Music of the Spheres

About this Module

Topic Description

This delivery of Intertextuality in Music, entitled Music of the Spheres, explores the relationship between music and physical and natural phenomena. Beginning with a consideration of the Pythagorean notion of music as a manifestation of proportion, a basic understanding of the physical and mathematical foundations of sound and sound organisation will be developed. This basis will underpin more detailed explorations into the relationship between music and number, music and time, and music and colour. Subsequently, we will consider how larger-form structures in music may have parallels with certain conceptual and natural structuring processes. Here, the notion of form as object versus form (or forming) as process will be considered. Throughout, we will attempt to relate the musical techniques under consideration to other artistic disciplines. The accompanying seminars and presentations will provide an opportunity to explore these relationships in greater detail.

Module Description

Through a structured series of lectures, seminars and presentations, students will examine the nature of music in the context of the other arts and explore the character of musical form and identity. In discussing music, terms are often applied to it which have become, through over use, taken for granted. What, for example, do we mean when we describe a musical work as Baroque, neo-Classical or Impressionistic? What is it for a piece to have ‘form’ and what would a work without form be like? In considering these issues music from a range of musical periods and cultures will be examined, in order to place it within an appropriate historical, cultural and aesthetic framework. Delivery of the course will be supported by a number of guest lectures from experts in related fields and also by group visits to relevant concerts, exhibitions and talks at local museums and art galleries. Each delivery of the module will offer one or more options drawn from an advertised list. Options may include: Music, Form and Identity; Music-Text-Voices, The Music of the Spheres; Jazz and Afro-American Music. Assessment comprises a mid-semester presentation and a prepared essay.