|About this course:|
|Course work includes:|
|6 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)|
|No residential school|
This course is an introduction to the principles of music, in which you will learn how music ‘works’. You’ll begin by examining the fundamental elements of Western music and comparing them with those of other musical cultures (such as India). In later units you will develop a more detailed understanding of western rhythm, melody, harmony, polyphony, instrumentation, structure and form. You will learn how to use these elements in song composition and – by the end of the course – will have written a complete song with piano accompaniment, using Sibelius music notation software.
Modules at Level 2 assume that you are suitably prepared for study at this level. If you want to take a single module to satisfy your career development needs or pursue particular interests, you don’t need to start at Level 1 but you do need to have adequately prepared yourself for OU study in some other way. Check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service to make sure that you are sufficiently prepared.
No current presentation - see Future availability
|This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2022.|
The course is designed for anyone who wishes to develop an understanding of the language and conventions of music in the Western tradition, ranging from art music (classical music) through jazz and musical theatre to modern popular genres. The purpose of the course is to examine the musical principles that underpin all these types of music, and to give you the opportunity to use the knowledge that you acquire in your own songwriting.
In order to write music, you will learn to use Sibelius music notation software. Some elementary knowledge of musical notation is assumed, but only to a level that anyone with experience of playing an instrument or singing is likely to have acquired. If you lack this experience, preparatory material is available. See Entry below for further details.
The core teaching texts of the course are grouped in three books. These incorporate strands of units on harmony, form, and songwriting, which are the spine of the skills teaching through the course.
Book 1 – covers:
Book 2 – covers:
Book 3 – covers:
The majority of units are in print, but several, including the five songwriting units, are online. There are also books of scores, audio CDs, a DVD, music notation software (Sibelius Student 6), online databases and quizzes, and preparatory material on music notation.
By the end of the course, you will have developed fluency in the following areas:
This is a Level 2 course and builds on the Level 1 courses The arts past and present (AA100), Voices and texts (A150) and Making sense of things: an introduction to material culture (A151). These courses develop skills such as logical thinking, clear expression, essay writing and the ability to select and interpret relevant materials. They also offer an introduction to a range of subjects in the arts and humanities.
If you have not studied at University level before, you are strongly advised to study Level 1 courses before progressing to Level 2 study.
An introduction to music theory on OpenLearn provides a good introduction to the specific skills of listening and writing about music. In addition, your regional or national centre will be able to tell you where you can see reference copies of an older module, Start listening to music (A179), or you can buy selected materials from Open University Worldwide Ltd.
You are expected to have some elementary knowledge of music and music notation, but you don’t require any formal qualification in order to start the course. If you have played an instrument, or sung in a choir or group, you may well have the experience that you need. The level of knowledge required at the start of the course is roughly that of Grade 3 Theory of the Associated Board (ABRSM) music syllabus. This includes the following:
If you have studied The technology of music (TA212) you will already be familiar with these aspects of music theory. The early units of A224 revisit these elements, but on the assumption that you have encountered them before, and have some ability to read music notation.
It is appropriate to study Inside music even if you have already studied the discontinued course Understanding music: elements techniques and styles (A214) as the content of the course is not the same.
We strongly advise you to look at the preparatory material to check whether you have the necessary knowledge to start this course. This is available on our OpenLearn website.
If the material covered there is unfamiliar, you should work through it before starting A224. It is best to do this over several weeks, so that you have time to absorb it, rather than trying to cram it all in immediately before starting the course.
In a less formal way, listening to, and thinking about, a wide range of music would be good preparation. The course ranges from classical through jazz and musical theatre to folk and pop music. The more you have already got into the habit of thinking as you listen, ‘What makes this music sound the way it does?’ the more you will be ready to embark on A224.
If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.
Throughout the course there are listening exercises, and exercises in which students are expected to know how their work will sound (notably in songwriting). These exercises may be very challenging for anyone with serious hearing impairment. If you have concerns about this, please contact a learning advisor in your region before enrolling on the course.
Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader, and musical notation may be particularly difficult to read in this way. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.
If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:
Books of teaching units, scores, online teaching units, audio CDs, DVD-Video, Sibelius Student music notation software delivered on disk.
CD player, DVD player (or a computer with DVD-ROM drive), manuscript paper.
Please note that the Sibelius Student music notation software, delivered on disk, is supplied with a Sibelius Scorch browser plugin which is currently only compatible with the following browsers:
The Sibelius Scorch browser plugin is currently not supported by Apple Safari 5.1 or Google Chrome. Mac users running OS X 10.6 or 10.7 are advised to use Firefox in 32-bit mode in order to run the Scorch plug-in. The software has not been tested with other operating systems such as Linux. Although a Linux computer may be suitable for the majority of the activities for this course we do not recommend using one for Sibelius Student music notation software as you may experience problems.
You will need a computer with internet access to study this course. It includes online activities – you can access using a web browser – and some course software provided on DVD.
You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.
You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. We may also be able to offer group tutorials or day-schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the course.
Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.
The assessment details for this course can be found in the facts box above.
You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.
The assignments will cover the following elements:
The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) allows you to use Open University (OU) courses as substitutions for the usual ABRSM prerequisites. This course can be used as a substitution for the ABRSM Grade 6 Theory, which is one of the two prerequisites required for entry to the DipABRSM Principles of Instrumental/Vocal Teaching. Visit the ABRSM website for more information.
The details given here are for the course that starts in October 2014. We expect it to be available once a year.
Students who studied this course also studied at some time:
We regret that we are currently unable to accept registrations for this course. Where the course is to be presented again in the future, relevant registration information will be displayed on this page as soon as it becomes available.
“I found this course very informative and stimulating, providing a real entry into songwriting and composing. The course is demanding ...”
“There is a desperate need for existing knowledge of HARMONY - which I did not have - PRIOR to studying ...”
“Thank you for your comments. Congratulations on your result and I hope that you feel that your hard work was ...”
The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.
For more information read Distance learning explained.
|About this course:|
|Course work includes:|
|6 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)|
|No residential school|
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