Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)

Module MUSI41330: Music Performance

Department: Music

MUSI41330: Music Performance

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2020/21 Module Cap None.
Tied to MA in Music


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To facilitate and aid student research at an advanced level into current aspects and developments in the field of Music Performance Studies of the Western classical music tradition in its broadest sense, both theoretical and practical
  • To deepen understanding of pertinent performance traditions and practices
  • To develop a capacity for critical reflection on the practice of performance, in accordance with research council definitions of research processes.


  • This module with engage with range of topics relevant to students’ areas of special interest and the expertise of the staff in performance-related research, as well as key intellectual , aesthetic, and practical issues pertaining to the study of performance. The module will be delivered as a series of seminars that will take a variety of forms. In some, students may be required to study set texts or musical scores; others may take the format of practical workshops or masterclasses.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • an advanced understanding of the relationship between theory and practice within performance
  • ability to assess scholarly and/or creative debates within the field of performance and to be able to evaluate contributions to these debates critically
  • the ability to assess critically different editions of a musical score
  • advanced knowledge of relevant musical repertories from a range of historical periods and geographical locations
Subject-specific Skills:
  • an advanced ability to formulate and articulate knowledge and understanding of concepts, theories and practices relating to performance
  • an ability to engage in sophisticated argument
  • a critically-informed awareness of the techniques of scholarly presentation, bibliographic and practical skills, as well as presentational conventions for public performances (including the use of modern technology where appropriate).
  • an advanced ability to describe and analyse works from a range of musical repertories, informed by an understanding of the socio-cultural matrices from which they emerged and of their specific formal and stylistic features
  • advanced competence in musical literacy.
Key Skills:
  • the ability to handle information and argument in a critical manner
  • the ability to communicate effectively and in a sophisticated fashion, both orally and in writing • effective time management and the ability to work to deadlines
  • deploy independent research skills using appropriate specialist tools and resources;
  • synthesise complex materials from a wide range of sources and to present them cogently in the form of written documents, oral reports, presentations, and musical performances, as appropriate
  • deploy problem-solving skills
  • demonstrate competence in information technology skills to support MA learning and research (e.g. by means of: word-processing and music-processing software; databases; presentation software; audiovisual editing and analysis software; graph- and image-processing; web-based resources; relevant technologies)
  • deploy advanced knowledge of professional conduct in meeting academic standards, including appropriate use of relevant ethical codes of practice and correct referencing of sources

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

  • In seminars, students will benefit from focused discussion with academic staff specialising in advanced performance research. Students will be expected to give short presentations and to contribute to discussions in those seminars to which they are not presenting. Typically, directed learning may include assigning student(s) an issue, theme or topic that can be independently or collectively explored within a framework and/or with additional materials provided by the tutor. This may function as preparatory work for presenting their ideas or findings (sometimes electronically) to their peers and tutor in the context of a seminar.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 9 fortnightly 2 hours 18
Directed learning 10 variable 1 hour 10
Preparation and Reading 272

Summative Assessment

Component: essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay (the essay should be on a topic relating to one of the seminar themes and chosen in consultation with the module leader) 5,000 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Regular reading assignments, written exercises, and oral presentations in which students reflect critically on the interpretative and technical challenges presented by the repertoire that they are studying, drawing on theoretical perspectives and methodologies current in the field of Performance Studies.

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