• Offered by School of Music
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Music
  • Areas of interest Music
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Jennifer Newsome
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2020
    See Future Offerings

This course will introduce students to the range of ways in which we use words to describe music. It is an important enabling course both for students wishing to pursue music research, and for those wanting to develop their skills in writing for the music profession. The course analyses particular examples of such writing such as music history, analysis, ethnomusicology, journalism, program notes, blogs, educational texts, and grant applications.  As well as giving practical examples and learning opportunities in these writing modes, the course also considers some of the theoretical issues in the positioning of discourse.  Learning and teaching activities will include lectures, tutorials and the preparation of a writing portfolio.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. describe various methods for writing about music in a variety of styles;
  2. apply these methods to a number of specific musical cases for a variety of audiences;
  3. demonstrate listening and observation/participation skills to discern how to write about specific kinds of musical works and events; and
  4. demonstrate research, analysis, discussion and writing skills through written assessment tasks.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Four written assignments, each exploring a different mode of writing in music, woven together to form a “patchwork text” (each assignment 800 words; overall text c.4500 words) Each written assignment will receive formative feedback before the next assignment is due (100) [LO 1,2,3,4]

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:

a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures, and 12 hours of tutorials/feedback; and,

b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed MUSI6211.

Prescribed Texts

A reading brick will be available to all students enrolled in this course at the start of the teaching semester. Indicative texts include:

  • Bringhurst, R 2005 Elements of Typographic Style. Vancouver, Hartley.
  • Feld, S 1990 Sound and Sentiment. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, U Pennsylvania Press.
  • Tagg, P 1982 ‘Analysing Popular Music’. Popular Music 2: 37—65.
  • Tredinnick, M 2007 The Little Red Writing Book. Sydney, NewSouth.




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $3120
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $4800
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
2855 24 Feb 2020 02 Mar 2020 08 May 2020 05 Jun 2020 In Person N/A

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