MUSGEN 3012 - In Search of Australia's Music III

North Terrace Campus - Winter - 2017

Australia's social and cultural diversity is reflected in the richness of its musical fabric. The music of Indigenous Australians sits alongside the musical traditions of European and non-European immigrants. Art music, jazz and contemporary popular music styles vie for the attentions of an increasingly culturally diverse Australian population. This course draws on the expertise of key music practitioners and commentators in order to explore the rich tapestry that is Australia's music. Students will be required to argue, in a research essay supported by a class presentation, the case for and/or against the existence of a uniquely Australian musical identity.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code MUSGEN 3012
    Course In Search of Australia's Music III
    Coordinating Unit Elder Conservatorium of Music
    Term Winter
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 12 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites At least 6 units of level II undergraduate study
    Course Description Australia's social and cultural diversity is reflected in the richness of its musical fabric. The music of Indigenous Australians sits alongside the musical traditions of European and non-European immigrants. Art music, jazz and contemporary popular music styles vie for the attentions of an increasingly culturally diverse Australian population. This course draws on the expertise of key music practitioners and commentators in order to explore the rich tapestry that is Australia's music. Students will be required to argue, in a research essay supported by a class presentation, the case for and/or against the existence of a uniquely Australian musical identity.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: James Koehne

    Dr Jim Koehne
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Course Timetable 

    The course runs from Monday 26 June 2017 to Friday 21 July 2017

    2 x 2 hours per week

    Mondays and Wednesdays 2-4pm, Hartley Concert Room


    1 x 2 hours per week

    Fridays 2-4pm, Hartley Concert Room

    Fieldwork (including concert attendance and rehearsals):

    1 x 3 hours per week

    External locations TBA

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    Learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this course the students will acquire:
    1. An historical understanding of music and music-making in Australia
    2. An appreciation and understanding of Australia’s cultural and social diversity as manifested in music
    3. An understanding of the dynamic relationship between ‘art’ and ‘vernacular’ music styles in Australia
    4. Knowledge of the correspondence between creative disciplines in Australia
    5. An appreciation of the ideological significance of the search for ‘Australian-ness’ in Australian music
    6. The ability to analyse and synthesise complex material and a high level of critical judgement
    7. Capacity for group discussion
    8. Primary research skills
    9. Confidence in written in written and oral communication
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    Learning resources

    Required resources

    Weekly related readings (see below), are available either as a PDF on MyUni, online via the Elder Music Library, or external websites.
    Recommended Resources
    Recommended Resources


    The Music Library located in the Hartley building is an excellent source for music, literature and recordings:

    Music Resources Guide

    The Music Resources Guide contains quick links to key music databases for scholarly research and online listening. It also contains links to websites of publicly available online scores, collected editions, and professional associations. Here, too, you can find a regularly updated list of new books, scores, CDs and DVDs available in the Elder Music Library:

    Books and Articles

    Brennan, Gail and Clare, John, 1995. Bodgie Dada and the Cult of Cool.

    Sydney: UNSW Press,

    Bebbington, Warren (ed.). 1998. A Dictionary of Australian music.

    Melbourne: Oxford UP.

    Bird, John. Percy Grainger. Sydney: Currency Press.

    Buzacott, Martin, 2007. The Rite of Spring: 75 years of ABC Music-Making,

    Sydney: ABC Books

    Covell, Roger, 1967. Australia’s Music: Themes of a New Society. Melbourne: Sun Books

    Dawson, Herbert. 1985. Smoky Dawson: A Life. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.

    Dunbar-Hall, Peter and C. Gibson. 2004. Deadly Sounds, Deadly Spaces: Contemporary Aboriginal Music in Australia. Sydney: UNSW Press.

    Elder, Catriona. 2007. Being Australian: Narratives of national identity.

    NSW: Allen & Unwin.

    Gillies, Malcolm, David Pear and Mark Carroll. 2006. Self-Portrait of Percy

    Grainger. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Hayward, Philip (ed.) 2003. Outback and urban: Australian country music, vol 1. Qld: AICM Press.

    Hayward, Philip and G. Walden (eds) 2004. Roots and crossovers: Australian country music, vol. 2. Qld: AICM Press.

