Skip to content

Toggle service links

Taster Materials

Study taster image

A111 Discovering the arts and humanities

Discovering Music: The Blues

This free course will introduce you to a musical tradition with roots in the nineteenth century but which is still relevant to making music today. You will learn about how the lyrics of blues songs reflect the social environment in which they were created, and about the musical techniques that underpin the structures of blues songs.

A232 Music, sound and technology

Recording music and sound

This free course, Recording music and sound, provides an historical introduction to music and sound recording in the creative industries and offers some guidance about making your own recordings.

A history of music and technology

Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason explores the impact of technology on music throughout the years.

Musicians, loops and the longest piece ever

Dr Robert Samuels explores looping in music and demonstrates how technology can make musical use of the sound of a dog eating a carrot.

A234 Understanding music

Taster materials are forthcoming for this module. In the meantime, the following resources will give you a general sense of the kinds of learning you will do on A234.

‘Over the Rainbow’ and the elements of Music
In this podcast, Senior Lecturer Catherine Tackley and Associate Lecturer Adam White discuss ‘the elements of music’ - rhythm, pitch, melody, harmony and form - in relation to the song ‘Over the Rainbow’.

An Introduction to Music Theory

This free course introduces some basic concepts in music theory, including how staff notation is used to represent pitches and rhythms.

A342 Central questions on the study of music

Music and its media
This free course is an adapted extract from A342. It provides an introduction to some of the main ways in which music is transmitted. Three case studies focus on one form of musical media during a specific historical period in a particular geographical location. They look at a copyist of music manuscripts in the sixteenth-century Low Countries; a music publisher in early eighteenth-century London; and a record label in twentieth-century America.

Music MA

An introduction to music research

In this free course, we have gathered together materials to allow you to explore the ways in which music may be researched. After thinking about different kinds of musical knowledge and their relationship with various musical practices (including performance, composition, and listening), you'll be introduced to some of the digital resources and methodologies that inform music research. The next section, which constitutes the main part of the course, explores a variety of different resource types that can be the focus for music research including diaries, composer manuscripts, images, and instruments before the final section introduces you to a contentious area of current scholarship: the relationship between music and politics.

Preparatory Online Resources

An Introduction to Music Theory

This 8-hour course takes you through basic concepts of western music notation and music theory and is pitched at a level equivalent to Grades 1-3 of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music theory exams.

The module provides an introductory course for anyone who would like to learn the fundamentals of reading music.

Understanding musical scores

This free 12-hour course explores how music is written down, what a musical score is, and what it does. It considers how musicians use and interpret music notation in their work. And it also helps you make connections between the notation you see and the music you hear, whether short, familiar melodies or pieces for full orchestra. 

The course is intended for anyone with an interest in music. You do not need to be able to read notation or play an instrument to be able to take it.

An introduction to music research

In this free course, we have gathered together materials to allow you to explore the ways in which music may be researched. After thinking about different kinds of musical knowledge and their relationship with various musical practices (including performance, composition, and listening), you'll be introduced to some of the digital resources and methodologies that inform music research. The next section, which constitutes the main part of the course, explores a variety of different resource types that can be the focus for music research including diaries, composer manuscripts, images, and instruments before the final section introduces you to a contentious area of current scholarship: the relationship between music and politics.

Previous Modules

Teaching Music

Teaching secondary music
This free course identifies and explores some of the key issues around teaching music in secondary schools.

Assessment in secondary music
This free course identifies and explores some of the key issues around assessing music in secondary schools.

Request your prospectus

Request a prospectus icon

Explore our qualifications and courses by requesting one of our prospectuses today.

Request prospectus

Are you already an OU student?

Go to StudentHome