Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


The unit introduces students to the branch of philosophy known as aesthetics through exploration of its historical development, its place within contemporary intellectual culture, and its application to music. The nature and development of aesthetics is investigated broadly across a range of artistic disciplines and, more specifically, in Western art music and popular music contexts. With the aim of developing the students' skills in artistic direction, seminar discussions interrogate the nature of musical meaning, the creation of aesthetic value, and the relationship between the musical work and the audience.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 4 elective

Students are able to (1) outline significant developments and moments relating to the study of aesthetics across a broad range of artistic disciplines and, more specifically, to both Western art music and popular music; (2) situate debates pertaining to music aesthetics and music criticism within wider historical, social and cultural contexts; (3) analyse the nature and creation of meaning in the work of composers, performers, and music practitioners across a range of Western art music and popular music texts; (4) apply aesthetic theories to critically evaluate musical works, musical performances, and artistic programming/curation; and (5) apply aesthetic understandings toward the artistic direction of original, innovative, and cohesive musical experiences.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) participation; (2) research project; and (3) presentations. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Ashley Smith
Contact hours
seminars: 2 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.