Music preparation

Music students

Welcome to the Music BMus (Hons) degree.

Semester overview

The academic year at Surrey is divided into two semesters. In each semester of eleven weeks (the first runs from the end of September to December) you’ll be taking four modules. As a Music student in your first semester you’ll be taking:

  • Pathways in Musicianship A: Performance and Arrangement
  • Encountering Music History
  • Music Project 1A
  • Harmony 1: Common-Practice Harmony.

And in your second semester you’ll be taking the first two modules:

  • Topic Study: Adele and Popular Music
  • Topic Study: Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

And two out of these three modules: 

  • Pathways in Musicianship B: Performance and Composition
  • Music Project 1B
  • Fundamentals of Music Technology and Production.

Reading lists by module

Below are the reading lists, but we should emphasize that there is no pressure or necessity to read any of the texts, or do any of the listening, before you arrive. Once you are here, of course, you’ll also have access to texts via the Library and online library resources.

We hope this is helpful – and we look forward to welcoming you here at Surrey in person soon!

Pathways in Musicianship A and Pathways in Musicianship B

These modules focus on performance and/or composition (or arrangement). Good preparatory reading for the latter includes:

  • Daryl Runswick, Rock, Jazz and Pop Arranging
  • Alfred Blatter, Instrumentation and Orchestration
  • Samuel Adler, The Study of Orchestration.

Music Project 1A, Music Project 1B

These modules change from year to year depending on the member of staff leading them and their individual research strengths and interests. The themes for this year are Folk Music and Terry Riley’s In C.

Previous Music Projects (which may come up again) have included: Re-working Music, Experimental Music, The Music of Data, Film Music, Musical Theatre, John Zorn’s Cobra, Medieval Music, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Women in Music, and Mahler and Musical Meaning.

Encountering Music History

Good preparatory reading includes:

  • Nicholas Cook, Music: A Very Short Introduction.

Harmony 1: Common-Practice Harmony

Good preparatory reading would include:

  • Nicholas Cook, Analysis Through Composition
  • George Pratt, The Dynamics of Harmony.

Topic Study: Adele and Popular Music

Reading will be set each week on the subjects of the lectures, which include: albums; music; lyrics; music videos; cover versions; the music industry; authenticity; the canon; gender and sexuality; popular music and film.

Good preparatory listening would include Adele’s albums 19, 21, 25, and 30, and her theme song for the James Bond film Skyfall.

Topic Study: Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

Good preparatory reading and listening would include:

  • Nicholas Cook, Beethoven: Symphony No. 9
  • Listen to any good modern recording of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.