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  1. Royal Holloway's institution code: R72
  2. Make a note of the UCAS code for the course you want to apply for:

    • Music BMus - W302
    • BMus Music with Integrated Foundation Year BMus - W30F
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Music

BMus

Course options

Key information

Duration: 3 years full time or 6 years part time

UCAS code: W302

Institution code: R72

Campus: Egham

Key information

Duration: 4 years full time

UCAS code: W30F

Institution code: R72

Campus: Egham

View this course

The course

Music (BMus)

BMus Music at Royal Holloway is a flexible degree, allowing you to tailor your degree to your own interests and passions.

 

We have expertise spanning traditional, modern and world music. Through studying musical texts, practices, cultures and institutions you will explore issues in history, sociology, ethnology, and philosophy covering an exceptional geographical and chronological range. You will also be able to gain practical skills in composition, music technology and performance.

You will join a music department that is among the very best in the country, ranked 1st in the UK for Music research (REF 2021 as analysed by THES and Complete University Guide) and the only music department in the country to hold a prestigious Regius Professorship. Our well-connected department means you have the opportunity to make valuable music industry contacts. Our staff are connected with institutions such as the BBC Proms, National Theatre, and Royal Opera House.

Choose from a wide range of performance opportunities including orchestras, choirs, jazz, pop, and world music ensembles.

Learn from academics whose expertise spans music from the Middle Ages to the present and around the globe.

· Gain practical skills in composition, music technology or performance.

· Receive excellent tuition on your first instrument (or voice) at no extra cost to you.

· Apply for one of our choral, organ, orchestral or music scholarships.

· You will have access to our well-equipped studios, recording facilities, and incredible performance spaces, including the Windsor Auditorium, Boilerhouse Theatre, Victorian Picture Gallery and College Chapel.

· Work with professional conductors and receive coaching from leading professional groups such as the Riot Ensemble and the London Mozart Players.

  • Choose from a wide range of performance opportunities including orchestras, choirs, jazz, pop, and world music ensembles.
  • Learn from academics whose experitse spans music from the Middle Ages to the present and around the globe.
  • Gain practical skills in composition, music technology or performance.
  • Receive excellent tuition on your first instrument (or voice) at no extra cost to you.
  • Apply for one of our choral, organ, orchestral or music scholarships.
  • You will have access to our well-equipped studios, recording facilities, and incredible performance spaces, including the Windsor Auditorium, Boilerhouse Theatre, Victorian Picture Gallery and College Chapel.
  • Work with professional conductors and receive coaching from leading professional groups such as the King's Singers and the London Mozart Players.

From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.

Core Modules

Year 1

You will take eight from the following:

  • This course aims: 1. to develop basic music-analytical literacy, 2. to introduce basic concepts concerning counterpoint, harmony, melody and form that underpin the analysis of music, 3. to put these concepts into practice in the analysis of pieces from a variety of repertories. The course addresses the contrapuntal, melodic, harmonic and formal elements of tonal music. Weekly lectures, in which students are introduced to analytical concepts and then practise deploying them, through listening, score study and the completion of practical exercises, are supplemented by private study based on Moodle and recommended readings, to consolidate concepts learnt in the lectures and provide further opportunities to practise new skills.

  • The aim of this course is to develop students' awareness of music theory through practical exercises and musical analysis. Through practical exercises that focus on musical literacy as well as aural awareness, students develop the ability to identify and analyse the musical parameters of metre, rhythm, pitch, harmony, counterpoint and form. In-class exercises may focus on listening, whereas exercises for self-study or small-group work may include written exercises. Tasks set for private study between classes provide a basis for students to continue their own practical training throughout their musical careers.

