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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

MUSS2126 The Tools of Music Making

20 creditsClass Size: 25

Module manager: Dr James Mooney

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

How do musical instruments or technologies influence musical practice, composition, performance and listening? How have new musical instruments or technological developments changed the course of music history and, conversely, how do musicians shape the development of musical instruments or technologies? This module considers these questions and more through an investigation of the tools of music making – musical instruments and musical technologies. You will explore key studies of musical instruments (whether acoustic, electronic, or experimental instruments) and approaches to the academic study of musical tools and technologies, as well as theories and concepts that will help you to understand the relationship between music and the tools that are used to create it.


The module is designed to introduce students to the body of research and repertoire associated with the tools of music making – musical instruments and musical technologies. Students will engage with relevant scholarship to develop critical and analytical skills appropriate to the study of the tools of music making and their contexts. The module also supports the development of broader research and writing skills through dedicated sessions focused in these areas.

Learning outcomes
1. Demonstrate the broadening of their musical knowledge through musicological study of the tools of music making.
2. Evaluate sources to show critical understanding of a body of research.
3. Apply appropriate historical, analytical, critical and comparative methodologies to the articulation and development of arguments.
4. Demonstrate the development of research, and essay-writing skills.


Taught sessions will usually focus on specific topics from within the broad area of the tools of music making, offering a holistic exploration of the subject and more focused investigation of key aspects of these musics. The lecture-seminars will introduce key studies of musical instruments (whether acoustic, electronic, or experimental instruments), alongside discussion of approaches to the academic study of musical tools and technologies (e.g. musical instrument studies, science and technology studies, sound studies), and key theories and concepts.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.75
Total Contact hours19.25
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

4 hours evaluation of notes per topic lecture: 28 hours
7 hours reading and listening per topic lecture or seminar: 70 hours
Skills lectures preparation: 12 hours
Work towards assessment: 70.75 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Formative feedback will be provided on the literature review assignment through a plenary feedback seminar session, enabling all students to benefit from knowledge about common errors and examples of best practice from across the cohort. Formative feedback will also be provided through contribution to class discussions in lectures and seminars, and in the module tutorial.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3800-4200 words70.00
Literature Review1400-1600 words30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:26:00


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