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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PECI1708 Exploring the Musical

20 creditsClass Size: 55

Module manager: Dr George Rodosthenous

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module will provide a guide to the history and development of the Hollywood, Broadway and West End musical. Students will listen to and study examples of musicals from a range of twentieth century composers. There will be an exploration of the relationship between cinematic and theatrical narratives and musical structures. Students will consider the impact of economic, political, social and technological factors upon the musical/ film industries. This module will also examine the social/political propaganda in the musical, narratives and sub-texts, 'dream sequences', the 'exotic musical', non-mainstream musicals and recent trends of the musical, the ‘mega musical’, ‘juke-box musical’, etc.


On completion of this module, students should be able to:

Understand the historical development of the musical
Explore the relationship of song and dance as performative gestures
Study the complexities and hidden narratives of the genre

Learning outcomes
- To understand and be able to utilise the basic vocabularies of the form appropriately
- To recognise the structural conventions of a range of examples of the genre
- To be able to demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the music and the dramatic components of the genre
- To explain key socio-political contextual themes within their analysis(es).

Skills outcomes
On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
demonstrate an awareness of the scholarly literature and research in the area of musical theatre;

demonstrate an understanding of the history of musical theatre;

undertake analysis of specific examples within the genre;

demonstrate an understanding of the interaction between the key elements of musicals;

show an awareness of the social, cultural and political significance of musical theatre


Indicative Themes and Structure:
- Introduction to the Musical (Functions, audiences and context)
- Narratives and Sub-texts (American in Paris/South Pacific)
- The ‘modern’ musical: cultural fusion (Westside Story)
- Behind the ‘scenes’ (Singin’ in the Rain)
- Representation and Authenticity (Cabaret)
- Myth and adaptation; stage to Hollywood. (La Bohème to Moulin Rouge)
- The Rise of the Rock Musical. (Lloyd Webber – Superstar)
- British Musicals Billy Elliot/Matilda
- American musicals (Across the universe / The Spider Man)

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment14.004.00
Independent online learning hours176.00
Private study hours0.00
Total Contact hours24.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Preparation for Taught Sessions (c. 20hrs)
Preparatory reading, listening and viewing of exemplars is required for most lectures

Review of Taught Sessions (c. 20hrs)
Taking careful notes: to keep the information needed for later use and to check understanding
Reading of slides and follow up materials posted on the VLE for most taught sessions.
Organising notes. Looking for common patterns and obvious gaps that need to be filled.

Planning and Researching Assignments (c. 86hrs)
Gathering of resources: books, journal articles, electronic resources – to complete the assignments
Reflective reading: ensuring students draw on a good range of resources and compare different angles.
Critical examination of sources - looking out for different points of view from different scholars and asking ‘who is right, and why?’ Looking for hard evidence to support ideas
Extensive research into chosen topic (supported by small group seminars)
Collectively negotiating content and responsibilities for group presentation.

Presentation of Assignments (c. 50hrs)
Reflective writing: drafting, completing, proof-reading the essay and complying with appropriate presentational styles.
Creating and checking presentation materials, rehearsing presentations, etc.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Contribution to classes.
Discussion with tutors (as appropriate)
Specific assignment support in small group seminars

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3,500-4000 words70.00
PresentationGroup circa 15 min30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Alternative assessment is set according to individual circumstances and approved via Exams Tutor and Pro Dean SE

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/06/2021 13:18:25


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