• Offered by School of Music
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject Music
  • Areas of interest Music
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Bonnie McConnell
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2025
    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;
  4. demonstrate research, analysis, discussion and writing skills through written assessment tasks; and
  5. write about the creative practice of a student or member of staff of the School of Music.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Four written assignments, each exploring a different mode of writing in music, woven together to form a “patchwork textâ€? (each assignment 800 words (12.5% each); overall text c.4000 words (10%) [LO 1-4]. Each written assignment will receive formative feedback before the next assignment is due. (5) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. Program notes for a concert given by a student or member of staff of the School of Music, to be submitted at least a week before the concert (1000 words, 20%) [LO 3-5] (20) [LO 3,4,5]
  3. Concert Review of a concert given by a student or member of staff of the School of Music, due one week after the concert being reviewed (750 words, 20%) [LO3,5] (20) [LO 3,5]

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 MUSI2211

Prescribed Texts

None specified

Preliminary Reading

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, New South.

Assumed Knowledge

The student should be engaged in music creative practice (performance, composition, technology) to inform their writing.


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

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

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
2511 17 Feb 2025 24 Feb 2025 31 Mar 2025 23 May 2025 In Person N/A

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions