MUS-10114 - Sound and Society
Coordinator: Rita Fiorella Montero Diaz Room: CKF02 Tel: +44 1782 7 34595
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 4
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 733147

Programme/Approved Electives for 2022/23


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2022/23

Have you ever asked yourself: what role sound, or the absence of sound, plays in cultural and social life around the world? Do cultures organise and value sound in the same way? Are sound and music bound up with social relations and practices? If you are curious about these questions, then this course is for you. This module is centred on the role of sound and recording technology in human cultures and societies. You will reflect on how the production, reception, interpretation and dissemination of sound is shaped by human belief, tradition, geography, soundscape, sociocultural context, and practice. You will be encouraged to use active listening to access and understand social life, and use sound recording to document, represent and even shape human reality.

To provide students with a wide-ranging introduction of the main historical, theoretical and practical thinking around the subject of sound; exploring the role of sound in its socio-cultural context, its functions, sonorities, performers and viewpoints. This module will be grounded in real-world sonic practice by applying the theory and methods of ethnomusicology and music technology to specific case studies around the world. Furthermore, this module will help students to question cultural assumptions about the nature and possibilities of sound and listening, interrogating listening and sound recording as ways of engaging with and representing social life.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Recognise and describe basic important cultural and aesthetic issues relating to sonic cultures around the world and throughout history: 1,2
Explain how sound articulates and demarcates social spaces and how sound-based practices negotiate social structures: 1,2
Recognise and describe a diverse range of sonic worlds, demonstrating insights into socio-cultural context.: 1,2
Recognise and demonstrate familiarity with a range of sonic cultures from non-western traditions, enabling students to gain a comparative understanding of sound in varying context.: 1,2
Give effective explanations of how a range of key texts give insight into the involvement of sound in social relations.: 2
Demonstrate skill in critically assessing and developing theoretical ideas through reflection on experiences and observations of social life: 2
Describe the role of recording technology and communicative media in shaping how sound is made, used, and heard: 1,2

Study hours

24 hours of contact time, to include: lectures, seminars, and tutorials:
12 hours lectures
9 hours seminars and workshops
3 hours small group tutorials
Individual study:
30 hours of listening report assessment preparation. Listening and reflecting on sound cultures presented during lectures.
42 hours of directed study/listening/weekly preparation, consolidation of lecture, workshop seminar and tutorials.
54 hours of summative individual assessments preparation

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Report weighted 40%
Listening Report (Podcast/oral report)
Podcast on a sound recording of a musical culture examined on the course describing main sonic and technological features (8 min). The module marks will be moderated in line with School procedures.

2: Essay weighted 60%
Individual essay (1500 words). Choose one question out of three options