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  • Term Mode
  • Semester 1Online Unscheduled



Unit rationale, description and aim

Music graduates should be able to employ musicological research and writing skills to communicate information about the development and performance of music across diverse cultures and time frames.

The unit provides the context for an in-depth study of music including consideration of diverse styles, genres, specific periods, composers/practitioners, and culturally significant major works. Students will be guided to develop musicological research skills around reviewing literature, formulating research questions, gathering and analysing data, exploring theoretical frameworks and employing diverse methodology. This advanced-level unit is offered fully online.

The aim of the unit is to expose students to a range of modes of musicological research such as historical musicology, ethnography, style and style-change studies, biography, culture theory, and structural analysis.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Critically evaluate current knowledge and scholarship in music researchGC1
LO2Explain the cultural forces that have shaped different understandings of diverse musicsGC5, GC7
LO3Formulate research in the field of musicGC2, GC7, GC9
LO4Formulate and communicate research findings in writing and verballyGC3, GC11, GC12


Topics will include:

  • Diverse modes of musicological research such as historical musicology, ethnography, style studies, culture studies and music analysis
  • The nexus between music practice, music research, style change and broader cultural issues such as cultural appropriation
  • The mechanics of musicological research including reviews of scholarly literature; approaches to the use of primary source material; the formulation of research questions; issues of methodology; and an introduction to influential theoretical frameworks in contemporary musicological discourse
  • bibliographic citation and referencing, including specific music sources
  • techniques for analysing representative music works and scholarly articles

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

MUSC336 is an advanced level unit in which students are guided to develop musicological research skills. For this reason, the unit adopts an enquiry-based learning approach in which learning is driven by a process of inquiry owned by the student. This enables students to tailor their learning to individual expected professional outcomes resulting from their study in music. Students are guided to identify their own issues and questions and to examine resources in order to bring together and analyse relevant data.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures is used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. Such procedures include a seminar presentation in which students outline a research proposal, writing examples that include drafts of scholarly writing, and a major essay that reports on individual research.

As a fully online 300-level unit, it requires students to research and work independently on a chosen project with guidance from the lecturer-in-charge of the unit. The major project/essay is the culmination of work undertaken during the semester and the seminar presentation and online test form part of the scaffolding of the unit.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Seminar Presentation via an online forum or similar platform

Requires students to present a research proposal for approval. An online medium is used. 


LO1, LO3, LO4

Writing Task

Requires students to express current knowledge and scholarship in music research through scholarly writing.


LO1, LO3

Major Project/Essay

Requires students to research a selected aspect of music history, and/or music repertoire, and/or music practice and write a scholarly and appropriately documented paper on the topic.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Representative texts and references

Beard, David & Kenneth Gloag, Musicology: The Key Concepts. 2nd ed. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2016.

Bellman, Jonathan. A Short Guide to Writing About Music. 2nd ed. London: Longman, 2006.

Clendinning, Jane Piper and Elizabeth West Marvin. The Musician's Guide to Theory and Analysis. 4th ed. New York, NY: Norton, 2021.

Cutler, Timothy. Anthology of Music for Analysis. New York, NY: Norton, 2018.

Hanning, Barbara Russano. Concise History of Western Music. 5th ed. New York, NY: Norton, 2020.

Hawkins, Stan. The Routledge Research Companion to Popular Music and Gender. London: New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2017.

Herbert, Trevor. Music in Words: A Guide to Researching and Writing About Music. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Liamputtong, Pranee. Qualitative Research Methods. 5th ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Shuker, Roy. Understanding Popular Music Culture. 5th ed. Abingdon, NY: Routledge, 2016.

Rice, Timothy. Modelling Ethnomusicology. New York, NY: Norton, 2017. 

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