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.

Music Criticism in Theory and Practice MUSIC4075

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

A course designed to introduce honours students to the conceptual bases, influential models, and guiding principles of current academic music criticism. Students will be guided in the development of a portfolio of different forms of critical writing, tailored to different potential readerships and publishing venues. The course also encourages students to engage critically with a broad range of live music culture in Glasgow, UNESCO City of Music, and throughout Scotland.


2 hours (1 hour lecture, 1 hour seminar) per week for 10 weeks as scheduled in MyCampus. This one of the Honours options in Music which may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into Music, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses

Historiography & Criticism (Honours) (MUSIC4018), Music Criticism in Practice (MUSIC4049)


Seminar presentation of 15 minutes - 40%


Portfolio of critical music reviews (3000 words). Normally each review will be between 250 and 500 words, to be handed in at the end of the semester. - 60%


Essay (3,000 words), to be handed in at the end of the semester - 60%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

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 will provide the opportunity to:

■ introduce honours students to the conceptual bases of current academic music criticism

■ foster a meta-critical perspective on music writing of all kinds, through close study of key traditions, models, and debates.

■ develop a sense of the entanglement of musical writing in ongoing debates about culture and identity.

■ enable students to develop flexible, genre-specific skills in writing critical reviews of musical performances different styles and genres, tailoring the result to different potential readerships and to the publication standards of different print and online media

■ enhance students' critical listening in concerts and other musical events, and their critical awareness of cultural contexts.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ deliver a seminar presentation on a selected issue in music criticism, efficiently evaluating published models and reflecting in depth on scope and content.

■ engage in informed discussion and analysis of key cultural-critical concerns as they impinge on the writing of music criticism through critical openness to a range of familiar and unfamiliar genres and repertoires.

■ evaluate and apply a range of approaches to writing about music, supported with evidence drawn from attentive reading and listening.

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.