MUS41170 Cosmopolitan Music-Making

Academic Year 2023/2024

*** Not available in the academic year indicated above ***

The word ‘cosmopolitan’ has been applied to the study of music for decades now, but its meanings, borders, and uses constantly shift. It has been used to describe music in cities, ‘multicultural’, global, or intercultural music, music of the diaspora, and even popular music. In some ways the word has become a little old-fashioned, or out of date, but in this module we consider the value of the term as a way of focusing on the hidden and emerging musics stimulated by encountering difference. Beginning with a theoretical overview of the term itself, we move on to identifying and studying cosmopolitan music-making in action, based on musical activities and communities in the city of Dublin. This module will also incorporate practice-based approaches to doing fieldwork, and students will undertake ethnographic research (interview, participant observation) in order to produce a mini case study of a ‘cosmopolitan music’ of your choosing. Ultimately the aim is to build upon Martin Stokes’s assertion that ‘musical cosmopolitans create musical worlds and new musical languages… within systems of circulation that determine… what is available to them and how (and in which direction) musical elements move.’ Our task is to uncover and interpret these new worlds and languages by studying them from the ground up.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Students will be able to:
- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of some key issues in the study of cosmopolitan musical culture(s), both globally and in Ireland.
- Assess and employ the methodology of ethnomusicology as a tool for examining cosmopolitan music.
- With your peers, develop a new working definition of cosmopolitan music that builds upon and expands pre-existing theoretical and methodological paradigms.
- Write vivid accounts of live and/or mediated musical experiences.
- Prepare, research, and produce a major research proposal that presents initial findings and proposes research questions in a professional format.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning


Small Group




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Active Learning (ethnography workshops)
Critical Reading/Writing
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
Continuous Assessment: Topic Preparation/Presentation Varies over the Trimester n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Project: Research Proposal Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Continuous Assessment: Ethnographic Portfolio Varies over the Trimester n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer 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
• Peer review activities
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

- Topic Preparation/Presentation (20%) Each student will choose one week of the module during which you will be responsible for leading the discussion on a selected reading. For your week, you will create an outline and be prepared to present and lead the discussion on the reading highlighted in blue. - Ethnographic Portfolio (30%) Based on our practical ethnography sessions, students will submit a portfolio consisting of a brief analysis of a musical example, the transcript of an interview excerpt (20 minutes), and a writing sample that uses ‘thick description’ to describe a musical experience. - Research Proposal (50%) Students will prepare a major research proposal using the IRC Postgraduate Scholarship application as a template. This should build upon the ethnographic portfolio and the key theoretical frames of the module. You will have one or two individual meetings with Dr Jones to work through this.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.

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