Music of the 21st Century (W3112)

30 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

This module engages with the music of the 21st century, exploring the mechanisms in which new styles and genres emerge from the music of the past, often intrinsically linked to advanced developments in the technologies of music making. The module looks into the cultural changes that influence the way music is thought of today. The music and methods of artists such as Holly Herndon, Johannes Kreidler, Claudia Molitor, Tristan Perich and others will be contextualised as continuation of the late 20th century music of pioneers such as Alivin Lucier, Terry Riley, Brian Ferneyhough, Kaija Saariaho, Alice and John Coltrane, Aphex Twin, Bang on a Can, Masahiru Miwa, Pauline Oliveros, Halim El-Dabh, John Zorn and Kraftwerk. Furthermore, the module addresses the influence of non-Western music in contemporary thinking and work.

In this module you will gain an understanding of the key developments in Western music from the minimalism of the 1970s. You will analyse work and read theoretical texts that influenced this work. You will do various musical and sonic art exercises that train you in making music in the techno-cultural context of the 21st century.


100%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay, Portfolio)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 278 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: