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Values in Music


Admission requirements

This course is aimed at students with a broad interest in music, aesthetics, society and cultural policy. There are no admission requirements.


Music is an object of aesthetic appreciation. Various kinds of music compete for the favour of concert-goers and music consumers. But the scope of music reaches far beyond the concert hall or listening room. Music plays a vital role in daily life activities: it accompanies our travelling, sporting, shopping and working. Music is also increasingly used as a tool or a cure in contexts of health care, education, mental training or community building.

However, music is not only highly valued as a product or a tool. It also forms in itself a field where values are constantly negotiated. Values of form, sound, expression and interaction are fundamental to the emergence of musical features and characteristics. To what extent are these values to be considered musical? Are values in music a matter of taste, or do they above all reflect societal norms, power relations and cultural identity? Conversely, do we recognise musical values at play in the world around us? Can developments in the field of music have an impact on styles of conduct, social norms and interaction?

This course starts from the premise that music offers a playground where we can audition, imagine and experience 'living today’ in manifold ways. Close listening to its features is, therefore, key to a better understanding of the dynamics between culture and society. The focus will be mainly (but not exclusively) on non-pop musical genres and niches in which music acts not only as a mirror but also a field of expression, exercise and experiment and as such an active and constitutive element of society.

Course objectives

In this course, students will:

  • relate musical features to esthetical, ethical and societal values

  • broaden the musical horizon and develop differentiated listening perspectives to music

  • learn to talk and write about music, based on personal listening experience, aural analysis and informed by historical, philosophical and sociological discourse

  • understand motivations for music creation, production and consumption

  • understand different roles, functions, and positions of music in contemporary society


Academic year 2019-2020, second semester.

Dates and times

Mondays from 13.15-15.00 hrs.

Seminar/lecture dates:

  • 3 February 2020 Lipsius, room 002

  • 10 February 2020 P.N. van Eyckhof 1, room 005

  • 17 February 2020 P.N. van Eyckhof 1, room 005

  • 24 February 2020 P.N. van Eyckhof 1, room 005

  • 2 March 2020 P.N. van Eyckhof 1, room 005

  • 9 March 2020 Lipsius, room 206

  • 23 March 2020 Lipsius, room 206

  • 30 March 2020 Lipsius, room 206

  • 6 April 2020 Lipsius, room 206

  • 20 April 2020 Lipsius, room 206

  • 11 May 2020 Lipsius, room 206

  • 18 May 2020 Lipsius, room 206

Exam date:

  • 25 May 2020


The lectures/workgroups take place at P.N. van Eyckhof 1, room 005 and at Lipsius building, Cleveringaplaats 1, 2311 BD Leiden, room 206.
Please see the dates above.

The exam on 25 May 2020 takes place in room 206 of the Lipsius building.

Mode of instruction

9 lectures and 3 seminars.

Course Load

Total course load 5 EC x 28 hours= 140 hours

  • 9 two-hour lectures: 18 hours

  • 3 interactive seminars: 6 hours

  • 3 assignments (musical case-studies)

  • study of compulsory literature and listening assignments: 60 hours

  • writing and presentation assignments: 30 hours

  • preparation exam: 24 hours

  • exam: 2 hours

The course is structured as 3 blocks of 3 interactive lectures, followed by a seminar in which students discuss musical case-studies. The seminars will build on the preceding lectures, literature study and assignments.

Assessment method

Assessment and weighing

Active participation in class 30%
Seminar Assignments: 30%
Exam: 40%


Blackboard will be used for:

  • announcements

  • study materials

  • assignments

Reading list

Compulsory: articles, sound files and videos, to be disseminated in advance to every lecture.
to be announced


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Lecturer: Dr. P.C.A. Craenen
Coordinator: Ir. R.T.W.L. Schneemann


For other courses in the domains of music and fine arts, please visit:

Elective courses music and fine arts