Italian and Music (BA)

Italian and Music BA (Joint Honours) offers a unique look at the complimentary areas of music and linguistics

Many students find studying a joint honours stimulating and rewarding as they are able to observe both similarities and differences between the two subjects. By combining Music and Italian, you will gain a wealth of transferable skills and knowledge beneficial to the world of employment, making you competitive and attractive in an increasingly global workforce and opening the doors to a variety of career paths.

Since Roman times, the Italian contribution to world culture has been enormous as it is obvious to anyone who steps foot in the country, however briefly. But Italy is not just a country of singular cultural importance. It is a major political partner in the European Union, and it is a leading force in fields such as engineering and architecture. It is the home of the design and fashion industries. 

Italian at Cardiff University enables you to access, analyse and evaluate current developments across the Italian speaking world as well as the cultures and values of the past. Having studied Italian, you will be ready to take advantage of the wide-ranging opportunities open to language graduates today.

In terms of language acquisition, this course will enable you to develop your writing, oral and aural skills through a range of learning activities, and using a variety of audio-visual materials. In your first year, in addition to your language tuition, an introduction to history and culture seeks to provide a solid foundation for more specialised studies as you progress through your course.  

You will develop high-level language skills with the aim of achieving near-native competency along with in-depth knowledge of aspects of the culture, history, politics and society of Italy. You will spend your third year in Italy, practising and developing your language skills. We offer Italian for both advanced students and beginners.

It is important to remember that studying languages is not just about the language itself. It involves examining many aspects of a country and its culture, its social structures and institutions, politics, history, literature and cinema. Through the study of such areas you are able to gain a better understanding of Italian culture and of how it has evolved over the centuries, becoming what it is today.

On completion of this four-year programme, you will have a high level of language proficiency, as well as a critical understanding of key aspects of Italian history, culture, literature, politics and contemporary society.   

Home to the arts, Cardiff is a great location for the study of music in the UK. The city has a professional opera company, Welsh National Opera, and a professional symphony orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. The School of Music enjoys a fruitful relationship with both organisations that allows, for instance, our students to attend dress rehearsals and buy cut-price tickets for concerts. 

You are expected to have gained or shown evidence of working towards Grade 8 in one or more instruments or voice at the time of your application. You may be considered if you are not taking A-level Music but have Grade 8 Practical and Grade 7/8 Theory and are studying appropriate Humanities subjects at A-level.

As a joint honours student, you will find that often there are complementary issues and perspectives that link subjects, be they critical analysis, historical contexts or recent research.

Each school involved in delivering the degree offers a challenging course of modules, supported by a friendly atmosphere and excellent staff-student relationships.

Distinctive features

The distinctive features of the course include:

  • core modules that guarantee a solid base for all, but then allow you, with advice from your personal tutor, to carve out a programme that will best fit your interests and career aspirations
  • a pathway into this degree for beginners who do not have Italian A-level
  • a year spent studying or working in Italy
  • fully-funded instrumental (or vocal) tuition on your principal study instrument
  • the option in both subjects to write a dissertation lets you choose a topic that draws on both disciplines
  • exploring music within a broad cultural context, embracing the literary, the social and the political
  • opportunities for contact with active music professionals through composition workshops, performance masterclasses, the University concert series, and our careers talks

Key facts

UCAS CodeWR33
Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration4 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School of Modern Languages typically has 185 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School of Modern Languages typically receives 600 applications.
Admissions tutor(s)

Entry requirements

For detailed entry requirements see the School of Modern Languages and School of Music admissions criteria pages.

Typical A level offerBBB. Three A-level subjects, including a B in Music and generally including a B in a modern language for the Italian beginners pathway or B in Italian for the advanced pathway. Exceptions can be made according to personal circumstances. Two AS subjects may be considered in lieu of a third A-level. All joint honours applicants with Music are expected to have gained or shown evidence of working towards Grade 8 in one instrument or voice at the time of application. Consideration will be given to applicants who are not taking A-level Music but have Grade 8 Practical and Grade 7/8 Theory and are studying appropriate Humanities subjects at A-level.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerGrade A in the Core and grades BB at GCE A-level, to include Music and a Language subject. All joint honours applicants with Music are expected to have gained or shown evidence of working towards Grade 8 in one instrument or voice at the time of application. Consideration will be given to applicants who are not taking A-level Music but have Grade 8 Practical and Grade 7/8 Theory and are studying appropriate Humanities subjects at A-level.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer32 points with 6 in Music at higher level.
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome.

