MUSI10023: Music Language 1: The Diatonic World

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Music Language 1: The Diatonic World was reviewed by Jake Farquharson. He is currently a second year music student. He plays the clarinet and is thinking of pursuing a musicology major, and going on to study a Master of International Relations.
Fun fact: I play in the same concert band as Jake: Western Region Concert Band

When was the subject taken?

Semester 1, 2012

What topics were covered in the subject?

This subject basically serves as a sort of introduction to different areas of music theory and analysis. To put it simply, you learn about what makes music tick. This subject’s focus is on a period of music spanning Medieval chant to music of the Baroque period. You also do a lot of listening, both in the lectures and at home. Yep, that’s right – you get to listen to music in lectures!

What textbooks/workbooks were required for the subject?

The recommended textbook is called ‘Harmony and Voice Leading’, and it’s needed for both ML1 and ML2. It’s quite expensive, so if you don’t want to buy it, you don’t have to: copies of the old edition are in the music library, and the lectures are usually enough to help you get the gist of things. I’ve heard that it’s quite a good book, though, so if you think you’ll struggle, have a look at it and see if it might help out!

What type of assessments were they?

You get 2 types of weekly assignments – analysis assignments and composition assignments. In the analysis assignments, you get to fulfill your childhood dreams and scribble over music with lots of coloured pencils (awesome!), looking for stuff like sequences and modulations depending on what you did that week. Composition assignments involve you writing your own music or filling in bits of music, ranging from chorales to string quartets. They’re worth 70% of your mark, so sharpen those coloured pencils! The exam has 2 parts – a listening part, where you listen to music from the listening list and identify its characteristics [10%], and a written section, which is like a composition and analysis assignment combined [20%]. Overall, I’d say the workload is manageable, though you don’t really get a break since you get assignments every week. :(

Were the lectures/tutorials recorded when you did the subject?

The lectures are recorded, but the tutorials aren’t. If I remember correctly, attendance was recorded, but don’t quote me on that…

How did you find the subject? Did you enjoy it?

I really enjoyed this subject! The teaching staff were enthusiastic, and the lectures were fun (there were times when they were almost like comedy shows). The stuff you learn about is also surprisingly interesting. And you get to scribble on music with coloured pencils if you want. Seriously, how many subjects let you do that for assessment?

Jake rates the subject: 5 out of 5

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