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BA (Hons) Gaelic and Traditional Music

AWARD: Undergraduate
STUDY MODE: Full-time,On-campus
DURATION: 4 Years
CODE: QW53
COURSE LEADER: Dr Decker Forrest
COURSE CONTACT: Eilidh Grant ( )

SPECIAL FEATURES

The BA (Hons) Gaelic and Traditional Music course is the only Gaelic-medium degree programme that gives traditional musicians the chance to study the music, history and traditions of the Gàidhealtachd within the broader contexts of Gaelic and related studies. As well as theoretical, practical one to one and group-work classes, students also perform regularly on tours and at major festivals and have the opportunity to spend a semester studying music in Ireland or Canada in Year 4. Throughout the programme, students study with leading musicians and scholars and forge essential links with other musicians and key individuals from within the music industry.

DESCRIPTION

Subjects covered in the Programme include a range of practical and theory based topics essential to a successful career in music. They include one-to-one tuition in the student’s main performance-study, group-work, singing, music theory, composing and arranging, Gaelic music history, recording and producing, music education and business studies. The Programme is offered with the following performance-studies although others may be considered on application: Accordion (piano or button key), Fiddle, Flute and Whistle (black flute preferred), Gaelic Song, Guitar, Highland Bagpipes, Keyboard and Scottish Harp (gut and/or wire-strung).

COURSE CONTENT

Depending on your Gaelic language abilities, you will study on one of the immersive Gaelic courses – An Cùrsa Comais or Gàidhlig is Conaltradh – in your first year, an essential grounding for the years ahead as a musician in Scotland.

Year 1 music modules cover music performance and theory, composition and arrangement.
Year 2 modules cover music performance, theory, composition and arrangement and history of Gaelic music.
Year 3 includes a major project, an introduction to business studies, recording and producing, further study of music performance and the history of Gaelic music, with an opportunity to study music education.
Year 4 includes a written dissertation, as well as further study in the areas of music performance, recording and producing, business studies and music education.

CORE MODULES

YEAR 1
SCQF Level 7

Module Code:
Credits:

For the structure at Level SCQF 7, see An Cùrsa Comais and Gaelic and Communication. Students taking Gaelic and Traditional Music will be required to elect Music Performance and Gaelic Song 1 and Theory, Arrangement and Composition 1 as their optional modules.

YEAR 2
Gaelic Language 2

Module Code: UQ508491
Credits: 20

The purpose of this module is to build upon the language skills acquired at SCQF Level 7 and to enable the student to produce course work in Gaelic of a linguistic quality appropriate to study at SCQF Level 8.

It therefore aims to reinforce and refine language skills acquired at SCQF 7, develop the student’s ability to recognise and use complex language structures, develop the ability to use concise, precise and apt styles, structures and vocabulary, develop translation skills and develop transcription skills

On completion of this module the student should be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of complex language structures;
  • demonstrate an ability to use complex language structures;
  • demonstrate an ability to employ appropriate language styles;
  • express thoughts and ideas accurately and concisely;
  • translate written texts accurately and concisely;
  • identify and apply the conventions of Gaelic grammar, syntax and orthography;
  • analyse and transcribe accurately spoken Gaelic;
  • proof-read and emend written Gaelic.

YEAR 3
Gaelic Language 3

Module Code: UQ509824
Credits: 20

The purpose of this module is to enhance further the language skills developed at SCQF Level 8, to enable the student to achieve subtlety and confidence of expression in Gaelic in a comprehensive range of contexts and to equip the student to engage in academic discourse at graduate level through the medium of Gaelic.

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • critically discuss complex topics in Gaelic;
  • make effective and detailed oral presentations in Gaelic;
  • use a variety of registers for different purposes as appropriate;
  • interpret and paraphrase technical, specialist, archaic and older literary forms of language;
  • demonstrate an ability to use Gaelic readily in contexts and domains where there is customarily a presumption towards switching to English.

Research Skills

Module Code: UQ509825
Credits: 20

This module is intended to give a student the knowledge of what research is and the skills to complete a small research project of their own. The student is first introduced to definitions of research and debates about the uses, ethics of and reliability of research. Students then discuss how to define an appropriate research question and how to draw up a short research proposal.

The module aims to give the student a grounding in good practice and basic research skills that lead to them into becoming more independent thinkers and practitioners. The module also prepares students for further research work at SCQF Level 10, in the Honours Dissertation.

On successful completion of this module students will:

  • have general knowledge of what constitutes academic research, research ethics and research methods
  • have practical skills in and understanding of the research process, including identifying a suitable topic, choosing appropriate research methods, ethical issues, data analysis methods, and how to write up research results
  • be able to critique and integrate different sources of data to form a clear, well-argued, referenced argument based on first-hand research work.

YEAR 4
Degree Related Dissertation

Module Code: UQ510844
Credits: 40

This module, at Level 10, builds on the skills acquired in Research Skills (SCQF 9) to produce a high quality project using both their research and design skills, both as a formal presentation and dissertation of between 10,000 and 12,000 words.

In this module you will:

  • develop your research skills to undertake a major research project
  • do your own research (reading, interviews or gathering evidence) in the first semester, and write it up in dissertation format (thesis, major project) in the second semester.
  • develop your personal skills in getting organized and on schedule.

