Module code: MUS2064

Module Overview

This optional module considers the history and repertories of the genre of the Anglo-American musical (broadly defined to encompass a diverse tradition of predominantly sung stage works epitomised by the West End in London and Broadway in New York) from its modern origins to the present. It seeks to examine the scores through analysis, tracing musical features such as recurring motifs and reprises, as well as to situate the shows themselves within the social, racial, economic, and political contexts of the day, identifying how they reflect a range of contemporary issues including race and gender. It further considers the musical relationships between musical theatre, art music (particularly opera and operetta), and popular music (rock, pop, and the concept album), by way of rehabilitating the musical within parallel artistic traditions, building on knowledge of these traditions gained elsewhere on the programme and exploring where the boundaries lie.

Module provider

Music and Media

Module Leader

WILEY Christopher (Music & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 40

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 95

Lecture Hours: 22

Captured Content: 33

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

Pathways in Musicianship B: Performance and Composition (or equivalent) for students opting for the Public Performance or Composition assessment. No other pre-requisites/co-requisites for Music students. Students on other programmes may be admitted on an individual basis with the permission of the Module Leader.

Module content

Indicative content includes (case studies given in brackets):

¿ Gilbert & Sullivan: Politics, Parody, and Patter Song (The Mikado)
¿ The Musical in Early Twentieth-Century America (Show Boat)
¿ Rodgers & Hammerstein (Carousel)
¿ Bernstein on Broadway (West Side Story)
¿ Stephen Sondheim (Into the Woods)
¿ Musicals and Film, Film and Musicals, Film Musicals (Singin' in the Rain)
¿ The Rise of the Megamusical (Miss Saigon)
¿ Andrew Lloyd Webber (Cats)
¿ Rock, Jukebox Musicals, and Celebrity (Rent)
¿ Television Tie-ins (Jesus Christ Superstar)
¿ Musical Theatre in the Twenty-First Century (Hamilton)

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Contribution to Discussion Forum 40
Coursework Essay (3000 words) / Performance / Composition 60

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate longitudinal reflection and breadth of learning through the weekly contributions to the online discussion forum, as well as to complement their knowledge of the wider context of musical theatre repertories with in-depth study of specific musical theatre works through the other coursework and optionally to undertake a practical performance-based or composition-based assessment related to musical theatre.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:
¿ Contribution to Discussion Forum [40%]: weekly contribution to online discussion forum (recommended minimum contribution of one entry of 100-200 words per week). (addresses learning outcomes: 2, 4, 5)
¿ Elective Coursework [60%]: Choose one from the following list ¿
(i) Public Performance of an extract of musical theatre (not more than 8 minutes)
(ii) Oral Presentation (not more than 20 minutes, plus questions)
(iii) Written Coursework (not more than 3,000 words, or equivalent)
(iv) Composition/arrangement/orchestration (one song)
(addresses learning outcomes: 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8)

Formative assessment
Formative assessment in this module may include in-class tasks and formative draftwork submissions.

Feedback will be delivered through a range of methods including verbal feedback in lecture discussions and individual tutorials, feedback given on formative draftwork, and feedback arising from contributions to the online discussion forum.

Module aims

  • to examine a variety of different types and repertories of Anglo-American musical theatre from its modern origins to the present, and to investigate them through a range of critical perspectives
  • to consider the issues raised by the academic scrutiny of musical theatre and the methods by which such repertories may be appropriately studied
  • to examine the scores themselves through musical analysis, and to consider the specific issues raised by the musicological study of musical theatre repertories
  • to identify general trends in the history of musical theatre by drawing connections between themes explored in different lectures

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Evaluate central issues in scholarship on musical theatre (C, K) CK
002 Appreciate a broad range of Anglo-American musical theatre from its modern origins to the present and major developments that have taken place during that time (K) K
003 Develop and apply analytical methods suitable for the musicological discussion of musical theatre repertories (C, K, T) CKT
004 Examine musical theatre within a wider theoretical basis, drawing on a number of different disciplines (C, K, T) CKT
005 Engage in discussion and longitudinal reflection throughout the module (C, T, P) CPT
006 (for those undertaking the Public Performance assessment only) Develop and apply interpretive strategies suited to the performance of musical theatre (K, P) KP
007 (for those undertaking the Public Performance assessment only) Perform in a manner that demonstrates effectiveness of communication, technical fluency, and confident stage presence (T, P) PT
008 (for those undertaking the Composition assessment only) Demonstrate a stylistic awareness of musical theatre through original composition, arrangement, or orchestration (K, T, P) KPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

explore a series of identified set works through music analysis and through examination of pertinent critical issues, situating them within the wider historical context of musical theatre and of music history, thereby relating to historical, contextual, and analytical studies encountered elsewhere on the programme. These studies will be supported by screenings of the works in question to ensure familiarity on the part of the student. Breadth of learning in relation to musical theatre repertories will be further nurtured through weekly contributions to the online discussion forum, while students will gain further depth of knowledge through the other coursework assignments.

The learning and teaching methods include:

¿ One two-hour lecture per week, incorporating student discussions
¿ Screenings (up to 3 hours per week) of musical theatre productions and films
¿ Individual and/or small group tutorials
¿ Guided reading, listening, and viewing
¿ Use of online learning environment
¿ Electronic voting
¿ Coursework and feedback
¿ Possible tie-in activities including performance

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: MUS2064

Other information


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Creative Music Technology BMus (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.