Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitEthnomusicology
OfferedNot offered in 2014
Coordinator(s)Dr Paul Watt


This unit introduces students to the key ideas, figures and debates in the development of music aesthetics and criticism since Ancient Greek times to the present. In particular the unit will examine the links between aesthetic theories and their application and appropriation in musicology and journalistic criticism. Topics to be addressed in detail include theories of beauty, form and structure; authenticity, text-music relationships; semiotics; and the idea of musical meaning in both western and non-western contexts. The influence of aesthetics on theories of musical criticism and approaches to composition and performance will be studied.


Students successfully completing this subject will have developed:

  1. An understanding of how music has been defined and judged throughout history;
  2. Skills to articulate their own aesthetic standpoints in relation to musical composition, performance and current research in music aesthetics.


Essay (3500 words): 80%
Examination (1 hour, 1000 words): 20%

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

  • One 1-hour lecture per week
  • One 1-hour workshop/tutorial per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study