Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)

Module MUSI3611: Contemporary Music Performance

Department: Music

MUSI3611: Contemporary Music Performance

Type Tied Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to W300


  • MUSI1241 Performance 1: Practice through History (with recital) OR MUSI1291 Performance 1: Practice through History (with essay)


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules


  • To develop an understanding and practice of performance in contemporary and new music, that reflect and respond to the development in creative composition; to increase historical and theoretical understanding about the relationship between composition and performance; to encourage creativity and critical independence as a performer.


  • This module addresses a gap between two well-established disciplines of performance and composition. Students will study key features of contemporary and new music from the performance perspective. These include 1) the development of skills and strategies in reading varied notations, and 2) the understanding of theory and practice in topics associated with contemporary music, including extended techniques, new instruments and microtonality.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students gain practical and critical understanding of how music can be realised and performed. This may include a) understanding of interpretive exegeses, b) assessment of expressive potential in unfamiliar musical compositions, and c) understanding of the expressive potential and capabilities of musical instruments.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will be 1) more informed about the practicalities of performing new music, and 2) able to approach compositions strategically to prepare for a performance.
Key Skills:
  • Students will be able to demonstrate a rounded approach and understanding to contemporary music

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

  • Core material via lectures and seminars across three terms. Three tutorials per term and in later terms, two 2-hour workshops.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures/Seminars 17 7/7/3 1 hour 17
Workshops 2 One in 2nd and 3rd terms 1 hour 2
Tutorials 9 Three in each term 30 minutes 4.5
Individual lessons 14 Divided over terms 1 and 2 1 hour 14
Preparation and Reading 162.5

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
3,000 word essay to be submitted in the Epiphany Term 3,000 words 100% No
Component: Portfolio Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
20-minute performance in solo and/or small ensemble in Easter Term 20 minutes 100% No

Formative Assessment:

one written assignment in term 1, one seminar assignment in term 2.

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