Music Performance 4

Module Code: UW310829
Credits: 40

OPTIONAL MODULES

YEAR 2
Music Performance and Gaelic Song 2

Module Code: UW308472
Credits: 40

This is the second of the Music Performance modules which progress through all four years of the programme. Students will work in ensemble to create sets of music (both vocal and instrumental) to be performed publically and for an exam. All students receive weekly one-to-one tuition in their chosen area of specialisation. Students must also sing an extended Gaelic song from memory.

On completion of this module the student should be able to:

  • Acquisition of performance skills on chosen area of specialisation appropriate to this level
  • Acquisition of basic ensemble skills in chosen area of specialisation and group vocal music
  • Ability to sing an extended Gaelic song from memory

Theory, Arrangement & Composition 2

Module Code: UW308473
Credits: 20

This module follows on from Theory, Composing and Arranging 1 and focuses on prescriptive transcription skills and more advanced composition and arrangement techniques which are idiomatically Scottish Gaelic, and the ability to use these (and any other influences) as catalysts for original creative work.

On successful completion of the module students will have:

  • understanding of fundamental music theory and related Gaelic vocabulary
  • acquisition of basic composition and arrangement skills
  • ability to use Sibelius software to produce neat and musically accurate scores

History of Gaelic Music

Module Code: UW308471
Credits: 20

This module introduces students to the music of the Gael and its history from pre-historic times through to the mid-twentieth century.

On successful completion of the module the student will have:

  • understanding of the main periods of history of the Gàidhealtachd and corresponding musical development.
  • acquisition of the necessary vocabulary for this module.

YEAR 3
Music Performance 3

Module Code: UW309805
Credits: 20

Students work in bands to create pieces of music (to be sung and performed). These pieces will be performed in public, in a concert setting, and in a rehearsal.

Each student will receive individual tuition in their chosen specialist subject.

Approximately 91 hours will be spent working on the student’s specialist subject with approximately 24 hours of one – to – one teaching and 65 hours of group teaching. Singing is taught, as a group, 24 hours a year.

Gaelic Song 3

Module Code: UW309806
Credits: 20

On successful completion of the module students should have:

  • progressed in their vocal skills in group and solo contexts (especially with regard to breathing, memorisation, rhythm and diction)
  • a thorough understanding of different genres of Gaelic song and the relationship between songs and their places of origin
  • the ability to sing two extended Gaelic songs from memory

Professional Presentational and Organisational Skills

Module Code: UW309807
Credits: 20

This module equips students with knowledge of sound systems, how to effectively plan events such as concerts or tours abroad and introduces business and legal matters relating to the music profession. Presentational skills related to performance and written/sound production are also addressed.

On successful completion of the module students should have:

  • competence in the handling of sound systems
  • competence in programme planning and presentational skills
  • the ability to demonstrate a wide awareness of business and legal matters related to the music profession including taxation, business planning and intellectual property rights

Music Performance 3

Module Code: UW309805
Credits: 20

Students work in bands to create pieces of music (to be sung and performed). These pieces will be performed in public, in a concert setting, and in a rehearsal.

Each student will receive individual tuition in their chosen specialist subject.

Approximately 91 hours will be spent working on the student’s specialist subject with approximately 24 hours of one – to – one teaching and 65 hours of group teaching. Singing is taught, as a group, 24 hours a year.

YEAR 4
Themed Production

Module Code: UW310830
Credits: 20

Recording and Producing

Module Code: UW310832
Credits: 20

Cruthachadh agus Cothromachadh 4

Module Code: UW310831
Credits: 20

YEAR 1 – SCQF Level 7 For the structure at Level SCQF 7, see An Cùrsa Comais and Gaelic and Communication. Students taking Gaelic and Traditional Music will be required to elect Music Performance and Gaelic Song 1 and Theory, Arrangement and Composition 1 as their optional modules. YEAR 2 – SCQF Level 8 Core modules

  • Gaelic Language 2

Optional modules

  • Music Performance and Gaelic Song 2
  • Theory, Arrangement & Composition 2
  • History of Gaelic Music

YEAR 3 – SCQF Level 9 Core modules

  • Gaelic Language 3
  • Research Skills

Optional modules

  • Music Performance 3
  • Gaelic Song 3
  • Professional Presentational and Organisational Skills
  • Teaching Music

YEAR 4 – SCQF Level 10 Core module

  • Dissertation
  • Music Performance 4

Optional modules

  • Themed Production
  • Recording and Producing
  • Composing and Arranging Portfolio

PROGRESSION ROUTES & EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

  • Live performance and recording
  • Music and Gaelic-medium education
  • Gaelic cultural sector (including media)
  • Postgraduate study and research

UCAS - ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

  • 3 SQA Higher passes at grades B, B and C or above, preferably including Gàidhlig (fluent speakers) or Gaelic (learners) at B or above; or
  • 2 A Levels at grades BC or above
  • other equivalent qualifications subject to the discretion of the Course/Programme Leader.

Applicants will be required to undertake an audition for the BA (Hons) Gaelic and Traditional Music course.

It is also recommended that applicants have obtained a pass at Level 5 of associated board examinations prior to entry. Students without an SQA pass in Gaelic must satisfy the college of their ability in Gaelic. For applicants with little or no previous knowledge of Gaelic, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig offers An Cùrsa Inntrigidh, a distance learning course which aims to prepare students for entry to Year 1 of the degree programme.

Picture of SMO student

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