MUS20030 Studies in Irish Music

Academic Year 2021/2022

In this module the structure of Irish music is analysed, including consideration of the history and styles of ornamentation of the most common instruments. The most important dance types will be explored in some detail. Students will also explore the history of singing in the tradition and will be exposed to some of the major exponents of that tradition. Some of the most important collectors will be examined in relation to their times. Students will be guided through a field project that they will pursue independently, and that will form part of their continuous assessment.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to:·
- Identify and analyse the major dance types in Irish music·
- Provide an overview of sean-nós style and structure·
- Provide a comparative perspective on English-language traditional song
- Outline the history of at least two collectors of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries·
- Assess the relative efficacy of performance theory and various performance venues

Indicative Module Content:

Major dance types
Instruments of the Tradition
Performance theory and venues
Collectors, their times, and archives
Sean-nós singing
English-language song

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lectures, supplemented by discussion based on the close reading of texts.
Detailed listening and analysis.

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 video lectures and/or powerpoint slides, and (sometimes) musical scores. Weekly live virtual classes will consist of both lecture and discussion. Students are expected to attend these live sessions, and to have reviewed the materials in the folder for that week prior to attending (all materials will generally be posted one week in advance of the virtual class).

Weekly attendance is expected and will be monitored, though of course we are aware of the fact that these are challenging times, and students may have a valid reason for missing one. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

Students should have some knowledge of music theory and notation.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
MUS10150 - Writing about Music, MUS10190 - Music Theory 1

Additional Information:
Pre-requisites: both MUS10160 and MUS10170, OR MUS10140.

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Project: A brief project will be assigned in week 5 Week 5 n/a Graded No


Class Test: Aural examinations of music discussed in class will take place regularly throughout the semester. Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Essay: Final essay due in week 12. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


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

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Aural examinations, designed to ensure students' familiarity with the music studied, will be returned and reviewed on a regular basis. The fieldwork prolject, designed to expose students to the living tradition, will be returned with a grade and commentary.