Introduction

Develop your creative musical interests into a wide range of career options with world-class expertise and mentoring in performance, composition and musicology. If you love listening or playing music to an advanced standard, or if you have started to compose music and understand the creativity involved, this programme will enable you to set your sights high in the music and arts industries. It will also provide a solid foundation for teaching or getting involved in progression careers.

This programme is studied on campus.

The MMus in Music will serve the needs of graduates who may want to continue their studies at postgraduate level, either prior to employment or as a bridge to higher postgraduate qualifications.

The aim of the Programme is threefold:

  • To provide a natural development from undergraduate programmes, both within and outwith the University of Aberdeen, to postgraduate study in the university in the areas of composition, musicology and performance allowing students to specialise further in these areas and in combinations of them where appropriate.
  • To provide a bridge between UG study and Postgraduate Research programmes in Music.
  • To continue to develop the research environment in the Department of Music.

The MMus will also offer an opportunity for a postgraduate qualification to graduates who have already worked for a number of years and would like to return to hone their musical skills at university as part of their continuing professional development (either on a full- or part-time basis).

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MMus
Duration
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
September

What You'll Study

Semester 1

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

Music Research Skills (MU5003) - 30 Credit Points

This course provides students with a thorough grounding in advanced research skills relevant to all three sub-disciplines (i.e., composition, performance and musicology) and highlights the interrelationships between them. Students will acquire the skills which will underpin work done for the Extended Project and which will also relate to the Music Research Seminar course. The function and purpose of research proposals will also be addressed and students will submit (as assessment for this course) a proposal which relates directly to their specialism.

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Optional Courses

Renaissance Counterpoint (MU5007) - 30 Credit Points

This course is intended both for those interested in Renaissance music and for composition students who wish to explore the many possibilities of musical invention within a very controlled compositional environment. To acquire the basic tools of Renaissance composition, students progress through counterpoint exercises in two and three voices. Through more advanced exercises in motivic placement, canon, invertible counterpoint, and the fundamentals of improvised counterpoint, students learn to structure a complete composition, culminating in a motet for three voices. In addition, works are studied through analysis of compositions.

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Vocalstration (MU5008) - 30 Credit Points

This course is designed to encourage composers and performers to engage with the ‘orchestrational’ aspects of composing for choir, with particular emphasis upon each section of the choir, its characteristics, compass and blend, and how each part relates to the whole; creating chords that utilise the choir fully, blending choral chords, voice-leading, structuring choral music; the joys and problems when composing for choir with accompaniment (piano, organ & orchestra) and arranging for the voice.

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Composing with Sound (MU5011) - 30 Credit Points

Students will be expected to listen to, analyse and critique a prescribed list of electroacoustic compositions as well as demonstrating how this informs their own practice in one to one composition tutorials. Bi-weekly composition seminars will allow students to discuss their own work within the context of that of pioneers and established composers in a variety of genres drawn from electroacoustic music and sound art.

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Orchestration (MU5012) - 30 Credit Points

This course will focus on the study of orchestration and instrumentation - the realisation of compositional ideas through an aural canvas of instruments, orchestras, bands and or voices of varying sizes and make-ups.

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Special Topics in Mediaeval and Renaissance Music (MU5013) - 30 Credit Points

This course will focus on current research topics within the field of Mediaeval/Renaissance music, using an important figure, manuscript, institution, or musical issue as a point of departure. Facets covered may include compositional and performance practice, history of theory, written/oral transmission, organology, and socio-political context. Example points of departure: Josquin Desprez, the Papal Chapel, French secular song, the Buxheim Organ Book.

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Composer, Player, Priest, Spy: Cultural Networks and the Music of Peter Philips (MU5014) - 30 Credit Points

Peter Philips (1560/61–1628) was born in England, but spent most of his life on the Continent. Some of his music may be considered 'renaissance', but in other respects he is a 'forward-looking baroque' composer. This course will examine his career and his music, using it as a case study for considering wider issues surrounding periodisation, nationalism, and the value placed on music that does not seem to belong a to mainstream 'school'. In the case of musicians for whom biographical information is incomplete, a narrative account of the composer's life and work may not be as instructive as an approach that examines the religious and cultural networks in which he operated as well as musical ones.

