Musical Criticism


a) To acquire a contextualized overview of the history and role of musical criticism.
b) To correlate the main tendencies of musical criticism with aspects linked to the history of musical interpretation and the author/composer’s role within different musical genres.
c) To reflect on the different discourses and issues which pervade current musical criticism.
d) To develop listening and writing skills about music that can be used in the media.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Available soon


Weekly - 3 letivas + 1 tutorial

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





Bourdieu, P. (1979). La distinction: critique sociale du jugement. Paris: Minuit.
Cascudo, T. & Palacios, M. (Eds.) (2011). Los señores de la crítica: periodismo musical e ideología del modernismo en Madrid, 1900-1950. Sevilla: Editorial Doble J.
Cone, E. T. (1989). The Authority of Music Criticism. In Music: A View From Delft (pp. 95-112). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Ellis, K. (1995). Music Criticism in Nineteenth-Century France: La Revue et gazette musicale de Paris 1834–80. Cambridge: CUP.
Haskell, H. (Ed.) (1996). The Attentive Listener: Three Centuries of Music Criticism. Princeton: PUP.
Kerman, J. (1994). Write All These Down: Essays on Music. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Pestelli, G. (2001). La pulce nell´orecchio: temi svolti di critica musicale. Venezia: Marsilio.
Taruskin, R. (1995). Text and Act: Essays on Music and Performance. New York: OUP.

Teaching method

Theoretical classes (40%); Practical classes (60%). Practical classes will comprise analysis and discussion on musical reviews from several historical periods and with dissimilar scopes; comparative listening of different performances of the same musical piece; and oral presentations by the students including reviews of texts from the bibliography and critical comments on musical performances.

Evaluation method

Continuous assessment (50%): Assiduity, active participation in class (comprising discussion about topics related to the programme, oral presentations and practical exercises regarding musical criticism) will be considered.
Written assessment (50%): 4 music reviews (maximum 5 pp. each).

Subject matter

1. History and foundations of musical criticism.
2. Bibliographic resources for the study of musical criticism.
3. Criticism and the history of musical interpretation.
4. Musical criticism today concerning the national and international scene.
5. Recent challenges and new digital media.


Programs where the course is taught: