TOPIC STUDY 2B - 2025/6

Module code: MUS2062

Module Overview

The purpose of this module is to build on the knowledge and skills you have acquired in FHEQ Level 4 in research methods, discussion and writing about music of the Western classical tradition or popular repertories through the study of a single work or a small group of works or the study of a single album or group of tracks and its/their various contexts. The module provides further foundation for historically based study at FHEQ Level 6.

This topic will change each year and indicative topics may include Popular Music and New Media, Popular Music and Culture, Musical Theatre, Opera Studies, Historical Performance Practice, Studying Music as Performance, and English Music from Elgar to Britten (this is not an exhaustive list). 

Module provider

Music and Media

Module Leader

MCGRATH John (Music & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 84

Lecture Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 22

Captured Content: 22

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None for Music/CMT/Tonmeister students

Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • What it might mean to understand music.

  • The roles and limits of contextual enquiry and close reading.

  • Reciprocal relationships between contextual enquiry and close reading.

  • Ways in which understanding popular music might be different from understanding music from the Western Classical tradition.

  • The relationship between lyrics and music in popular genres.

  • Selection of appropriate approaches for the study of popular music tracks.

  • Selection of appropriate approaches for the study of particular works.

  • Examination of a selected work or small group of works using a variety of approaches.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ESSAY (3000 WORDS OR EQUIVALENT) 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the issues surrounding academic study of music through engagement with selected work(s) and their contexts.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

A coursework essay with a maximum length of 3000 words (or equivalent) plus bibliography (addresses LOs 1–6)

Formative assessment

A plan and (if applicable) bibliography.


Detailed written feedback will be provided within semester three weeks for the summative assessment.

Formative feedback will be given to students during class discussions as well as during individual tutorials on coursework plans.

Module aims

  • Develop your knowledge of approaches to the historical, cultural and technical understanding of music from the Western classical tradition or popular repertoires.
  • Further develop your skills and confidence in discussing Western classical music or popular repertoires to a level suitable for study at FHEQ Level 5.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Discuss a range of historical and technical issues identified regarding the work or works or album of tracks examined in the module KCT
002 Undertake the research and thinking required to formulate a suitable coursework essay topic CT
003 Construct a cogent argument in written form KCT
004 Demonstrate the ability to access physical and online research resources in the library and through the library webpage T
005 Cite and reference the work of others correctly T
006 Compile a bibliography following departmental guidelines T

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:

Develop awareness of some of the intellectual means by which understanding of music is sought and achieved, and develop the ability to employ some of these means to inform discussion of the selected work(s). This will involve directed reading and listening, class discussion, and the formation of critical responses to secondary literature in the coursework essay. The strategy will also reinforce techniques and styles of academic writing and analysis introduced in the FHEQ Level 4 modules Encountering Music History, Music Project 1A, and the Topic Study modules that are critical to success in FHEQ Levels 5 and 6.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures, incorporating class discussions as appropriate

  • Guided reading and listening.

  • Use of SurreyLearn.

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: MUS2062

Other information

The Department of Music and Media is committed to developing graduates with attributes encompassing employability, digital skills, global and culture awareness, sustainability as it relates to music and the wider arts and, finally, resourcefulness and resilience.

This module provides opportunities to engage with these attributes in myriad ways including:

Cultural and global capabilities: developing an appreciation of different artistic cultures and traditions internationally, encompassing a range of practices as performer, creator, consumer and/or researcher of music as a cultural and global phenomenon.

Digital capabilities: these may include conducting research using digital resources (text, score-based and audio), preparation of digital documents (e.g. word processing) and specialist music software (e.g. notation software; applications used in the creation of music) to create digital artefacts.

Resourcefulness and resilience: independence of practice, developing skills and work for assessment, maximising available resources, finding creative ways to address assessments and exercising resilience in doing so, overcoming difficulties and other challenges in undertaking a wider range of pursuits.

Sustainability: depending on the topics studied during the modules and the students’ pursuit of independent study for assessment, issues of sustainability may also be addressed.

Employability: developing a general awareness of music, culture and society suited to many careers in the diverse arts industries, as well as transferable skills appropriate to all graduate destinations.

These values are embedded within the module's learning outcomes and educational aims, and throughout the programme.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) BMus (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Music BMus (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Creative Music Technology BMus (Hons) 2 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 2025/6 academic year.