This full-time course lasts for four years with two semesters per year. There are 120 credits a year, split equally between the two subjects. Most modules are worth 10 or 20 credits. The third year is spent abroad.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2017/18 academic year. The final modules will be published by July 2017.

Year one

Year one is a foundation year to give you the skills for advanced study and an overview of the two subjects to inform your later choices. You will take 120 credits in total equally split between 60 credits in music and 60 credits in Italian.

In year one Italian you will build on core linguistic skills and be introduced to Italian culture, literature, civilisation and politics. There are two pathways available: an advanced pathway for students with an A-level or equivalent competence in Italian and a beginner’s pathway for students with limited or no knowledge of Italian.

The first year of this programme provides a thorough foundation in the grammar of the language for those students on the beginner’s pathway, and develops the linguistic skills for post A-level students on the advanced pathway.

To provide a foundation for more specialised studies, you also study modules devoted to relevant history, culture, politics, economics and society.       

In Music, this is essentially a foundation year preparing you to take advantage of the creative and intellectual benefits of higher education.

In the first year the School of Music offers core instruction in analysis, harmony and counterpoint, history of music, composition and practical musicianship. As a BA student you will take a free choice from these subjects.

Note that some Music modules provide essential preparation (‘prerequisites’) for more advanced modules if you wish to pursue them in later years.

To complement your academic study, you are actively encouraged to join the University Choir or Orchestra and other ensembles.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Modern Italy: Birth of a Nation?ML810320 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Advanced Italian Language Year 1ML818840 credits
Beginners Italian Language Year 1ML818940 credits
Composition 1AMU110710 credits
ETHNOMUSICOLOGY I: MUSIC IN HUMAN LIFEMU112410 credits
Elements of Tonal Music IMU112520 credits
The Full WorksMU112710 credits
Composition 1BMU120810 credits
Fundamental AcousticsMU121710 credits
A HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSICMU122610 credits
Elements of Tonal Music IIMU122720 credits
From Page To Stage: Dramaturgy in Musical TheatreMU123010 credits
Practical Musicianship IMU131410 credits
Repertoire StudiesMU131720 credits

Year two

In year two you will again take 60 credits in music and 60 credits in Italian.

In Italian you will have training in the critical analysis of concepts, theories and methods. The language elements of year two Italian focus on preparation for the year abroad.  This is complemented by a variety of optional modules which, as a supplement to Italian-specific topics, normally include modules on European film, comparative literature and cultural history, as well as translation theory and practice.         

In Music, courses are more advanced and you will focus on more specialist topics, choosing from four groups: Composition and Electroacoustic Studies, Written and Practical Musicianship, Analytical and Critical Skills, and Historical Studies.

Our year two modules on the Business of Music I/II are designed to help you better understand different branches of the music profession and give an opportunity for a short placement in an area related to music or the arts, either in one block or as a series of regular workplace visits.

Module titleModule codeCredits
At the Roots of European CulturesML129520 credits
Innovations in European LiteratureML129820 credits
Introduction to Specialised Translation (Italian)ML229620 credits
Principles of Translation TheoryML229920 credits
History Of Art From Middle Ages To The RenaissanceML829220 credits
Memories of FascismML829320 credits
Dante: The Journey And The MissionML829420 credits
Italian Language Year 2 (Ex-Beginners)ML829620 credits
Italian Language Year 2 (Ex-Advanced)ML829920 credits
Harmonic Practice (1750-1900)MU211410 credits
Analysing 20th Century MusicMU215210 credits
Studio Techniques I : Midi and SynthesisersMU215310 credits
Formal Functions in The Classical TraditionMU215720 credits
Issues in Popular MusicMU216010 credits
ORCHESTRATIONMU216120 credits
The Business of Music IMU216410 credits
Performance Practice and Organology: The Long Eighteenth Century 1700-1830MU216710 credits
Performance Practice and Organology: The Long Eighteenth Century 1700-1830MU216820 credits
Issues in Popular MusicMU217020 credits
Contrapuntal Practice (1750-1900)MU222410 credits
Opera From Handel To WeberMU225610 credits
Introduction To Schenkerian AnalysisMU225710 credits
Studio Techniques I : Midi and SynthesisersMU226110 credits
ETHNOMUSICOLOGY II: Music in Cross-Cultural PerspectiveMU227120 credits
The Business of Music IIMU227220 credits
Reading Film SoundMU227410 credits
Reading Film SoundMU227720 credits
Opera from Handel to WeberMU227820 credits
Composition IIMU232020 credits
Practical Musicianship I IMU235520 credits
MUSIC SOUNDED OUT: INTERPRETING ORAL AND RECORDED GENRES AND FORMSMU235620 credits

Year three: Sandwich year

Year three is spent in Italy. Your options include studying at one of our partner universities, working as an English assistant in a school through the British Council Scheme, or working for an Italian organisation or company. No matter what you choose, the year abroad is a great opportunity for you to improve your understanding of the language, immerse yourself in another culture, and gain international study or work experience.   

