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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Conducting, Interpretation and Style
Module Code MC514
School 59
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Roisin Blunnie
Semester 2: Roisin Blunnie
Autumn: Roisin Blunnie
Module TeachersRoisin Blunnie
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only
Reassessment takes place in the autumn.

This module equips students with a systematic understanding of the relationship between choral conducting and the expression of musical style. It explores the gestural and vocal expression of music and text, based on critical engagement with musical, historical, and aesthetic considerations. Through preparing, leading and participating in ensemble singing, students will formulate, discuss and critically reflect on their own interpretations of choral repertoire, informed by historical conventions and contemporary developments. A selection of choral repertoire will be analysed in depth from a conductor’s point of view, recordings of different interpretations by professional performers will be compared, and students will gain insight and experience by conducting selected repertoire from a range of eras and styles, informed by scholarly literature on musical style, historical context, and performance practice.

Learning Outcomes

1. Formulate and articulate stylistic interpretations of selected choral repertoire.
2. Critically analyse and compare diverse interpretations of repertoire, with due regard for considerations of musical style and vocal technique.
3. Demonstrate, through conducting gesture, research-based stylistic interpretations of music from a range of eras and genres.
4. Source, evaluate, and interpret textual and contextual information pertaining to selected choral repertoire.
5. Analyse and annotate choral scores from the perspective of the choral conductor for the purposes of interpretation and stylistic performance.
6. Perceive and problem-solve in relation to issues of vocal performance and stylistic delivery in choral works from a range of musical eras.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture2Musicianship/vocal workshop
Independent Study44Preparation: conducting and score analysis
Independent Study22Preparation: ensemble singing
Independent Study64Critical listening/viewing
Independent Study96Independent research
Total Workload: 250

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Conducting repertoire from selected eras, genres and styles, suitable to the ensemble

Critical analysis and annotation of musical scores from the conductor’s perspective

Forming and expressing an interpretation: text, translation, meaning, style, tactus, shaping, phrasing, macro- and micro-structure, expressive priorities and how to achieve them

Technical considerations: using gesture to support phrase-shaping, breathing, onset, dynamics, rhythm, articulation, text, syllabic emphasis, entries and cut-offs, vocal technique, and challenges in contemporary repertoire

Participation in stylistic ensemble singing, with emphasis on tuning and blend

Comparative analysis: listening to and critiquing recorded performances

Finding, evaluating, and using quality scores and translations

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Research PaperComparative study of interpretations50%Once per semester
Practical/skills evaluationConducting assessment, including prepared score, annotated translation, and analytical commentary50%Once per semester
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Adams, David: 2008, A Handbook of Diction for Singers: Italian, German, French, Oxford University Press,
  • Alwes, Chester Lee: 2015, A History of Western Choral Music (2 vols.), Oxford University Press,
  • Bolkovac, Edward, and Judith Johnson: 1996, 150 Rounds for Singing and Teaching, Boosey & Hawkes,
  • Butt, John: 2002, Playing with History: The Historical Approach to Musical Performance, Cambridge University Press,
  • Cook, Nicholas, and Mark Everist (eds.): 1999, Rethinking Music, Oxford University Press,
  • De Quadros, André: 2012, The Cambridge Companion to Choral Music, Cambridge University Press,
  • Duffin, Ross W.: 2002, A Performer’s Guide to Medieval Music, Indiana University Press,
  • Durrant, Colin: 2003, Choral Conducting: Philosophy and Practice, Routledge,
  • Emmons, Shirlee: 2006, Prescriptions for Choral Excellence: Tone, Text, Dynamic Leadership, Oxford University Press,
  • Garnett, Liz: 2009, Choral Conducting and the Construction of Meaning: Gesture, Voice, Identity, Ashgate,
  • Garretson, Robert L.: 1998, Conducting Choral Music, Prentice Hall,
  • Grant, Roger Mathew: 2018, Beating Time and Measuring Music in the Early Modern Era, Oxford University Press,
  • Green, Jonathan D.: 2014, A Conductor’s Guide to Selected Baroque Choral-Orchestral Works, Scarecrow,
  • Johansson, Karin, and Ursula Geisler (eds): 2014, Choral Singing: Histories and Practices, Cambridge Scholars,
  • Kenyon, Nicholas (ed.): 1988, Authenticity and Early Music: A Symposium, Oxford University Press,
  • Keyte, Hugh, and Andrew Parrott (eds.): 0, The New Oxford Book of Carols, Oxford University Press,
  • King’s Singers: 2002, Book of Rounds, Canons and Partsongs, Hal Leonard,
  • Mariani, Angela: 2017, Improvisation and Inventio in the Performance of Medieval Music: A Practical Approach, Oxford University Press,
  • Molnár, Antal: 2003, Classical Canons, Editio Musica Budapest,
  • Rink, John (ed.): 2002, Musical Performance: A Guide to Understanding, Cambridge University Press,
  • Roma, Catherine: 2006, The Choral Music of Twentieth-Century Women Composers: Elisabeth Lutyens, Elizabeth Maconchy, and Thea Musgrave, Scarecrow,
  • Rutter, John (ed.): 1996, European Sacred Music, Oxford University Press,
  • Schechner, Richard: 2002, Performance Studies: An Introduction, Routledge,
  • Sharp, Avery T: 2002, Choral Music: A Research and Information Guide, Routledge,
  • Sherman, Bernard D. (ed.): 1997, Inside Early Music: Conversations with Performers, Oxford University Press,
  • Shrock, Dennis: 2009, Choral Repertoire, Oxford University Press,
  • Steinberg, Michael: 2005, Choral Masterworks: A Listener’s Guide, Oxford University Press,
  • Strimple, Nick: 2008, Choral Music in the Nineteenth Century, Hal Leonard,
  • Summer, Robert J: 2013, Renaissance Music for the Choral Conductor: A Practical Guide, Scarecrow,
  • Taruskin, Richard: 1995, Text and Act: Essays on Music and Performance, Oxford University Press,
  • Taruskin, Richard: 2010, Music from the Earliest Notations to the Sixteenth Century, Oxford University Press,
  • Willcocks, David, and John Rutter (eds.): 1987, 100 Carols for Choirs, Oxford University Press,
Other Resources

35278, Online Music Scores Library, 0, CPDL: Choral Public Domain Library, www.cpdl.org, 35279, Online Music Scores Library, 0, IMSLP: International Music Score Library Project, www.imslp.org, 35280, Online Resource, 0, Teoria: Music Resources and Aural Exercises, www.teoria.com,
Programme or List of Programmes
MACSMA in Choral Studies
MPTPMPhil (Theology, Philosophy & Music)
TPPMMaster of Arts

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