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MUSI407 Seminal Works

An interdisciplinary examination of seminal works drawn from Western art music and contemporary rock traditions.

Why is Liszt's B minor Sonata considered the most significant romantic piano sonata? Was the "Dunedin Sound" based on any shared musical values, the result of cash-strapped and incompetent musicians using cheap equipment, or was it merely a fiction created by the media? When any work attains landmark status, it is usually because it embodies some technical, technological or expressive advancement. This paper explores eight seminal works (four each drawn from the Western art music and rock repertoire) and explores their significance from a wide range of analytical perspectives. Students will be able to focus more (though not exclusively) on Western art music or rock works with regards to assessment. Students at 300-level who have completed MUSI 201 can take this paper.

Paper title Seminal Works
Paper code MUSI407
Subject Music
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2020
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,333.93
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,291.72

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MUSI 201 or MUSI 301
Limited to
BA(Hons), MusB(Hons), PGDipArts, PGDipMus

400-level papers are normally available to students enrolled in a MusB(Hons), BA(Hons), PGDip(Mus) and PGDip(Arts) only. If in doubt as to your eligibility to take a 400-level paper, see Peter Adams ( Not all 400-level papers will necessarily be offered in every year. Usually three 20-point, 400-level papers only will be offered - usually MUSI 403, 407 and 442. Students interested in an internship project may be eligible to take HUMS 401 Internship Practicum as a 20-point paper.


Teaching staff

Paper Coordinator: Dr Graeme Downes
Teaching Staff: Dr Graeme Downes, Dr Ian Chapman, Dr Jen Cattermole and Associate Professor Peter Adams

Paper Structure
This paper covers six seminal works. Note: All 400-level work is moderated by an examiner external to the University.
Teaching Arrangements
Two lectures per week for a full year.

Please contact the Department of Music, Theatre and Performing Arts office ( for a copy of the most recent paper profile.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper will
  • Acquire an in-depth knowledge of seminal works drawn from the Western art music and rock traditions via the study of selected works and selected commentaries on those works
  • Gain advanced and wide-ranging analytical skills within different modules, assessing a work's significance from a variety of perspectives, including historical, stylistic and cultural and technological advancement
  • Extend their skills in harmonic/tonal, motivic and hermeneutic analysis, for which the prerequisite papers provide a foundation

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Not offered in 2020

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system