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.

Medieval Music: History, Theory, Practice MUSIC4094

  • 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

The course will introduce students to selected repertoires of medieval music through practical and theoretical engagement with primary and secondary sources. Students will learn to interpret some types of medieval notation and reflect on their significance as sources for historical performance practice through analytical study, transcriptions and practical exercises (e.g. group singing, improvisation), as well as through critical study of the broader cultural contexts in which these repertoires developed.


10 x 1 hour lectures

10 x hour seminars

Delivered over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory: admission into Music Honours. Visiting students should be studying Music or Musicology as their main subject at their home institution. All students should be familiar with Music theory to ABRSM Grade 5 standard, and feel comfortable engaging in basic musicianship exercises individually and as part of a group (e.g. group singing, rhythm clapping, etc.)

Excluded Courses





Essay (2500 words) - 50%

Annotated Transcript - 40%

Oral or written test covering aural, performance and/or composition skills (e.g. performance of a short piece, improvisation, pastiche composition) - 10%

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. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will 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

The course aims to:

■ Introduce students to basic concepts of medieval music theory through practical exercises and theoretical reflection.

■ Provide students with tools allowing them to critically reflect on the opportunities and challenges presented by notation and other medieval primary sources for the study of historical performance practices.

■ Foster critical understanding of the historical contexts in which medieval repertoires were composed, performed and disseminated, and of how these shaped both the repertoires themselves and their later reception.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Transcribe and/or sing/play from original notation in selected medieval repertoires.

■ Understand and discuss how critical engagement with such notated sources and with basic concepts in medieval music theory might inform modern performances of medieval music.

■ Critically evaluate such repertoires within their historical and cultural context.

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.