Music and the Media of Performance (Theory)

Module code: 827W3B
Level 7 (Masters)
30 credits in spring semester
Teaching method: Workshop
Assessment modes: Coursework

During the past fifty years the parameters of musical performance have expanded enormously. For John Cage all musical performance was inherently theatrical since it engaged both eye and ear. The visual aspect of musical performance, and the relationship of music to the spatial and to the embodied, has often been overlooked, and has led composers such as, eg, Cage himself, Mauricio Kagel and Heiner Goebbels to explore the extended theatricality of musical performance in directions beyond opera. Other artists like Meredith Monk, Philip Glass and Robert Wilson have restored the term 'opera' to refer to music theatre works that reconfigure the traditional media of opera (music, language, voice, sound, body, space, image) in new ways. More recently musicians such as Michel van der Aa have incorporated sonic and visual media in a live performance context.

The module will examine both theories and practices of experimental music theatre and multi-media performance through critical and practical engagement with the ideas that lie behind such practices. The module will be assessed by an essay, through which you will demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of key theories and practices in experimental music theatre or multi-media performance.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate advanced understanding of the ideas that lie behind the theories and practices of experimental music theatre and multi-media performance
  • Demonstrate systematic understanding of methods and approaches to experimental music theatre and multi-media and performance that are informed by current scholarship
  • Evaluate the use and implications of new media and technologies in a live performance context