Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Romantic Song (MA/BEng/MEng Hons) MUSIC4038

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

A course designed to introduce students to the genre of Romantic and post-Romantic 'art song'. Close literary and musical analysis of representative case studies from the 19th to the 20th century (e.g. Schubert, Schumann, Mahler) will explore questions that arise with the translation, analysis and interpretation of Romantic poetry, and again with the setting of poetic texts to accompaniments for piano or larger instrumental forces.


Runs alternate years, please check Handbook for details. Two one-hour lectures and one one-hour discussion class per week.

Requirements of Entry

Admission to MA or BEng/MEng Hons.


Two essays of c. 2500 words, each weighted 50%, due mid and end of the semester.

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ introduce honours students to the complex interplay of literary and musical concerns that informs the nineteenth- and twentieth-century 'art song' genre.

■ foster advanced skills in the reading and analysis of Romantic and post-Romantic poetry, taking account of the problems of translation and the many aspects of poetic craft.

■ develop a sophisticated sense of the compositional questions raised by musical 'text-setting', as evidenced through well-developed critical considerations of the hybrid nature of 'song' as a genre.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

■ Write a well-structured honours-level analytical essay about a given poem and its musical setting, giving thought both to the seemingly straightforward interactions and to the points of possible tension between words and music.

■ Demonstrate an ability to weigh the irreducible range of meanings encapsulated in any poem and its song setting, along with an honours-level attunement to the challenge of articulating a coherent critical 'reading'.

■ Engage in discussion of art song as a generic tradition mediated not only by the composer's musical 'appropriation' of the poem, but also by various performance traditions.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.