If you choose the study option, we have established academic links with universities in Milan, Pavia, Parma, Pisa, Verona, Trento, Venice, Florence and Catania. 

Placements for teaching assistants on a scheme run by the British Council can take you either a major city or a small, rural town. This option provides first-hand teaching experience and allows you to earn a salary sufficient to live on, although you only work on a part-time basis. Prior to the start of your placement, the British Council provides a training weekend in the destination country. In addition, the school you have been assigned to should also guide you in your role as a teacher and help you to find a place to live.

The third option consists of a work placement with an organisation or company in the Italian-speaking world. The necessary arrangements can be made through personal contacts you may have or by approaching organisations directly. In order to ensure that your work placement affords you plenty of opportunity to speak Italian and provides you with a beneficial experience, such arrangements will require prior approval by the School.

Any student who undertakes a study placement or a traineeship/work placement in Europe is eligible to apply for an Erasmus grant.      

The year abroad is a great opportunity for you to improve your understanding of the language, immerse yourself in another culture, and gain international study or work experience.

While you are away from Cardiff, you will be assigned a year abroad coordinator, who will keep in touch with you and monitor your progress. You may also get a visit from one of your lecturers who will be keen to find out how you are getting on.

Final year students are usually happy to help with our regular year abroad briefings and have contributed to our extensive ‘year abroad module’ on Learning Central which provides you with student-centred advice throughout your year abroad.

Studying or working abroad is excellent preparation for your final year and gives you a level of self-confidence and maturity that has proven popular with employers.

Year four

In your final year you will take 60 credits in music and 60 credits in Italian

We no longer distinguish between beginner and advanced Italian students in the final year and all students will take the same language modules. You will refine your linguistic skills in terms of expression and translation, and specialise in your areas of interest by choosing specialised module options. 

Our final year dissertation module gives you the option to write a dissertation and engage more deeply with a chosen topic area, as well as extending your research and analytical skills.

In Music, you choose again from the four subject groups, and can pursue one of the three major academic projects: Dissertation, Project in Ethnomusicology, or Project in Music Analysis. 

You may complete a short composition portfolio (Composition IV) and/or a ‘closed’ recital in front of examiners only (Practical Musicianship IV).

Module titleModule codeCredits
Italian Language (BA Languages)ML839720 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Student Language AmbassadorML139820 credits
May 68. Marking Changes in European Politics and CultureML139920 credits
European Cinema: thinking the real of fictionML230220 credits
Dissertation/Project (Translation)ML238920 credits
Translation as a ProfessionML239320 credits
Joint Honours Italian Dissertation IN ITALIANML838520 credits
Italian for professional purposesML838620 credits
Dissertation (Italian-JH)ML838720 credits
Advanced Translation Practice (Italian)ML838920 credits
Twentieth Century Italian Women's WritingML839120 credits
Practical Musicianship III (Ensemble)MU313710 credits
The Birth of ModernismMU314910 credits
Case Studies in Performance PracticeMU315410 credits
Case Studies in Performance PracticeMU315820 credits
Studio Techniques II : Audio and Hard Disk RecordingMU316320 credits
20th Century Contrapuntal PracticeMU316410 credits
The Birth of ModernismMU316520 credits
Nineteenth Century Italian OperaMU316810 credits
Nineteenth Century Italian OperaMU316920 credits
Studio Techniques II: Audio and Hard Disk RecordingMU326720 credits
Notation and Editing of Early MusicMU327320 credits
Wagner and Romantic OperaMU327410 credits
Wagner and Romantic OperaMU327520 credits
The Cultures of BeethovenMU328010 credits
The Cultures of BeethovenMU328120 credits
Innovation and Tradition in French Music Since 1920MU328210 credits
Innovation and Tradition in French Music Since 1920MU328320 credits
FugueMU333020 credits
DissertationMU334030 credits
Project in Music AnalysisMU334330 credits
Practical Musicianship IV (Performance)MU334420 credits
Composition IvMU334520 credits
Project in EthnomusicologyMU334630 credits
The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

We offer a supportive learning environment, where you are enabled to acquire a range of skills and a wealth of specialist knowledge. Our courses foster intellectual skills, such as critical thinking, close analysis, evaluating evidence, constructing arguments, using theory and the effective deployment of language in writing and in debate. We also help you gain experience in team working, independent research and time management.