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Current Issues in Music Education (MU5015) - 30 Credit Points

In this course students will have an opportunity to engage with some current issues and practical challenges concerning music education in Scotland. It will examine a variety of topical and sometimes contentious issues and practical challenges concerning, for example, music in the Curriculum for Excellence, the role and status of instrumental music and extra-curricular music and composition.

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Contemporary Issues in Aesthetics (MU5016) - 30 Credit Points

This course will introduce students to the work of key contemporary texts in aesthetics relating to music and the other arts. Texts will be studied, discussed and related to one another. While selected texts will vary from year to year, readings will be taken from writers such as Adorno, Badiou, Benjamin, Barthes, Bloch, Boulez, Deleuze (and Guattari), Dahlhaus, Derrida, Dufrenne, Eco, Gadamer, Habermas, Heidegger, Husserl, Jameson, Jencks, Lachenmann, Lyotard, Nancy, Nietzsche, Rancière, Rihm, Sartre, Schoenberg, Serres, Sloterdijk, Spivak, Stockhausen, Vattimo, Wittgenstein, Zizek.

Examples of issues and questions that may be covered include the nature of modernity, post-modernity more idiosyncratic variable theorisations of recent aesthetic history; the nature and purpose of the contemporary artwork; the beautiful and the sublime; relationships between the arts; the materiality of contemporary art forms; musique informelle.

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Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

Music Research Seminar Series (MU5004) - 30 Credit Points

This course provides students with an applied understanding of advanced research skills relevant to all three sub-disciplines (i.e., composition, performance and musicology) and highlights the interrelationships between them. Students will engage directly with current issues in music research, experiencing different methods of dissemination of research through attendance at Research Seminars. These seminars are a forum for both external and internal speakers to present aspects of recent research undertaken. Students will carry out research for their own seminar (with accompanying written paper), based on a topic of interest to them.

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Optional Courses

Words and Music (MU5503) - 30 Credit Points

This course aims to explore the link between words and music and how composers set various texts through many and varied genres, including eastern music, western music and popular music, and nonsense texts. Intended primarily for composers, this course would also be of interest to singers, conductors and musicologists with an interest in text-setting. Word-painting, structural design and poetic understanding will all be explored.

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Contemporary European Opera (MU5504) - 30 Credit Points

In the mid-twentieth century, it seemed that opera was a dying art form, surviving at best on the back of a canon of great historical works. While its future prospects looked bleak, the composition of over 150 new operas in the period between 1978 and 2003 marked a perhaps unexpected renaissance of the genre. Students on this course will study the factors which led to the resurgence of operatic/music theatre composition in Europe. A range of key operatic/music theatre works by composers from France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom will be considered from a number of points of view.

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Electroacoustic Composition: the Voice and the Machine (MU5506) - 30 Credit Points

Seminar-based classes will provide an historical overview of electroacoustic music that utilises the voice as sound object. The theme of each seminar, focused each week around a different aspect of the voice and technology, will provide the theoretical, philosophical, and aesthetic basis for practical applications, focusing on particular cultural and aesthetic issues that concern the mediated voice in recorded sound. Running concurrently, practical, studio-based classes will provide a technical overview of software applications and of sound recording techniques, particularly looking at the way the voice is rendered, represented or transposed through the electronic medium.

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Sound Design for New Media (MU5509) - 30 Credit Points

This course introduces theoretical and practical aspects of sound design in a wide range of media, inclunding film, TV series, games and interactive platforms. Along with an in-depth analysis of sound design in films and TV series, such as Mirror by Tarkovsky, Gravity by Cuarón, and Weekend by Godard among others, students will acquire practical tools, technologies, and methodologies to create sound design for film and fixed media. Students are also introduced to Unity and FMOD, a game sound design framework used by AAA games, and encourage them to explore possibilites of sound design with new technologies.

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Enhanced Practice in Music Teaching and Learning (MU5515) - 30 Credit Points

This course provides opportunities for students to explore and critically assess a number of approaches to musical learning and the educational theories which underpin them. Participants will evaluate and apply these to their own practice settings, critically discussing issues and debates which may arise form the application of theory to practice. Students will carry out a comparitive study set in their own music education context, applying theory to practice.

