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From composition to performance: musicians at work

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This theme-based module draws on a wide variety of musical traditions and periods, including western art music of the last 500 years, jazz, popular and film music, and music of non-western traditions. You’ll examine the processes by which music is formed and transmitted – composition, improvisation, performance, editing, and publication – and social and historical factors that shape those processes. You need appropriate knowledge of harmony, form and score-reading before you start the module; these will enable you to develop technical skills in tasks such as transcribing and editing music. The assessed essays require evaluation of historical and contemporary sources, listening to music and engaging with musical controversies and debates.

Modules at Level 3 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.

Register for the course


Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
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Registration opens on 30/04/14

October 2014 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

October 2014 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1625.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

October 2014 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

October 2014 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

October 2014 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1465.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

October 2014 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

October 2014 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

October 2014 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

October 2014 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

October 2014 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

Much of the music in this module comes from the western art tradition, commonly referred to as the ‘classical’ repertoire, but you will also be studying a good deal of music from outside that tradition, such as popular music, jazz, film music, and music from cultures other than those of western Europe and North America.

You will investigate:

  • processes by which music comes into being and is transmitted: composition, improvisation, performance, editing and publication
  • social factors that shape those processes (such as why orchestras developed as they did)
  • the nature of the historical evidence concerning those processes (for example, how do we find out how musicians improvised before the advent of modern recording technology?)
  • how far modern musicians and audiences can and want to interact with the past: what exactly is the modern ‘authentic’ performance movement trying to do?

Each of these themes appears to a greater or lesser extent in most of the blocks that make up the module. At the beginning of each block you will find an introduction explaining how its material relates to the module as a whole, and there are block conclusions to summarise the main issues examined. There are five blocks:.

The Composer in Context This block investigates why composers compose in certain ways, depending on the social and economic contexts in which they are writing. The subject matter includes musicians from Africa, South America and South Asia; composers of the English Reformation; Monteverdi; some composers for the early piano; Schumann, Chopin, Berlioz, Mahler, Debussy, Schoenberg and others.

What is Composition? A wide variety of compositional techniques is examined, looking at the working methods of Gluck, Beethoven and Elgar, as well as musicians outside the western art tradition: film composers; blues, rock and jazz musicians; and Indian and Indonesian musicians. Historical and modern improvisation techniques are also investigated.

Notation and editing This block begins with the development of notation and music printing. Historical editing techniques are described, and then the work of the modern editor is examined at length, in preparation for an assignment in which you edit music yourself.

Performance The history of instruments and their performance is traced by means of studies of keyboard, stringed, wind and brass instruments. The development of solo singing, choirs and orchestras is also discussed, as are certain elements of jazz and popular music performance, and there is a study of historical recordings.

Reception The history of a musical work does not end with its first performance. The audience’s response will affect the way in which the work is subsequently regarded and may lead to changes in a single work or in a whole tradition. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony; so-called World Music; and early twentieth-century European avant-garde music all feature here.

Entry

AA302 is a Level 3 module. Level 3 modules build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from previous studies at Levels 1 and 2. They are intended only for students with recent experience of higher education in a related subject, preferably at the OU.

The reading and writing skills developed in The arts past and present (AA100) and From Enlightenment to Romanticism c.1780-1830 (A207) would be ideal preparation for this module.

This module requires a knowledge of harmony, form and score reading at the level of our Level 2 music modules. You are strongly advised to study Inside music (A224), before taking AA302, unless you have already studied the discontinued module A214.   

Your regional or national centre will be able to tell you where you can see reference copies of the Level 1 and 2 study materials, or you can buy selected materials from Open University Worldwide Ltd.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Preparatory work

You would be well advised to listen to – and if possible consult – scores of a broad range of the western music repertoire from about 1500 to the present. Try also to listen to music from other cultures, and to familiarise yourself with some of the different strands in popular music of the twentieth century.

Regulations

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.

If you have a disability

Block 4, Performance, includes comparative listening activities which may be very challenging for students with hearing impairments. Alternatives to tutor-marked assignments which include listening exercises may be provided where there is evidence of a need for this based on a student’s additional requirements. If you have concerns about accessing any elements please contact a learning advisor in your region before enrolling on this module.

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 where applicable: musical notation and mathematical, scientific, and foreign language materials 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:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

Module books, other printed materials, DVDs, audio CDs.

You will need

Television, DVD player, CD player, manuscript paper. A keyboard is not essential, but you might find it helpful to have the use of one.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2007 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.6 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

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 module.  Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You can choose whether to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) on paper or online through the eTMA system. You may want to use the eTMA system for some of your assignments but submit on paper for others. This is entirely your choice.

One of the TMAs is double-weighted. You must be able to include notated music examples with your electronically submitted work.

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in October 2014 when it will be available for the last time.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Student Reviews

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Distance learning

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.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code AA302
Credits 60
OU Level 3
SCQF level 10
FHEQ level 6
Course work includes:
5 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
Examination
No residential school

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