will be asked to do weekly or fortnightly formative exercises to develop their fluency in composing in various historical styles and to deepen their stylistic understanding. Students will submit two portfolios of summatively assessed coursework and will sit an examination at the end of the year.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
lectures 21 weekly 1 hour 21
tutorials 3 termly 1 hour 3
Reading and Preparation 176

Summative Assessment

Component: Portfolio of works Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Portfolio 1 50% Yes
Portfolio 2 50% Yes
Component: Written exam Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written exam 2 hours 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Formative assignments will be set weekly/fortnightly

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University