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Last modified: 27 Feb 2018 18:13

Course Overview

English seventeenth-century keyboard music will be studied from a number of perspectives. Students are introduced to manuscript sources of the music, the editorial principles underlying several approaches to modern editions of the repertoire, and the relation between composer, scribe and performer. The traditional notion of the period in the mid-century being a 'transition' between the music of the so-called virginalist school and that of Purcell and his contemporaries will be challenged by examining whether the repertoire should be regarded as functional or autonomous. Pieces by representative composers will be introduced in relation to genre distinctions, and especially instrumental designation. Elements of performance practice, such as the interpretation of ornament signs and early fingering, will be covered through practical sessions.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Professor David J Smith

Qualification Prerequisites


What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • Music (MU)
  • Either Programme Level 4 or Programme Level 5

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • MU4552 Seventeenth-Century English Keyboard Music (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course involves a study of keyboard music mainly by William Byrd and his contemporaries, and examines the way keyboard music was used in the home by amateur players. As well as studying repertoire by named composers, it covers the contexts in which such music was played, the instruments it was played upon and aspects of performance practice. It combines musicological exploration with a practical element: students of all levels of keyboard proficieny from beginner to advanced will have the opportunity to learn from playing.

Degree Programmes for which this Course is Prescribed


Contact Teaching Time

Sorry, we don't have that information available.

Teaching Breakdown


1st Attempt:

Essay of 3,000 words (70%).

Scholarly edition OR performance (30%)

Formative Assessment



Feedback on the essay will include detailed annotations to the script made either electonically (using Turnitin and My Aberdeen) or by hand. In addition, each student will have a short one-to-one tutorial where they can respond to the feedback in discussion with the marker.

Feedback on the scholarly edition will be by means of annotation to the work, and for those choosing the performance assessment, a feedback form will be completed.

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