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Sacred Music from Italy in the Eighteenth Century (MU5505)
Semester 3

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

Extended Project (MU50EP) - 120 Credit Points

This course enables students to be creative in developing their own independent and individual ideas through an extended research project in musicology and/or composition and/or performance resulting in a substantial piece of original work. They will acquire a range of skills, techniques and understanding enabling them to become effective researchers. The project outcome will be a dissertation and/or portfolio of compositions and/or a performance recital demonstrating original research. The exact nature of the project is the result of negotiation between supervisor (or supervisory team) and student, subject to the approval of the programme coordinator.

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Extended Project Module B (MU5006) - 60 Credit Points

This course enables students to be creative in developing their own independent and individual ideas through an extended research project in musicology and/or composition and/or performance resulting in a substantial piece of original work. They will acquire a range of skills, techniques and understanding enabling them to become effective researchers. The project outcome will be a dissertation and/or portfolio of compositions and/or a performance recital demonstrating original research. The exact nature of the project is the result of negotiation between supervisor (or supervisory team) and student, subject to the approval of the programme coordinator.

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Course Availability

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Assessment is by research proposal (Music Research Skills), oral presentation and supporting documentation (Music Research Seminar Series) and project portfolio (negotiated) with accompanying commentary (Extended Project).

Why Study Music?

  • Expert tuition from specialists across the musical spectrum.
  • A wide range of interesting and imaginative courses.
  • Flexibility to tailor the degree to your specialisms.
  • You can join a Symphony Orchestra, Choral Society, Chapel Choir, String Ensemble, Viol Consort, Recorder Consort, New Music Group, Baroque Ensemble, Concert Band, Big Band, chamber groups and more.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

Candidates must normally possess a degree at 2(ii) or above, or an equivalent qualification or proven experience in Music.

References are not required in order for applicants to submit an application. They are not usually required in order for a decision to be made but in certain cases applicants may be asked to provide a single academic reference at the request of the academic selector.

English Language Requirements

All students entering the University must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study effectively at the University of Aberdeen.

Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. This programme requires that you meet the College of Arts and Social Sciences Postgraduate Standard level of English proficiency.

If you have not achieved the required scores, the University of Aberdeen offers pre-sessional English courses. Further details are available on our Language Centre website.

Nationals of some English-speaking countries or those who hold degrees from some English-speaking countries may be exempted from this requirement. Details of countries recognised as English-speaking can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £6,300
Tuition Fees for 2018/19 Academic Year
International Students £15,000
Tuition Fees for 2018/19 Academic Year

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Funding Opportunities

The SFC Postgraduate tuition fee scholarship may be available for those classified as Home/EU fee status students for this programe. Visit the scholarship page for more information.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Postgraduate Open Day

Our next Open Day will be on

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Careers

Students entering the BMus might have specific career aspirations from the start. The programmes are specifically designed, however, so that those who wish to pursue a career in music but don’t want to tie themselves down to one particular career path are able to benefit from a two year experience in music before choosing a specific programme. For students following the BMus with Honours (Education) programme, the main career prospects are in teaching, and those graduating with the BMus with Honours (Music and Communities) are well placed to take opportunities for working in community music. For those following the BMus with Honours programme, the main career prospects include editing, writing and presenting music, composing and performing. The degree can also be used as an entry to other professions, as is the case with other degrees, where subject specialism is not important.

Students entering the BMus might have specific career aspirations from the start. The programmes are specifically designed, however, so that those who wish to pursue a career in music but don’t want to tie themselves down to one particular career path are able to benefit from a two year experience in music before choosing a specific programme. For students following the BMus with Honours (Education) programme, the main career prospects are in teaching, and those graduating with the BMus with Honours (Music and Communities) are well placed to take opportunities for working in community music. For those following the BMus with Honours programme, the main career prospects include editing, writing and presenting music, composing and performing. The degree can also be used as an entry to other professions, as is the case with other degrees, where subject specialism is not important.

Our Experts

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture
University of Aberdeen
King's College
Aberdeen
AB24 3UB