You will be taught both by lecture and seminar. Lectures provide an overview of the key concepts and frameworks for a topic, equipping you to carry out independent research for the seminars and to develop your own ideas. Seminars provide an opportunity for you to explore the ideas outlined in the lectures.

Seminars usually consist of about 15 students and the seminar leader (a member of the teaching team). Seminars may take various formats, including plenary group discussion, small-group work and student-led presentations.

Language classes are taught in groups to enhance confidence and active learning. A varied timetable includes oral expression, aural comprehension and writing skills, which are taught in small groups to enhance confidence and active learning. These vital communication skills are practiced and developed through regular classwork exercises and written work. Our teaching methods allow you to engage with a range of language-learning technologies. Materials including textbooks, videos, films, novels, audio files and websites are supported by online resources that compliment classroom activities and promote and enable independent learning. Class materials include a range from literary and historical to contemporary journalistic texts, providing a broad insight into language and culture. 

Instrumental tuition is fully funded by the School of Music on your principal study instrument. This includes accompaniment at your final recital. You receive 24 half-hour lessons over the course of the year.

In Music, we use a range of teaching and learning styles, including lectures, small-group seminars and workshops, individual tutorials, ensemble instrumental tuition, rehearsals, and independent study.

How will I be supported?

As well as having regular feedback from your personal tutor in each course, you will have a reading week each semester for guided study and a chance to catch up on assessed work, reading and revision. These weeks are also used by staff to visit students on their year abroad.

You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles.

The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.

Feedback

We’ll provide you with frequent feedback on your work. This comes in a variety of formats including oral feedback, personalised feedback on written work and general feedback in relation to examinations. You will also be able to discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor.

How will I be assessed?

A range of assessment methods are used, including essays, examinations, presentations, portfolios and creative assignments.

Essays and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments. Dedicated essay workshops and individual advice enable you to produce your best work, and written feedback on essays feeds forward into future work, enabling you to develop your strengths and address any weaker areas.

The optional final-year dissertation provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic of interest to you in depth and to acquire detailed knowledge about a particular field of study, to use your initiative in the collection and presentation of material and present a clear, cogent argument and draw appropriate conclusions.

What skills will I practise and develop?

As a result of engaging fully with this course, you will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’. These will allow you to:

  • grasp complex issues with confidence
  • ask the right questions of complex texts
  • have an imaginative appreciation of different views and options and analyse these critically
  • identify and apply relevant data
  • develop practical research skills
  • linguistic skills and a broad appreciation of the culture, literature and history of Italian and Italian-speaking countries
  • propose imaginative solutions of your own that are rooted in evidence
  • communicate clearly, concisely and persuasively in writing and speech
  • work to deadlines and priorities, managing a range of tasks at the same time
  • learn from constructive criticism and incorporate its insights
  • work as part of a team, developing a collaborative approach to problem-solving
  • use IT programmes and digital media, where appropriate
  • take responsibility for your own learning programme and professional development
  • critical skills (reasoning, evaluating evidence, problem-solving, relating theory to practice)
  • oral and written communication skills
  • creativity and innovative thinking
  • skills such as leadership, teamwork and self-management
  • identifying, recording and communicating your relevant career attainments

School of Modern Languages

In 2013/14, 95% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

Many graduates enjoy their year overseas so much that they take time out for more travel, or go abroad on graduation in the hope of finding a job. Of those who choose to remain in the UK, many start work immediately following their studies.

Employment options include roles as translators, language assistants, export assistants and proof readers, working with their languages in organisations such as Bearmach Ltd, the British Council, Global Response and Inter Global.

School of Music

In 2013/14, 98% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

The skills developed within a music degree help our students to progress to a wide range of careers, both within and beyond the music profession.

Employability skills are embedded in modules at the School of Music so that you will learn both music-specific and academic skills that are transferable to other domains, especially the workplace. Our second-year modules on the Business of Music are designed to help you better understand different branches of the music profession and provide an opportunity to undertake a short placement in a music-related or arts-related area.

Our annual series of talks on Careers in Music offer a great chance to meet professionals active in a range of fields such as performance, music education, music journalism, arts and artist management, production and licensing, and composing for media.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

Other than your principal study instrument, you will not need any specific equipment.

Year three is spent working or studying in Italy.

Year two modules on the Business of Music I/II give an opportunity for a short placement, either in one block or as a series of regular workplace visits.


Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.