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Master of Arts in Music and Culture

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  • Objectives
    MA in Music and Culture designed to give students a dynamic forum where perspectives in “cultural musicology" can be explored in a uniquely flexible and integrated fashion. Grounded in the practices of various musics but conducted from within a wide range of theoretical approaches—including sociology, linguistics, critical theory, feminism, cultural studies, and ethnomusicology—the program’s distinctiveness is grounded in critical interdisciplinarity. We believe that good teaching is enhanced by committed research, and our faculty embodies a diverse range of specialties including Aesthetics, Musicology, Ethnomusicology, Feminism, Cultural Studies, Sociology/Anthropology, Communications, Globalization, Philosophy, and Semiotics—not to mention research interests in Canadian Aboriginal music, European art music, popular, folk, world, and children’s musics, as well as music for a variety of media (radio, film, television, and interactive media).
  • Academic Title
    Master of Arts in Music and Culture
  • Course description
    Program Requirements

    The Master's degree in Music and Culture requires the satisfactory completion of a total of 5.0 credits, distributed according to one of the following two options:

    Thesis Program

        * 1.5 credits required course work (MUSI 5000, MUSI 5002 and MUSI 5004)
        * 1.5 credits additional course work chosen from available elective courses
        * 2.0 credits, Thesis

    Research Essay Program


        * 1.5 credits required course work (MUSI 5000, MUSI 5002 and MUSI 5004)
        * 2.5 credits of additional course work chosen from available elective courses
        * 1.0 credit, Research Essay

    Subject to the approval of the graduate supervisor, 0.5 credit may be taken outside the program in a related discipline (such as Philosophy, Women's Studies, etc.)

    MUSI 5000 [0.5 credit]
        Music and Cultural Theory I: Intellectual Histories
        Major intellectual trends relevant to cultural theory and their application to the study of music. Topics may include: Marxism and critical theory, anthropological and sociological theory, philosophical aesthetics, psychoanalysis, feminism and gender theory, post-colonial studies, and cultural studies.
        Precludes additional credit for MUSI 5001 (no longer offered).

    MUSI 5002 [0.5 credit]
        Research Methods in Music and Culture
        The research process, including the phases of conceptualization, framing, and research design. Topics may include: critiques of existing musical and cultural methods, issues related to the application of interdisciplinary methodologies to musical objects of study, and the relationship of method to theory and epistemology.

    MUSI 5004 [0.5 credit]
        Music and Cultural Theory II: Current Debates
        Selected debates within contemporary theory and culture and their relevance to music. The focus will be on a limited range of debates and issues selected by the instructor for in-depth discussion and analysis. Topics will vary from year to year
        Prerequisite: MUSI 5000 or permission of the School.

    MUSI 5006 [0.5 credit]
        Music and Identity
        Music as a medium for the construction and maintenance of cultural identities, including the relationship between music and traditional cultures, geography, the nation state, urban subcultures, gender and sexuality, race, class, and ethnicity.

    MUSI 5007 [0.5 credit]
        Music and Visual Culture
        The relationships between musical and visual cultural, including traditional arts, fine art painting, film, television, and digital gaming and interactive media, and the ways in which meanings are dependent upon the various connections between them.

    MUSI 5008 [0.5 credit]
        Technologies of Music
        The role that technologies, including musical instruments, notation, sound recording, and digital media, play in the concepts and practices associated with music. Topics include: technology as material culture, technology and musical practices, and the increasing importance of technology in contemporary music and culture.

    MUSI 5009 [0.5 credit]
        Music, Meaning and Representation
        Theories of meaning and representation as applied to music. Major source traditions and critiques to be considered include: semiotics and structuralism, analytic philosophy, formalism, cognitive theory, and post-structuralism.

    MUSI 5010 [0.5 credit]
        History of Genres
        Theories of genre, including theories derived from literary theory and film studies, and their application to the history of music. Topics may include relationships between genre and musical style, production and reception, social contexts, markets, and the legitimization and organization of knowledge.

    MUSI 5011 [0.5 credit]
        Music and Social Institutions
        Historical relationships between music and society, including that of Western art music to sacred and secular institutions; the rise of the cultural industries (sound recording, radio and film); the relationship of science, the arts, and the academy; and state policies of arts funding and multiculturalism.

    MUSI 5012 [0.5 credit]
        Repertoires, Genres and Canons
        A study of the organizational and hierarchical principles whose role is to differentiate, categorize, and legitimize music making within specific historical and social conditions. Topics may include musical canons and their relationship to issues of class, nationalism, taste cultures, and the development of musicology itself.

    MUSI 5013 [0.5 credit]
        Music and Performance
        Music as a form of social practice rooted in traditions of performance. The variable, multimodal character of music as understood through theories of performance and gesture drawn from the histories and literatures of music, theatre, and dance (in art, popular, and non-Western forms).

    MUSI 5014 [0.5 credit]
        History of Canadian Music: Notated and Liturgical Music
        Selected aspects of notated Canadian music from 1600 to the present; liturgical music; social and economic conditions of Canadian musical life; regional studies; individual composers and performers.
        Precludes additional credit for MUSI 5100 (no longer offered).

    MUSI 5015 [0.5 credit]
        Ethnomusicology of Canadian Traditions
        Issues of anthropological, sociological, and analytical significance are examined in the context of selected developments in folklore and ethnomusicological research on English- and French-language Canadian traditions. Also offered at the undergraduate level, with different requirements, as MUSI 4103, for which additional credit is precluded.
        Precludes additional credit for MUSI 5101 (no longer offered).

    MUSI 5016 [0.5 credit]
        Music of Canada's First Peoples
        The context and significance of musical expressions for representative Nations in each of the Canadian geographical regions, Maritime, Eastern Nomadic, Eastern Sedentary, Plains, Western Subarctic, Plateau, Northwest Coast, and Arctic, from pre-Contact to the present. Also offered at the undergraduate level, with different requirements, as MUSI 4104, for which additional credit is precluded.
        Precludes additional credit for MUSI 5102 (no longer offered).

    MUSI 5200 [0.5 credit]
        Special Topics in Music and Cultural Theory
        Selected topics focusing on aspects of music and cultural theory not available in regular program offerings. Topic will vary from year to year.

    MUSI 5201 [0.5 credit]
        Special Topics in Music Genres
        Selected topics focusing on specific genres of music not available in regular program offerings.
        Topic will vary from year to year.

    MUSI 5300 [0.5 credit]
        Practicum in Music
        Practical experience in music-specific projects such as music recording, librarianship, concert management, research, multimedia creation, etc., at local institutions. A maximum of 1.0 credit of practicum may be used in fulfilment of M.A. requirements.
        Prerequisite: permission of the School.

    MUSI 5900 [0.5 credit]
        Directed Readings and Research
        Tutorials designed to permit students to pursue research on topics in music and culture chosen in consultation with a member of the faculty. A maximum of 1.0 credit of directed studies may be used in fulfilment of M.A. requirements.
        Prerequisite: permission of the School.

    MUSI 5908 [1.0 credit]
        Research Essay

    MUSI 5909 [2.0 credits]
        M.A. Thesis

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