  • This course introduces students to some fundamental techniques of music composition. The precise topics taught may change depending on the research interests of the staff responsible for teaching the course, but typically include:

    • Soundworlds and scale formations

    • The vertical dimension: chords and simultaneities

    • The horizontal dimension: melody and voice leading

    • Developments in rhythm

    • Developments in harmonic vocabulary and tonalities

    • Form in contemporary composition

    • Acoustic timbre and texture

  • This course introduces a wide range of repertories within the history of music. It stimulates students to relate features of musical compositions and performances to their wider historical contexts and gives students a fundamental knowledge of specific musical cultures. It provides students with opportunities to develop skills in research and information retrieval and in critical reading of primary and secondary literature, to receive formative feedback on those skills, and to build a foundation for higher-level study. The course will offer students a conceptual map of musical styles, composers and practices by introducing them to a wide chronological range of repertories, from early music to music of the twentieth century. It will emphasise questions of change, interaction and transmission through the study of specific forms and repertories in their historical context. Lectures will be designed around major repertorial moments (e.g. Stravinsky in 1910) or problems (e.g. the post-Beethovenian symphony), to bring together questions of form, style, performing practice and historical context.

  • This course introduces concepts underlying the historical and critical study of music. It enables students to begin thinking critically about the priorities that underlie historical texts from different intellectual traditions and stimulates them to relate features of musical compositions and performances to wider historical contexts. It provides students with opportunities to develop skills in research and information retrieval and in critical reading of primary and secondary literature, to receive formative feedback on those skills, and to build a foundation for higher-level study. This course introduces students to the different kinds of historical question that we can ask about music, and interrogates some of the terminology and categories frequently used in the secondary literature (e.g. canonisation, reception, tradition, nationalism, exoticism, the work concept). Case-studies are used to illuminate specific topics and problems in the historiography of a wide variety of musics.

  • This course introduces students to the socio-cultural contexts, functions, philosophies, techniques, and organising principles of a variety of musics of the world; musics from at least three continents will be studied. These musical traditions will be approached from both theoretical and practical perspectives, also giving a variety of opportunities for hands-on experience. Course content will vary from year to year according to staff interests, availability of musicians to provide workshops, and to ensure freshness of approach. A typical curriculum might cover the following regions and theoretical themes:

    • World Music - Introduction (culture, contact & concepts)
    • South America: Andes to Amazon (exchange)
    • Africa: Jaliya and Mbira (the musician)
    • Indonesia: Sundanese Gamelan (temporal organisation)
    • North India: The Classical Tradition (improvisation)
    • Papua New Guinea: The Kaluli (music and ecology)
    • Iran: The Persian Classical Tradition (music & religion).
  • This course introduces students to a range of key debates and issues in contemporary musicology and to a range of key issues concerning music in the contemporary world. It encourages students to think about music’s relation to social and cultural contexts and introduces them to unfamiliar musical styles and repertoires as well as broaden understanding of those closer to home. It hones students’ skills in reading a wide variety of critical and theoretical writing about music. This course will survey some of the key contemporary issues in music that have arisen from the changes of the modern world, as well as contemporary debates in musicology. The twentieth century in particular has seen a transformation of musical cultures across the world, and this course looks at a range of the issues and controversies that have emerged as a result. The study of music has broadened to include many more social, cultural and political. This course will introduce students to truly contemporary ways of studying music, combining approaches and issues traditionally associated with musicology, ethnomusicology and popular music studies, divisions which are becoming increasingly blurred. Lecture topics may include:

    • Ideas of ‘authenticity’ in music

    • Value judgements about music

    • Protection and preservation of music

    • Heritage and revivals

    • Music and tourism

    • New forms of fusion and hybridity

    • The idea of ‘world music’.

    • Music and identity

    • Music and gender

    • Music and race

    • Music and nationalism

  • This course aims to further students’ skills as performers through regular (typically weekly) one-to-one vocal/instrument lessons with an approved visiting teacher.  Students will be offered opportunities to perform in practical seminars where matters of interpretation and stage manner will be discussed.  Constructive critical feedback given as well as developing students' skills in delivering feedback. 

    Students’ will develop the capacity to reflect on what constitutes good programming and fine performance.  Participation in College music events is fostered through ensemble and other activities. 

     The course consists of regular individual instrumental or vocal lessons with a teacher approved by the Department.  A series of practical seminars is run in which students perform and discuss suitable repertory under the supervision of the course co-ordinator, develop skills in the writing of programme notes to a high standard as well as concert reviews and  engage with  'professional preparation’ consisting of the development of stage presence and other relevant concerns.

