MUS4501 – Current musicological research (presentation-based variant)

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course is a specialization in musicology where the thematic content is linked to current musicological research. The content will vary from semester to semester and will provide an opportunity for in-depth study within ongoing research within the department. The course may be offered in Norwegian or in English. The course title for the autumn semester 2017 is:

Popular Music and Dust: Archives, Memory, Heritage, Historiography​

This course is about the politics and practices of popular music archives.

What is an archive, and what can be found there? What kinds of popular music are collected and recollected, preserved and presented? Who makes these decisions, on what grounds, with what means, and to what ends? And how may we utilize archival research in the study of popular music?

We will engage with foundational and contemporary archival theory, as well as histories of popular music archiving and their relationship to popular music historiography. We will look at official archives as well as grassroots initiatives that preserve popular music heritage. We will discuss the challenges of collecting, curating, and interpreting various kinds of popular music artifacts—with special attention to questions of digitization and the difficulties of archiving online cultural forms. We will pay attention to the politics of collection and display in archives and museums with regard to social inequalities (e.g. gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, colonialism, disability).

Learning outcome

The students will

  • Gain a specialization within current areas of musicological research
  • Gain insight into how musicological research produces new knowledge
  • Develop skills in presenting their ideas in written and oral form


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Admission to the master's programme in musicology.


Half of the course will take place at IMV, and half at Nasjonalbiblioteket (NB), where we will discuss various issues and readings and, generally, orient ourselves to the politics and practices of archiving popular music. During the course we will use NB’s resources to explore a variety of music archives as sources of popular music histories and cultures, and as starting points for theoretical thinking about music, memory, heritage, and historiography. Lectures at NB will look at archival materials as well as different analog and digital approaches to exploring these. Students will then have the opportunity to use the tools and resources available at NB in order to explore their chosen archives of interest on their own time. Based on this, each student will prepare a public presentation on their chosen topic, and present their work at an end-of-term conference, hosted by NB and open to the public. The assessment for this course is based on that presentation.


Oral examination in the form of a 20 minute trial lecture. The lecture must be based on the previously approved abstract. The candidate must demonstrate ability to convey ideas in a clear and well organized manner. The candidate may assume that the listeners are famililar with the required literature and listening for the course. Both the presentation as such and the content will be evaluated by the committee, but the content will be the main basis for the grading.

The presentation must be made in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Autumn 2017


Autumn 2017

Teaching language