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This free course, Music and its media, examines some of the main ways in which music is transmitted. It considers how the means of communicating a particular piece can change over time; and how the appearance and contents of a source can reflect the circumstances in which it is produced. The course focuses on three examples of musical media that allow us to study music of the past: manuscripts of sixteenth-century Belgium, prints of eighteenth-century London, and recordings of twentieth-century America.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- demonstrate knowledge of the main ways in which music is transmitted
- understand how the means of communicating a particular piece can change over time
- examine examples of musical media from different historical periods and geographical locations
- show how the appearance and contents of a musical source can reflect its musical and non-musical context, its creator(s) and user(s).
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 How is music transmitted?
- 2 Music manuscripts of the sixteenth-century Low Countries
- 3 Music publications of eighteenth-century London
- 4 Music recordings of twentieth-century America
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Music and its media
This free course will provide an introduction to some of the main ways in which music is transmitted. There are three case studies, each of which focuses on one form of musical media during a specific historical period in a particular geographical location. You will begin by looking at a copyist of music manuscripts in the sixteenth-century Low Countries; you will then study a music publisher in early eighteenth-century London; and you will conclude by looking at a record label in twentieth-century America. In doing so you will consider how the different appearances and contents of musical media are also a reflection of their social context, the purpose they serve and what they signify to their recipients.
This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Tuesday, 8th March 2016
Last updated on: Tuesday, 8th March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
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