  • The module aims to develop a broad range of innovative, practical, creative and collaborative musical skills. It promotes student initiative and creativity, while developing focused, critical, technical and context sensitive perspectives on selected musical repertoires/traditions/genres. It seeks to explore, reflect upon, extend and/or challenge specific musical performance conventions. The module will commence with at least two plenary lectures/seminars at the start of term one, when the module aims will be clarified, followed by fortnightly workshops and plenary meetings through terms 1 and 2. A list of student performance interests/skills will be circulated immediately after the first meeting. Students will then be requested to form their own groups. Flexibility in membership will be permitted until the end of term one when students must commit to a group with whom to be examined. Any student not integrated in a group will be allotted to one by the module tutor. All students will be required to regularly document their experience of group participation and creative practice in a performance diary.

  • This module will provide the opportunity to develop skills in working with music technology, write music to a brief and develop skills in. independent creative work. The topics taught will include a selection from: introduction to media, film and game music composition; introduction to non-linear compositional techniques; the basics of digital audio; composing to a brief; interpreting images; and audio engines for games.

Year 2

You will take modules from at least four of the following subject areas:

A – Music Analysis

B – Composition

C – Music History

D – Global Music Studies

E – Performance

F – Popular Music and Media

  • All modules are optional
Year 3

You will take at least one from the following:

  • In this module you will carry out independent research providing specialist insights into a topic of your choice from the field of ethnomusicology, film studies, historical musicology, performance studies, or theory and analysis. You will look at digital sources, secondary literature, and archive material on your chosen theme, and critically engage with new thinking in musicology. You will be guided by a supervisor who will advise on the planning, organisation, development and presentation of your dissertation, which will be between 13,000 and 15,000 words in length.

  • The learning objective is to write a detailed essay on a topic of a technical, analytical or theoretical nature relating to music.

    You will undertake an extended piece of academic work at the level appropriate to the final year of an undergraduate degree programme, carried out independently under the guidance of a supervisor, and laying the foundations for possible further work in the field at postgraduate level.

  • This course will develop and refine students’ abilities as solo performers at an advanced level through weekly seminars in which performances will be subjected to critical scrutiny by the course tutor and members of the class.  Students will develop the ability to manage the occasion of performance at a professional level and will engage in the study and performance of music by twentieth-century or contemporary composers writing in particularly challenging or complex musical styles.

    The course consists of regular instrumental or vocal lessons with a teacher approved by the Department, regular two-hour practical seminars in which students perform suitable repertory according to a rota that requires appearance in front of their peers at least twice a term, thereby gaining platform experience in preparation for the final recital.  ‘Professional preparation’, consists of the development of stage presence and other relevant concerns, such as preparation for an audition, performance practice, interpretation and communication.  Students share participation in a public lunchtime recital.  The dates of the recitals are arranged by the Concert Office in the preceding summer vacation.

    The writing of programme notes and concert reviews to professional standard as well as the development of ensemble musicianship and/or music administration and concert management skills are key requirements.

  • This module develops students' knowledge of advanced compositional techniques with particular focus on structure, harmonic control and the manipulation of rhythmic and melodic material. It provides opportunities to practise the art of musical composition and to develop skills in independent creative work and increases students' awareness, knowledge and understanding of issues related to contemporary composition practice in a variety of contexts. Developing on areas covered in MU2213 Composition Portfolio, the module will provide a framework for you to further explore the possibilities in your own compositional method. You will complete a structured portfolio that will properly demonstrate your increased awareness, knowledge and understanding of contemporary art music and related compositional issues. You will be assisted in acquiring a deeper confidence in experimenting with a range of compositional methods and techniques whilst being encouraged to explore the possibilities of your own compositional voice in the hope that this trend will continue into your professional life. During workshops you will be given the opportunity to have your work rehearsed and recorded by professional musicians. It is hoped that through these workshops you will discover more about the possibilities of instrumentation and the many practical compositional issues facing composers today. You should also seek to develop your own opportunities for the performance of your music in order to develop your confidence and professional activity.

