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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

MUSS3420 Editing and Source Studies

20 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Dr Bryan White

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

Students are only required to have taken one of the pre-requisite modules.


MUSS2020Interpreting Music
MUSS2420Notation and Editing

This module is mutually exclusive with

MUSS3440Editing and Source Studies

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module develops your skills in editing and in working with musical and textual source material. An important focus of the module is the theory of editing, particularly with reference to modern editorial practices, and this theory is explored specifically through a series of readings on manuscript and print sources relating to music. Practical assignments in editing build on readings and theoretical discussions.


This module introduces students to finding and using musical and textual sources (manuscripts, printed books, letters and other documents) in the study of music. The handling, transcribing and understanding of source material is used to inform and develop more advanced studies in music editing. Students are exposed to a range of musicological methodologies, and will take an interdisciplinary approach to interpreting source material, calling upon, for example, historical, literary, sociological and cultural studies in interpreting sources. On completion students will demonstrate a range of editorial practices for dealing with music and text, and will demonstrate ability to find and assess a range of primary and secondary sources. They should be able to demonstrate this knowledge through practical exercises and essays (e.g. editing assignments, biographical writing, source description and interpretation), presenting their work in an appropriately clear and organised fashion.

Learning outcomes
1. Understand a range of editorial practices for dealing with music and text.

2. Select and apply editorial practices appropriately in their own work.

3. Locate and assess critically a range of primary and secondary sources

4. Demonstrate ability to present work in an appropriately clear and organised fashion.

Skills outcomes
Music Editing

Interpreting Musical Notation

Presenting Musical Notation


This module explores the theory and practice of editing (both text and music) taking appropriate examples from a range of historical periods and introducing a range of approaches to source studies (e.g. literary, cultural, sociological and ethnomusicological methods). Indicative topics covered may include: description of manuscripts, including introductions to paper studies and book production; techniques needed for the evaluation of the repertoires of particular manuscripts, including the making of inventories and the tracing of concordances; analysis of musical handwriting, and the techniques needed for the identification of the copyists of particular manuscripts; techniques needed for the investigation of the historical context of manuscripts, including research into the biographies of particular copyists; more advanced study of printed music, including an introduction to the analysis of musical typography and engraving, the bibliographical problems surrounding variant editions, and the study of music publishers and their output; and more advanced techniques needed to edit music from several sources, and from corrupt or difficult sources.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours181.50
Total Contact hours18.50
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

8 hours preparation per seminar (72 hours)
Research and preparation of essay (30.5 hours)
Research and preparation for project (79 hours)

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Individual tasks set weekly or biweekly often supported by online resources in Minerva. These assignments will be discussed in seminars to provide formative feedback; one assessed task will be returned with feedback and marks before the submission of the final project.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1400-1600 words25.00
ProjectEditing Project (equivalent to 4000-4500 words)75.00
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: 28/04/2023 14:43:21


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