    Homan, Shane and Mitchell, Tony (eds) 2008. Sounds of Then, Sounds of Now: Popular Music in Australia. Hobart: University of Tasmania, ACYS Publishing.

    Kerry, Gordon, 2009. New Classical Music: Composing Australia. Sydney: UNSW Press

    Breen, Marcus, ed. 1989. Our Place, Our Music. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press

    Cockington, James, 2001. Long Way to the Top: Stories of Australian Rock and Roll. Sydney: ABC Books

    Smith, Graeme, 2005. Singing Australian: A History of Folk and Country Music. Melbourne: Pluto

    Walker, Clinton, 2000. Buried Country: The Story of Aboriginal Country Music. Sydney: Pluto

    Kruger, Debbie. 2005. Songwriters Speak: Conversations about Creating Music. Balmain: Limelight Press.

    Mackinlay, Elizabeth, Denis Collins and Samantha Owens, eds. 2005.

    Aesthetics and experience in music performance. Newcastle, U.K. :

    Cambridge Scholars.

    Manifold, John. 1957. The Violin, the Banjo & the Bones. Melbourne: Ram’s Skull Press.

    Richards, Fiona (ed.) 2007. The soundscapes of Australia : music, place and spirituality.

    Aldershot, England : Ashgate.

    Russell, Lynette. 2006. Boundary writing: an exploration of race, culture, and

    gender binaries in contemporary Australia. Honolulu: University of

    Hawaii Press.

    Rutherford, Anna and James Wieland (eds.). 1997. War: Australia’s Creative Response. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.

    Smith, Graeme. 2005. Singing Australian: A History of Folk and Country Music. Melbourne: Pluto.

    Smith, Graeme and J. Brett. 1998. ‘Nation, Authenticity and Social Difference in Australian Popular Music: Folk, Country, Multicultural’, Journal of Australian Studies 58: 3-17.

    Stokes, Martin (ed.). 1994. Ethnicity, identity, and music: The musical

    construction of place. Providence, RI : Berg.

    Tait, John. 2010. Vanda & Young : inside Australia’s hit factory. Sydney: UNSW Press.

    Tsounis, Demeter. 2002. Rebetika music-making in Adelaide: Diaspora

    musical style and identity. Unpublished PhD dissertation.

    Walker, Clinton. 2004. Buried Country: The Story of Aboriginal Country Music. Sydney: Pluto.

    Watson, Eric. 1976. Country Music in Australia, 2nd ed. Sydney: Clarendon Press.

    Whiteoak, John. 1995. ‘Hawaiian Music and Jazzing.’ Perfect Beat 2.3: 115- 18.

    ——. 1998. Playing ad lib: improvisatory music in Australia 1836-1970. Sydney: Currency Press.

    ——. ‘The Tango Touch: “Latin” and “Continental” Influences on Music and Dance before Australian “Multiculturalism”.’

    Whiteoak, John and Scott, Aline (eds.). 2003. Currency companion to music and dance in Australia. Sydney: Currency Press.

    Video recordings

    Long Way to the Top: Stories of Australian Rock and Roll. 2001. ABC,

    Passion (Life of Percy Grainger). 1999. Beyond Films.

    Peter Sculthorpe: There’s no time. 1990. ABC.

    Nothing rhymes with Ngapartji. 2010. Ronin Films.

    A Thousand Encores: The Ballets Russes in Australia. 2009. Flaming Star Films.

    Buried Country: The Story of Aboriginal Country Music. 2000. Film Australia.


    Australian Music Centre,

    Australian Popular Music.
    Online Learning
    Online learning

    MyUni will be used to provide details of lecture and seminar content, set readings, assessment advice, and announcements.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    Learning & Teaching Activities

    Learning & Teaching modes

    The course will give participants an appreciation of the variety of Australia’s musical life through live performance experiences (in situ and external fieldtrips), backgrounded by lectures and workshops that provide ways of interpreting, critiquing and understanding the character of Australia’s musical life.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    In addition to the required contact hours, students are expected to play an active role in the practice, refinement and consolidation of their knowledge and understanding. For each hour of this course students will need to spend on average an additional minimum of 3-4 hours per week on readings, critical listening, self-initiated learning and research in order to pass the course.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Learning Activities Summary

    The information below is divided into history and theory lecture topics. It is intended as a guide, and may change in response to needs arising during the semester. 