Optional Modules

There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1
  • All modules are core
Year 2
  • Adorno’s Philosophy of Music
  • Analysing Late Tonal Music: Riemannian and Neo-Riemannian Theories
  • Bach: Context and Reception
  • Baroque Performance Practice
  • Britten's Operas
  • Claude Debussy and French Musical Aesthetics
  • The ‘Classical’ Canon and ‘Popular' Culture since 1945
  • Composing with Technology 1
  • Composing with Technology 2
  • Composition Portfolio
  • Contemporary Music Performance
  • Creative Project in Composition, Performance and Technology
  • Digital Tools for Music Studies
  • Ensemble Performance
  • Ideas of German Music from Mozart to Henze
  • Introduction to Jazz: Theory, Practice and Contexts
  • Issues in Sound, Music and the Moving Image
  • Korean Percussion Performance
  • Late Beethoven
  • Mahler and Viennese Modernism, 1897-1918
  • Mozart's Operas
  • Musical Aesthetics
  • Music and Gender
  • Music and Video Games
  • On this module you will develop the employability skills necessary in order to confidently teach an instrument or voice in a one-to-one or group setting.  As well as developing and enhancing your critical reflection on your own performance practice, you will be equipped with a knowledge of appropriate teaching styles and methods and a contextualised understanding of these as appropriate to different teaching situations (ages, aspirations, individual or group lessons).

  • Music, Power and Politics
  • Music and Society in Purcell's London
  • Popular Music and Musicians in Post-War Britain and North America
  • Practical and Creative Orchestration
  • Practical Conducting (Choral and Orchestral)
  • This course will require the student to undertake the study of an instrument or voice, with the aim of developing technical ability and musical interpretation expressed through performance.  The student will consciously and actively address concerns such as the acquisition of technical competence in performance, the development of powers of interpretation, strategies of practice and performance, effective communication and so on.  These skills are further developed through the writing of programme notes, concert reviews and developing critical feedback skills in performance seminars.

    The course consists of the study of appropriate repertory with an individual instrumental or vocal teacher approved by the Department, the writing of programme notes and concert reviews, the development of ensemble musicianship and/or music-administrative skills through membership of college ensembles and/or the in-house concert administration team.

  • Silent Film Performance
  • This course aims to further students’ skills as performers through regular (typically weekly) one-to-one vocal/instrument lessons with an approved visiting teacher.  Students will be offered opportunities to perform in practical seminars where matters of interpretation and stage manner will be discussed.  Constructive critical feedback given as well as developing students' skills in delivering feedback. 

    Students’ will develop the capacity to reflect on what constitutes good programming and fine performance.  Participation in College music events is fostered through ensemble and other activities. 

     The course consists of regular individual instrumental or vocal lessons with a teacher approved by the Department.  A series of practical seminars is run in which students perform and discuss suitable repertory under the supervision of the course co-ordinator, develop skills in the writing of programme notes to a high standard as well as concert reviews and  engage with  'professional preparation’ consisting of the development of stage presence and other relevant concerns.

  • The String Quartets of Dmitri Shostakovich
  • Wagner's Ring
Year 3
  • Adorno’s Philosophy of Music
  • Analysing Late Tonal Music: Riemannian and Neo-Riemannian Theories
  • Bach: Context and Reception
  • Baroque Performance Practice
  • Britten's Operas
  • Claude Debussy and French Musical Aesthetics
  • Composing with Technology 1
  • Composing with Technology 2
  • Composition Portfolio
  • Contemporary Music Performance
  • Creative Project in Composition, Performance and Technology
  • Digital Tools for Music Studies
  • Ensemble Performance
  • Ideas of German Music from Mozart to Henze
  • Introduction to Jazz: Theory, Practice and Contexts
  • Issues in Sound, Music and the Moving Image
  • Korean Percussion Performance
  • Late Beethoven
  • Mahler and Viennese Modernism, 1897-1918
  • Mozart's Operas
  • Musical Aesthetics
  • Music and Gender
  • Music and Video Games
  • On this module you will develop the employability skills necessary in order to confidently teach an instrument or voice in a one-to-one or group setting.  As well as developing and enhancing your critical reflection on your own performance practice, you will be equipped with a knowledge of appropriate teaching styles and methods and a contextualised understanding of these as appropriate to different teaching situations (ages, aspirations, individual or group lessons).

