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.

Notation and Performance Practice MUSIC5080

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

The course illuminates the relation between notation and performance practice, including the study of the variety of styles, conventions and beliefs about performance within western music history and the forms of notation associated with them.


20x1hr lectures over both semesters; 5x1hr seminars and 5x1hr tutorials.

Requirements of Entry

Standard Entry to Masters at College Level

Excluded Courses

Notation and Performance Practice MUSIC4058

Notation MUSIC4021

Performance Practice MUSIC4025




Two x 1,500 word Essays (one in each semester) - 25% each

One portfolio of short transcriptions/editions - 25%

One practical demonstration of performance practice or one presentation of 15 min - 25%

Course Aims

This course aims to

■ Introduce students to issues concerning the notation and performance of music from the Middle Ages up to the present from a historical perspective

■ foster an awareness of stylistic differences in notation, performance and interpretation both in historical contexts and in current practices

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ explain the history, performance practices and associated types of notation of a range of instruments (incl. voice) at an advanced level

■ evaluate the differences between performance practices and notation in the present and those at various points in the past

■ critically discuss a range of contemporary performance practices such as improvisation, non-western music and historically-informed performance

■ apply the principles of historical or contemporary performance practice to performance

■ transcribe and edit scores from a range of periods and traditions and for various purposes

■ synthesise and apply a range of specialised theories and methods in the study of notation and performance practice

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.