    Encompassing four strands or focus points, the course outlines the variety of Australia’s music and provide trajectories through which we may consider its character and development.

    Strand 1: Australia’s Classical Music
    The course provides a general survey of Australia’s Classical Music tradition. Brought to Australia with European settlement, Australia has invested significantly in the creation of a national infrastructure for the propagation of Classical Music. Out of this tradition, Australia has forged a singular identity - chiefly represented in the work of its own composers - which both builds upon and takes its own trajectory from the European models from which it derives. Throughout this development, the tension between adherence to European models and the development of uniquely Australian identity has been a constant issue.

    Strand 2: Traditional and contemporary Indigenous music
    The music of Australia’s aboriginal peoples constitutes a rich and fascinating culture.  As well as examining the original musical
    forms of Australia’s diverse aboriginal cultures, the course will explore the ways in which aboriginal musicians have engaged with the influence of other streams of popular music, including country music and rock music, to develop their own variants expressing aboriginal identity in contemporary contexts.

    Strand 3: Jazz in Australia
    Jazz in Australia has emerged its own distinctive voice, one that merges American and British traditions into a
    composite that reflects a more diverse, if not inclusive musical outlook. The evolution of Australian jazz traces changes in the entertainment industry, from dance hall to club, from from hotel to concert stage.
    Strand 4: Australian popular music  
    The growth of popular music in the 20th century had an immediate impact in Australia. As the genre passed through
    successive waves of innovation, from early rock and roll, rock to rap, these influences have been imported, replicated and transmuted into their own Australian incarnations. The culture from which this music has developed differs from the institutionalised classical sphere, responding far more to commercial opportunity and popular appeal.

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Summary

    Assessment task Task type Weighting Learning Objective/s
    Field Trip Report Formative and summative 30% 2,4,6,8,9
    Attendance and participation Formative 10% 6,7,9
    Research Essay Formative and summative 60% 1,2,3,5,6,8,9
    Assessment Detail

    Assessment Detail

    1. Major Essay
    (3,000 – 4,000 words) 60% 

    The main assessment requirement for the course is an essay of between 3,000 and 4,000 words, on a topic which may be either selected from options below, or chosen yourself. This essay will account for 60% of the course requirement.

    Suggested Essay Topics:

    • Outline the varieties of Indigenous musical cultures in Australia.
    •  Describe the origins and development of one of the following areas of Western musical practice in Australian society: Opera, symphonic music, chamber music, ballet, jazz, choral music.
    • Examine the career and music of a selected Australian composer, discussing the composer’s relationship to developments in Australian culture of his or her time.
    • Is there such a thing as a “uniquely Australian” music, or is it, as Neville Cardus suggested, like the “history of snakes in Iceland”? Discuss with reference to particular composers, cultures or musical styles.
    • Outline the development of a particular style of popular music in Australia, with reference to particular bands or artists and their careers.

    2. Field trip report 30%

    Students will be required to write 4 x 300 word reviews of field trip events attended during the course. The review will be in the form of a reflective journal that engages with the extent to which the activity described offers insights in to the musical genre in question, and notions of national identity

    3. Attendance and Participation 10%

    Information outlining requirements for the various assessment components, along with assignment cover sheets, will be provided during the course. Cover sheets require a signed acknowledgement by the student of the University’s policy on plagiarism, thus giving a legal status to cover sheets.

    Late assignment policy:

    Late written assignments will be accepted to a maximum of 7 days late with a late penalty of 2 marks per calendar day applied. 

    Extensions without penalty may be granted when supporting documentation can be provided and then, and only then, by arrangement with the course lecturer prior to the due date and time. Extensions will not be granted under any other circumstance. 

    To apply for an extension, use the medical/compassionate application form available at:

    The completed form should be submitted to the Faculty of Arts office (ground floor Napier Building)

    Students will receive feedback on their assessment tasks.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.