Music Through Literature (MCGY3617)


This unit will explore specific works of literature which deal with musical matters or which make significant statements about musical aesthetics. The contribution towards understanding musical experience of creative artists who are not, or not primarily, musicians, is sometimes ignored in courses for the training of musicians. Yet, in the case of writers, such artists are often better equipped than musical professionals to capture in words, the ineffable nature of musical experience and aesthetics. Moreover their place as receivers rather than creators sometimes enables them to make statements about the broader cultural significance from a perspective outside that of production and performance. This course exists to allow trainee performers, teachers and musicologists an opportunity to explore such perspectives. Topics will be decided by class interest and may include work by Bruce Chatwin, Gunter Grass, Herman Hesse, James Joyce, Milan Kundera, Thomas Mann, Romain Roland, Vikram Seth, William Shakespeare, Tim Winton and others.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


One 2-hour seminar per week


Online and class participation and short tasks (10%); Seminar presentation (30%); Essay 3500 words (60%).

Faculty/department permission required?


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or with permission of the coordinator

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.