Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)

Module MUSI2681: Russian and Soviet Music, 1830-1960

Department: Music

MUSI2681: Russian and Soviet Music, 1830-1960

Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Not available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham


  • MUSI1261 Historical Studies 1


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To offer a critical introduction to key developments in musical life in Russia/the USSR between 1830 and 1960.
  • To study the creative achievements of significant composers during this period.
  • To deepen understanding of the relationship between musical creativity and the wider currents of artistic and intellectual life in Russia/the USSR, as well as the contemporary social and political context.


  • The course will survey significant developments in Russian/Soviet music between 1830 and 1960, covering topics such as: composers of the Silver Age; musical life after the Russian Revolution; the emergence of a musical avant-garde; the increasing politicisation of musical life during the Stalinist era: music and Socialist Realism; music during the Zhdanovshchina. It will build on the critical and analytical skills imparted in first year, and require the students to bring these to bear on a range of more sophisticated tasks.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will be provided with the opportunity to deepen their appreciation of the distinctive features of Russian/Soviet composition in relation to the social/cultural matrix from which it emerged, as well as to broaden their knowledge of mainstream repertoire.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will learn to apply appropriate methods of assessment from a broad range of critical standpoints, notably the historical, cultural and political, drawing especially on hermeneutic methodologies which seek to elucidate the relationships between artworks and their social/cultural context. They will also become familiar with key works by leading scholars of Russian/Soviet music of this period.
Key Skills:
  • The ability to identify and conceptualise key issues in the study of music from this repertoire, situate ideas in context, engage in critically informed argument and apply appropriate analytical methodologies.

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

  • The module will be delivered through lectures, seminars, and one-to-one tutorials. Formative assignments will be set in preparation for the summative tasks. The summative assignment will comprise a 4,000-word essay-based research project, which will provide an opportunity for students to develop key research skills and gain experience of exploring a topic in depth.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 9 Weekly in term 2 2 hour 18
Seminars 3 Three term 2 1 hour 3
Tutorials 2 Termly in terms 2 and 3 15 mins 0.5
Reading and Preparation 169.5

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay-based research project 5,000 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Research project proposal in preparation for the summative assignment. Oral presentations at the seminars.

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