A study of the relationship between poetry and music, including poetry as song, folk traditions, and performance.
From birth through love to death, words sung or rhythmically recited stay with us. These snatches of song and poetry—from children’s rhymes to pop songs and advertising jingles—form a key part of the soundtrack of our lives. Poetry and Music explores how and why these rhymes and lyrics have such a powerful effect.
From modern Māori performing arts to Patti Smith, Beyoncé, and dub poets, we investigate how poetry and lyrics are crafted to achieve musical effects through language. We learn to analyse the relationship between sound and sense and the role of performance.
We also explore the many social roles of song, poetry, and related verbal arts. We ask how such lyrics give meaning to the daily rhythms and critical moments in our own lives and in the lives of others.
Students with a creative bent will also have the opportunity to demonstrate their learning by composing their own poems or song lyrics.
About this paper
|Poetry and Music
|Semester 1 (On campus)
|Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD )
|International Tuition Fees
|Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
- One 100-level ENGL or MUSI paper (excluding ENGL 126) or 36 points
- Schedule C
- Arts and Music
- More information link
- Teaching staff
Convener: Professor Jacob Edmond
Additional lecturers are to be confirmed but will likely include staff from English, Te Tumu (the School of Māori, Pacific, and Indigenous Studies), and Music.
- Paper Structure
Students explore a new topic every 1–2 weeks with some class time each week devoted to practicing the skills and learning explained in the lectures. The paper includes guest lectures from songwriters and poets.
Exact assessment arrangements are to be confirmed but will likely be as follows:
1. In-class tutorial assessment: 15%
2. In-class test: 15%
3. Essay: 30%
4. Final exam: 40%
- Teaching Arrangements
The paper involves one one-hour and one two-hour class each week with the second hour of the two-hour class generally being devoted to tutorial-style discussion.
All texts and sound recordings will be made available through Blackboard, eReserve, and the library.
- Graduate Attributes Emphasised
- Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
- Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, you will be able to:
1. Identify and describe common forms, techniques, and performance-based aspects of poetry and song.
2. Analyse the effect and significance of all these features in a given poem or song, relating them to the content of the work.
3. Identify and describe some differences in the conventions and social roles of poetry and song, and in the relationship between music and poetry, in various genres, from different cultures and historical periods, and utilising a range of technologies.
4. Critically reflect on your own assumptions about the conventions and social roles of poetry and song, and on the assumptions of other cultures and historical periods.
5. Present a coherent argument about a poem or song based on analysis of its content and form and on critical reflection of the assumptions about poetry and song that inform the work.