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The University of Southampton

MUSI1020 Exploring Music 1

Module Overview

Offering a broad overview of European music in the Renaissance and Baroque periods, this module will also allow you to develop your academic writing skills. Lectures introduce styles and genres of the period, including the polyphonic Mass, the sonata, the concerto, the cantata, and opera. Follow-up seminars focus on individual pieces of music, and provide you with the opportunity to practise analytical and writing skills in small groups. Practical experimentation with Renaissance improvisation and demonstrations of early instruments provide opportunities for hands-on experience with early music styles and techniques. These sessions are geared for all music students and do not require any previous experience in performing early music.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the principal forms, techniques and styles of European art music from the period 1500-1750
  • basic principles of writing about music and music history
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • describe the principal characteristics of genres such as the polyphonic Mass, motet, cantata, and opera, in this period
  • demonstrate aural recognition of important Renaissance and Baroque styles
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • use word processing software to produce your work to an appropriate academic standard
  • use internet tools such as Blackboard to manage aspects of your own learning


This module is a broad overview of Western music in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Lectures and group activities provide ‘snapshots’ of particular styles and genres, including the polyphonic Mass, the madrigal, the sonata, and the concerto, the cantata and opera. The main materials of the course are a linked set of online recordings, a score anthology, and listening guide which provide a programme of listening and study for the entire semester; lectures are built around the same pieces included in the set, allowing for group discussion and analysis of the materials learnt in independent study. Readings, video and other supporting material on the contexts of the study pieces are provided in the course Blackboard site.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • lectures • small group work • IT work using Blackboard Learning activities include • group work exercises (in lectures, seminars, practical sessions and tutorials) • individual study and listening • accessing and interacting with online resources Innovative or special features of this module • a custom-made score anthology and set of recordings (available via Blackboard) of the set works • live demonstrations of early instruments and playing techniques

Completion of assessment task60
Follow-up work42
Preparation for scheduled sessions24
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Donald J. Grout and Claude Palisca. A History of Western Music. 

Trevor Herbert (2001). Music in Words: A Guide to Researching and Writing about Music. 


Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback • online group discussions via Blackboard • peer assessment through group work activities • group preparation of essay topics in seminars


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (1000 words) 50%
Essay  (1000 words) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (1100 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Students are encouraged to obtain, if possible (also recommended for MUSI 1003), Trevor Herbert, Music in Words: A Guide to Researching and Writing about Music [Cost: around £20]

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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