Semester 1, Academic Year 2023/2024

Two video lectures a week (BOTH to be viewed) to be viewed on YouTube

Lecturer: Prof Bernard Tan, email:
Tutor: Ms Lydia Lam, email:

Class tutorials will be scheduled for each tutorial group as shown in the Canvas timetable.


This module will be presented as video lectures instead of live lectures in a lecture theatre. Hence no lecture theatre has been allocated for the module. However, you are to keep the lecture slot on Fridays from 10 am to 12 noon reserved for class tests.

Video lectures

All lectures will be presented in the form of video lectures. There will be a total of 22 video lectures. In general there will be two video lectures a week with a break for the mid-term test.

The video lectures will be viewed on YouTube, and the URL for each lecture will be released on the module webpage together with the corresponding PowerPoint slide. Each video will remain available on YouTube for the duration of the semester until the final examination.


The tutorials will be conducted during odd and even weeks as shown in the Canvas timetable. The class will be divided into groups of about 30 students. Each tutorial group will attend one tutorial session every two weeks. There will be five tutorial sessions for each group over ten weeks.

If you are unable to register for the tutorial time-slot of your choice, please email Ms Lydia Lam (stating your matriculation number) about your desired tutorial time slot after the tutorial registration has ended.

The questions for each two-week tutorial cycle (which starts in week 3) will be made available on the module webpage a few days before each cycle begins.

The questions are for discussion during tutorials. Answers need not be handed up as no marks are allocated for tutorial answers. Tutorial attendance is not compulsory.


Tutorial set no. 1 and the answers.

Tutorial set no. 2.


Every student is required to submit an essay as an individual project.

The essay should be on the following topic:

Attend a musical concert or any live musical performance, which could be an SSO concert, a musical or an opera, a pop/rock concert, a jazz concert, a Chinese orchestra concert or any concert, performance or event in which the live performance of music is the main focus (this excludes plays or ballet/dance performances). Say in your own words how and why you have enjoyed (or not enjoyed) the performance. You should include some comments on how and why science and/or technology may have had an effect (positive or otherwise) on your musical experience and why, but the main focus of the essay should be on your personal views of the concert performance. The essay should be written from the point of view of a member of the audience, and NOT as one of the performers.

You may also write about a concert you have recently attended (within the last 3 months). This will include concerts during the months of June, July and August 2023. The concert should be a formal performance by live performers for an audience lasting at least 45 minutes. The concert may be either in an indoor or outdoor venue, and need not be a ticketed fee-paying performance.

You need not confine your essay to the content of the lectures. The essay should express your own opinions, and will be graded on content and writing ability.

The essay should have a word count of at least 200 words but not exceeding 800 words and should be written in English. If other languages are used in, for example, titles of musical pieces, an English translation should be provided. The essay should consist only of text and should NOT include any photographs or illustrations. Any references or bibliography should be included in the word count.

Please mention the name of the performer or group performing and the venue and date of the concert. Your essay MUST be entirely your own unaided work.

The essay should be submitted as a Microsoft Word file with the name:
where xxxxxxxxx is your matriculation number. Please put the number of words and your matric number at the end of your essay but do NOT include your name.

The submission deadline is at the end of week 10 of the semester, at the midnight of Saturday 28 October 2023, i.e. the midnight between Saturday 28 October and Sunday 29 October.

The Canvas workbin for the submission of the Essay project files will be open a few days before the submission deadline. Please do NOT email your essay files to me.


Introductory lecture

Introductory lecture in
ppt format.

Lecture 1

Lecture 1 in ppt format.
Video lecture no. 1 on YouTube.

Lecture 2

Lecture 2 in ppt format.
Video lecture no. 2 on YouTube.

Lecture 3

Lecture 3 in ppt format.
Video lecture no. 3 on YouTube.

Lecture 4

Lecture 4 in ppt format.
Video lecture no. 4 on YouTube.

Lecture 5

Lecture 5 in ppt format.
Video lecture no. 5 on YouTube.

Lecture 6

Lecture 6 in ppt format.
Video lecture no. 6 on YouTube.

Lecture 7

Lecture 7 in ppt format.
Video lecture no. 7 on YouTube.

Lecture 8

Lecture 8 in ppt format.
Video lecture no. 8 on YouTube.

Lecture 9

Lecture 9 in ppt format.
Video lecture no. 9 on YouTube.

Lecture 10

Lecture 10 in ppt format.
Video lecture no. 10 on YouTube.

Lecture 11

Lecture 11 in ppt format.
Video lecture no. 11 on YouTube.

Lecture 12

Lecture 12 in ppt format.
Video lecture no. 12 on YouTube.

Musical Examples from YouTube

The first four examples below give real examples of conductors conducting various time signatures.
The basic conducting hand movements.

Beethoven's Symphony No. 5, 1st Movement. Watch in conjunction with slide 11 of lecture 5 to see how the conductor starts off the first bar which has a rest, using an extra up beat before the first down beat to establish the tempo. Otherwise with only the first downbeat, it would be impossible for the players to know the speed of the first three quavers.
Performance by BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Daniel Barenboim.

Example of 3/4 time signature: Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5, 3rd Movement.
Performed by Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra conducted by Peter Santa.

Example of 5/4 time signature: Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6, 2nd Movement. Note how 5/4 time is conducted as a 3+2 pattern.
Performed by State Symphony Orchestra of Tatarstan conducted by Feodor Gluschenko.
Performed by Orchestra del Teatro alLa Scala Milan Tatarstan conducted by Yuri Temirkanov.

Example of 5/4 time signature in jazz: Take Five.
Dave Brubeck Quartet (1961).

Example of melody with several notes of the same pitch: One Note Samba by Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Performed by Sharon Clark Quintet.

Example of choral piece demonstrating harmonic and contrapuntal aspects of music: Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah
Performance showing musical score.
Performance by Choir of King's College Cambridge.
Performance by Kampong Kapor Methodist Church Chancel Choir.

Example of how music is built from notes of a scale:
Do Re Mi from Rodger's and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music sung by Julie Andrews.

Online Webpianos

88-key realistic virtual piano.

Webpiano for online piano lessons using Macromedia flash.

The Pitch Helix

The pitch helix is a diagram which strifes to show in graphical form the manner in which the pitches of the musical scale recur after an interval of an octave.
Two diagrams showing the pitch helix are here.

Tuning and Temperament webpages

What are musical scales?

Alternate Temperaments: Theory and Philosophy.

Just Temperament and Others.

The Theory Behind Chinese Music.

Ballinese scales.

Indian classical music.

Physics and sound webpages

University of New South Wales webpage on Physics of Music.

Website on the Mexican wave.

Beats demonstration.

Video demonstration on beats.

Back to Bernard Tan's home page