Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)

Module MUSI42330: Audiovisual Documentation and Analysis

Department: Music

MUSI42330: Audiovisual Documentation and Analysis

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 enable students to undertake an audiovisual project that will result in the production of a high quality audio and video creative research output.
  • To learn advanced techniques of capturing, editing, outputting and analysing digital audio and video.
  • To develop audiovisual work informed by a theoretical background, including principles of visual anthropology and visual arts.


  • The module will discuss and demonstrate advanced techniques of capturing and editing audio and video, and teach how to produce high quality digital audio and video.
  • In addition to technical skills, the module will discuss structure and narrative in video production and develop understanding of the use of digital audio and video for documentation, analysis and creative work in a research context.
  • Students will acquire theoretical background, comprising elements of visual anthropology and visual arts, and will be expected to reflect critically on their work.
  • Topics considered may include but are not limited to the use of audiovisual documentation to analyse and represent musical practices, ritual traditions, cultural phenomena; history and perspectives of ethnographic film; audiovisual products as critical analysis and forms of advocacy.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • A range of techniques used to plan and produce audiovisual work that can illustrate and complement research in fields such as music (including ethnomusicology, performance and composition), visual arts and culture.
  • A range of theoretical tools which will enable them to critically relate to and analyse audiovisual production as a process and as an outcome.
  • Key issues in visual anthropology and visual arts, and awareness of a representative selection of scholarship concerning these issues.
  • critical understanding of theories and methodologies pertinent to the scholarly study of audiovisual analysis, drawn from varied disciplinary perspectives
  • advanced knowledge of relevant musical repertories from a range of historical periods and geographical locations
  • advanced knowledge of relevant creative and performative praxes
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will learn to capture digital audio and video, edit audio and video material, and output the final results as high standard audiovisual products.
  • an advanced ability to engage critically with theories and methodologies pertinent to the academic study of audio-visual analysis
  • an advanced ability to describe and analyse audio-visual materials 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
  • an advanced ability to draw upon appropriate theoretical perspectives and methodologies to study audio-visual materials while simultaneously deriving independent intellectual and creative insights from this activity
  • advanced competence in musical literacy
  • advanced competence in engaging with audio-visual materials of different kinds and in different formats
Key Skills:
  • Upon completion of this module, students will:
  • know how to capture digital audio and video to a high standard;
  • know how to edit with audio and video editing software;
  • develop an understanding of file formats, compression, encoding, etc.;
  • create audio/video work that demonstrates competence, technical accuracy, and effectively communicates the results of academic research (including music composition or performance).
  • engage in close readings of a wide range of challenging texts (musical, verbal, audio-visual, as appropriate)
  • 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
  • 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
  • deploy problem-solving skills
  • deploy organisational skills, including time management.

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

  • Seminars will introduce and demonstrate advanced techniques of capturing and editing audio and video, and discuss structure and narrative in the creation of audiovisual products. Students will present research reports and/or audiovisual samples in tutorials, in order to discuss the progress of the work during all stages of the media production: from planning, to pre-production, production, and finalisation. Personal dialogue with the supervisor will sharpen students' ability to critically evaluate their work, in particular in relation to its research context. Learning outcomes will be tested through the final summative assessment (c. 10-minute audiovisual production with 2500-word commentary and 500-word technical appendix), which is prepared gradually through the formative assignments. Students will also be expected to attend the Music Department's Postgraduate Seminar and Research Forum events, where they will benefit from exposure to the presentation of research at an advanced level by visiting and Durham-based scholars.
  • 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: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Audiovisual project (to take the form of an audiovisual production in the format of a high quality audiovisual product, and must be devised in consultation with the module leader) c.10 minutes, accompanied by 2500-word critical commentary and 500-word technical appendix 100% yes

Formative Assessment:

Short audio recordings (5 minutes) and short video recordings (3 minutes) will be submitted as formative work during the first term. A project proposal (500 words) and a short edited audiovisual project (5 minutes) will be submitted during the second term.

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