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The Romantic Piano (MUSI30256)

Undergraduate level 3Points: 12.5On Campus (Southbank)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 3
Subject codeMUSI30256
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Reportedly in 1698 Cristofori built a harpsichord on which one could play “piano” and “forte”: keyboard music would never be the same. In 1823 Ignaz Moscheles staged a competition between an English and a Viennese piano: these two distinct schools of piano building would, through the following decades, merge into one “romantic” piano. But from when exactly can one speak of a “piano style,” different from a harpsichord or clavichord style? Did changes in the construction of the piano respond to new needs of composers? Or did new instruments inspire composers to do new things? These are central questions of this subject. Both the scores and the instruments will be our focal point as we chart our way through rapid changes in style and the development of the piano: it is through the instruments that we will look at the music written for them. We will study the pianos of Cristofori, Silbermann, Stein, Walter, Broadwood, Graf, Pleyel, Erard, and will rub shoulders with technology; we will listen to recorded performances on these instruments, and even try some of them ourselves; we will assess the keyboard music of varied composers from the eighteenth to the mid nineteenth century.

Intended learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the principal developments in keyboard music and technology c.1700-1860
  • Develop an awareness of performance practice issues related to keyboard music of this period
  • Identify and analyse specific keyboard genres and works from 1700-1860
  • Interpret the political, cultural, and economic factors that impacted on keyboard culture at this time
  • Evaluate and criticise source materials and secondary literature in this field

Generic skills

On completion of this subject, students should have developed:

  • a receptive attitude to new ideas
  • the capacity for independent and critical reflection
  • knowledge, skills and practices required for independent critical inquiry and research-based writing and presentation
  • the ability to present an academic paper to peers
  • the ability to identify and critically analyse primary source materials

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
MUSI40098 The Romantic Piano
Semester 1

Recommended background knowledge

Ability to read western staff notation

Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home


Additional details

  • Written assignment (2000 words), due in week 12 (45%)
  • In-class individual oral presentation (10 minutes), starting week 6 (25%)
  • 2 short written assignments (400-500 words each), due in week 4 and week 10 (20%)
  • Active participation in class discussions, throughout semester (10%)

Dates & times

  • Semester 1
    Principal coordinatorPaul Kildea
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Southbank
    Contact hours24 hours.
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period 4 March 2019 to 2 June 2019
    Last self-enrol date15 March 2019
    Census date31 March 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail10 May 2019
    Assessment period ends28 June 2019

Time commitment details

170 hours

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    There are no specifically prescribed or recommended texts for this subject.

  • Breadth options
  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 10 August 2019