MUS10200 Listening to Music

Academic Year 2021/2022

Listening to Music offers students the opportunity to develop critical listening skills through the close study of a number of musical works from diverse traditions and practices. Each week, a listening ‘challenge’ is introduced alongside a specific case study, and students are provided with the materials necessary to understand and work through these challenges. General topics covered include teleology and time, development and dissolution, motive and narrative, absolutism and individualism, and hearing difference. The case studies are taken from Western and Indian classical music, film music, traditional song, and popular music. Lectures are given by different faculty members from week to week, ensuring that students will always be learning from real specialists about musical examples they love.

This module is open as both a general elective and a first year music option module. First year music students may take this module if they have mastered the skills covered in MUS10210 (Musicianship). Please see that description for more details. While the ability to read music notation will enhance the experience of this module, it is not required for the kind of critical listening skills that we focus on, and it will not impact assessment.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Students who complete this module will:
- gain or enhance specific listening skills that enable a more detailed understanding of musical form and structure.
- undertake close and sustained study of a number of specific musical works.
- become familiar with social and historical contexts that shape listening and performance.
- develop the ability to write more fluently and confidently about music.

Indicative Module Content:

Week 1 – Introduction: What (and what not) to Listen for in Music
Week 2 – Time and Teleology in late Beethoven
Week 3 – Development and Dissolution in Hindustani raga
Week 4 – Motive and Narrative in Hitchcock’s Vertigo (score by Bernard Herrmann)
Week 5 – Absolutism and Individualism in Mozart’s Requiem
Week 6 – Hearing Difference: the case of ‘Amazing Grace’
Week 7 – Mode, Texture, and Theme in Debussy’s Voiles
Week 8 – Transition and Fissure in Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder
Week 9 – Genre and Identity in ‘Old Town Road’ (Lil Nas X)

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Students will be provided with a weekly resource pack on Brightspace (UCD's virtual learning environment), which will consist of audio (and sometimes video) examples of music, required and supplementary reading material, short videos and/or powerpoint slides, and (sometimes) musical scores. Students are also expected to attend a weekly lecture during which these materials will be discussed and presented. The assessment, a learning journal, allows students to then draw connections between the materials on Brightspace and the lecture content.

Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Journal: Formative learning journal: eight weekly entries (ca. 300 words each) that respond to prompts on Brightspace. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Journal: Summative Learning Journal: Submit the 3 best learning journal entries, which you can revise before resubmission. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Phase 1: Formative Each of the eight learning journal entries should be submitted by the Wednesday of each week (apart from the first week of the module). There will be prompts on Brightspace that will help you write these entries. You will receive feedback on these within two weeks of submission. This feedback will include an indicative, but not a final, grade. Phase 2: Summative After receiving feedback on each week’s learning journal, you will have the opportunity to revise and resubmit your entry. It is the revised and resubmitted entry that will receive a letter grade. All revised entries will be due at the end of the semester, but you may also submit them as you finish them.

Name Role
Dr Ciaran Crilly Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Tomás McAuley Lecturer / Co-Lecturer