  • Music, Power and Politics
  • Music and Society in Purcell's London
  • Popular Music and Musicians in Post-War Britain and North America
  • Practical and Creative Orchestration
  • Practical Conducting (Choral and Orchestral)
  • Practical Performance 2
  • Silent Film Performance
  • The Music Film
  • The String Quartets of Dmitri Shostakovich
  • Wagner's Ring

The BMus has a modular structure, whereby students take 12 course units at the rate of four per year.

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, and instrumental/vocal lessons. Private study and preparation are essential parts of every course, and you will have access to many online resources and the University’s comprehensive e-learning facility, Moodle. When you start with us, you are assigned a Personal Advisor to support you academically and personally.

Assessment is carried out by a combination of examinations, which take place in the summer term, along with written papers, extended essays, assessed coursework, portfolios of compositions and other practical work, and performance recitals.

A Levels: ABB-BBB

Required subjects:

  • A-level Music or Grade 7 Music Theory at pass
  • Applicants without A-level in Music or pass in Grade 7 Music Theory may be eligible for the Intensive Theory entry. This requires Music GCSE grade A/7 or equivalent, plus performance at Grade 7 level. In term 1 you will be required to take Fundamentals of Music Theory, an intensive music literacy course.
  • Students wishing to take Solo Performance options will need to be of Grade 8 level in performance at point of entry.
  • If you are studying two A-level subjects, you may still be eligible for entry to the Music BMus (single honours), if you are able to provide evidence of your ongoing commitment to music. For this pathway, the standard offer is A B including Music. We require candidates to be performing to Grade 8 ABRSM standard, to have studied music theory to Grade 5 ABRSM level, and have a substantial record of musical performance or other musical achievements, which they should detail in their Personal Statement.
  • Five GCSEs graded A*-C or 9-4 including English and Maths.

Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A-levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required. For students who are from backgrounds or personal circumstances that mean they are generally less likely to go to university, you may be eligible for an alternative lower offer. Follow the link to learn more about our contextual offers.

T-levels

We accept T-levels for admission to our undergraduate courses, with the following grades regarded as equivalent to our standard A-level requirements:

  • AAA* – Distinction (A* on the core and distinction in the occupational specialism)
  • AAA – Distinction
  • BBB – Merit
  • CCC – Pass (C or above on the core)
  • DDD – Pass (D or E on the core)

Where a course specifies subject-specific requirements at A-level, T-level applicants are likely to be asked to offer this A-level alongside their T-level studies.

English language requirements

All teaching at Royal Holloway is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.

The scores we require
  • IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
  • Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 51.
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
  • TOEFL iBT: 88 overall, with Reading 18 Listening 17 Speaking 20 Writing 26.

Country-specific requirements

For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please visit here.

Undergraduate preparation programme

For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, for this undergraduate degree, the Royal Holloway International Study Centre offers an International Foundation Year programme designed to develop your academic and English language skills.

Upon successful completion, you can progress to this degree at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Choosing to study Music at Royal Holloway will not only equip you with specific skills in performance, composition and production, but also a wide range of skills valued by employers such as communication, teamwork, time management, commercial awareness and critical thinking.  You will also have the opportunity to gain valuable industry contacts and knowledge of music networks.

Our recent graduates have very successfully entered a wide range of careers including roles as musicians, composers and performing arts teachers, but also technicians, publishers, managers, lawyers and policy makers. Many graduates also go on to advanced study in a variety of fields.

Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £9,250

EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £23,800

Other essential costs***: £50

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students who have already taken out a tuition fee loan for undergraduate study should check their eligibility for additional funding directly with the relevant awards body.

*The tuition fee for UK undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations. For students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25, the fee is £9,250 for that year.

**This figure is the fee for EU and international students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25

Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees annually for overseas fee-paying students. Please be aware that tuition fees can rise during your degree. The upper limit of any such annual rise has not yet been set for courses starting in 2024 but will advertised here once confirmed.  For further information see fees and funding and our terms and conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2024/25 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

1st

in the UK for research quality

Source: Complete University Guide, 2024

6th

in the UK for performing arts

Source: QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2023

5th

in the UK for Music

Source: Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, 2024

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