Music as Communication

Module code: MS3005
Module co-ordinator: Dr Anna Claydon

Module outline

In this module, we will examine a number of different music genres within the media including: pop songs, classical scores, film music and music in advertising. We will consider the significance of music as a critical cultural force and discuss the sociological, political, economic, textual and historical significance of music from a variety of periods. We will also consider the complex interrelationship between the production, consumption and mediation of music as a mode of communication.

You will draw upon your own knowledge, experience and skills to contribute to discussions and workshops in which not only will you learn about 'music as communication' as theory but also develop your understanding of it as practice.

A particular focus during the module is song but other music genres also come into play as tastes and knowledge are diverse. No pre-existing formal training or knowledge of music is required, only that you enjoy listening to music and can articulate what you like or dislike about a piece of music and reflect upon why.

Topics covered

  • Psychoanalysis
  • Cognitive theory
  • Music therapy
  • Discourse analysis
  • Music for film and television
  • Music in advertising
  • Musical branding
  • Music and semiotics
  • Music and language
  • Art and music
  • Music cultures


  • 11 hours of lectures
  • 22 hours of seminars
  • 1 hour of tutorials
  • 116 hours of guided independent study


  • Portfolio of two analyses, 1,250 words each (90%)
  • Weekly discussion board (10%)