My Experience - MA Musicology

Student holding bag
Xinyi Liang
MA Musicology
Department of Music
Xinyi studied Musicology in the Department of Music, focusing her research on aesthetics in the first movement of Beethoven's C-minor piano Concerto.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Sheffield?

The University of Sheffield is a well-known institution in the UK and one of the members of Russell Group, which provides high quality of academic teaching. I came to Sheffield for MA Musicology (2018-2019) because I had been following Professor Simon Keefe’s research field which currently concentrates on 18th-century music especially from Mozart and Beethoven. I studied in Piano Performance during my undergraduate (2013-2017) in China, and my repertories always focused on piano music from the classical era. Thus, the programme of MA Musicology here offers me a professional opportunity to explore aesthetic interpretations of these typical compositions. 

The Department of Music offers various programmes for Masters courses such as Musicology, Ethnomusicology, Music Performance studies and Psychology of Music. Students can always choose some of these research areas from optional modules. For me, I chose Special Study in Performance (MUS635) as my optional module, as I still got the chance to play the piano here.

Seminars and lectures are organised regularly during the terms, and I can meet my tutors and other researchers in the department every week.

I had the opportunity to research in the aesthetics in the first movement of Beethoven's C-minor piano concerto, considering such as the instrumental communication between the piano and the orchestra as a dramatic dialogue. My dissertation of the MA concentrates on cultural expression in contemporary Chinese piano music. The research as an interdisciplinary study, demonstrates the relationship between politics and Chinese art and piano music. I also investigate Chinese traditional culture (traditional philosophy and aesthetics) reflected in contemporary piano music.

My top tip for international students is always improving your language ability. The course of Musicology requires numerous reading of books, journal articles and so on and is helpful to enhance your research ability.

Sheffield is an ideal city for living and studying. When I first time arrived in Sheffield, people here and the staff at the University of Sheffield were quite enthusiastic to give me  useful information about this city. There are also lots of activities during the whole year. Life is never boring in Sheffield!