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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Jazz History, Ethos and Philosophy
Module Code MC415
School 59
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Cormac O'Brien
Semester 2: Cormac O'Brien
Autumn: Cormac O'Brien
Module TeachersCormac O'Brien
Linda Adams
Kevin Joseph Brady
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

A module designed to help the learner gain insights into the history of the development of jazz, and its place in contemporary society, and to think independently and on a sophisticated level about their own motivation in pursuing a career as a musician. Taking the form of a discussion workshop, themes are explored such as the cultural significance of jazz in modern society, practical considerations to being a fulltime musician, historical and contemporary challenges for women in jazz, and the wider benefits of being an improviser beyond musical applications.

Learning Outcomes

1. Be aware of the philosophy and ethos of jazz and its place in contemporary society.
2. Develop an awareness of the place of the music in their lives, their own place in the music, and by extension society at large
3. Engage in self-reflection and have an opportunity to contextualise the position of music in contemporary society as well as the learner’s own societal and musical position in this regard

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24Weekly, A one-hour weekly lecture-workshop
Independent Study81Reading and research on topics related to jazz and society
Assignment Completion20Essay on chosen topic
Total Workload: 125

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

The history of jazz and the philosophy and ethos underpinning the music
Learners will develop an appreciation of, and engagement with the history of jazz and the philosophy and ethos underpinning the music. Critical thinking and self-reflection are key facets which will be highlighted over the course of the module. Discussions may focus on some aspect of the philosophy of jazz, or some aspect of jazz in contemporary society. Typical subjects for discussion may include: ° How do you define Jazz? ° The Cultural significance of jazz in modern society ° Practical considerations to being a fulltime musician ° Historical and contemporary challenges for women in jazz ° Wider benefits of being an improviser beyond musical applications ° The effects of negative influences on the ability to create and improvise ° Future developments in the jazz genre and its ongoing cultural relevance

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
ParticipationEngagement with the subject during lectures, shown by participation, and the use of critical thinking and self-reflection40%Every Week
Essay3000-word essay discussing some element of jazz and its relationship to contemporary society. Subject matter can come from workshop discussions or some other subject of the learner’s choice60%Sem 2 End
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

  • Paul F. Berliner: 1994, Thinking in jazz, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 0226043819
  • Ben Ratliff: 0, Coltrane: The Story of a Sound, Picador, 0312427786
  • Gioia, Ted: 2016, How to Listen to Jazz, Basic Books,
  • Taylor, Arthur: 1993, Notes and Tones, Da Capo,
  • Gitler, Ira: 1994, Swing to Bop: An Oral History of the Transition in Jazz in the 1940s, OUP,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
HMSAStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
JZCMBA in Jazz and Contemporary Music Perfor

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