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MUS3580 - Contemporary music

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader(s): Thomas Reiner


Clayton Second semester 2009 (Day)


A survey of the primary musical styles and compositional trends of the twentieth century. Representative source works are analysed and the major musical figures of the period are discussed. Topics include the transition from nineteenth century Romanticism, impressionism, expressionism, the atonal revolution, neo-classicism, the twelve-tone system, serialism (including integral serialism), constructivism (electronic music and extended techniques), indeterminacy, neo-Romanticism, and minimalism. Contemporary Australian music is also considered within this context.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should have:

  1. A general knowledge of the major trends of twentieth-century composition in particular, the ways in which these trends relate to one another in a broad sense.

  1. The opportunity to delve into specific areas of twentieth-century music in some depth, providing further insight into the styles, composers and works important to the specific area in question.

  1. An introduction to the principles of modern musical notation (i.e. graphic notation).


Written: 40%
Mid-term and final listening exams: 60%

Contact hours

2 hours (1 x 2 hour lecture) per week

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