MUS31180 Issues in Music, Sound and the Moving Image

Academic Year 2022/2023

This course is an introduction to important critical issues in the study of music, sound, and the moving image. The aim of the course is to present students with analytical tools and theoretical perspectives for understanding music and sound design in screen media. It does so through the study of characteristic examples from multimedia texts alongside significant works of scholarship.

Each session of the course focuses on a particular critical issue, aesthetic practice, or medium. The media examples used to explore these issues are primarily drawn from film of the mainstream Anglophone tradition, though both music for television and video games are also investigated. The module will introduce elements of the processes of film scoring and how this has been impacted by the advent of digital technologies and the increasing interest in the concept of film sound design. Topics addressed by this course typically include (but are not limited to) narratology and issues of diegesis; gender, sexuality, and soundtracks; pre-existing music; the ‘Classical Hollywood’ tradition; music for interactive media; and music in the commercial context of television.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the course, students will be able to:
Explain important theoretical concepts related to music and the moving image;
Apply these approaches to specific examples, in order to develop their own analyses of music in film, television and video games;
Critically evaluate major theoretical ideas related to music and the moving image;
Describe different music and the moving image practices and aesthetics in relation to modes of media production and aspects of broader culture;
Discuss key aesthetic trends, practices and examples of media music from different periods, ranging from early sound film to the present day, including original scores as well as compilation scores.
Having completed the course, students will also have improved their skills in reading analytical texts, appraising scholarly views, offering synthetic readings of scholarly disagreements, conducting academic research, and communicating their findings to others (both in the form of essays and presentations).

Indicative Module Content:

Week 1: Key questions in studying media music
Week 2: Scoring production process
Week 3: Narrative theory, style topics, and musical affect
Week 4: Silent film music
Week 5: Classic Hollywood and the studio era
Week 6: Sound Design
Week 7: European avant garde
Week 8: Reading week and preparation for group work
Week 9: Pre-existing music in media
Week 10: Presentations - sharing research
Week 11: Television music in a changing media landscape
Week 12: Sound design for video games - interactivity

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lectures supplemented by seminars in which key texts and examples will be discussed.

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
Presentation: Group Presentation with Individual Critical Reflection Report Week 9 n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Essay: Essay Week 12 n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Assignment: Scene Analysis Week 4 n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% 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?

- The module will be assessed across three components: a scene analysis task, a presentation, and an essay. - Written feedback will be offered on each component following assessment and it is intended that the feedback from the scene analysis and the presentation tasks will be a useful guide to preparation of the final essay. - Preparation for the presentation will be supported by means of a dedicated session on presentation skills in advance of the assessment date to provide clarity on the marking criteria for this mode.

Name Role
Dr Donal Fullam Tutor