Grieg Studies

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

Taking popular mythologies of Grieg as national-romantic composer and icon of Nordic music as a point of departure, the aim of this course is to revisit Grieg's production and reception in the broader context of Norwegian and European cultural history.

We will learn more about the sources of Grieg's poetics according to contemporary, - European aesthetic ideas, and about his encounters with national intellectuals such as Bjørnson and Ibsen. We will also listen critically to various performers' interpretations (including Grieg's own, historical recordings) and investigate the responses of critics and audiences. An important topic will be Grieg's "afterlife" and how it has been shaped and reshaped by new generations of composers, critics, scholars, and musicians past 1907 and on to the present. Grieg as part of collective, cultural memory is highlighted by the history of events such as the Grieg centenaries in 1943, 1993, 2007, and 2018, as well as in the numerous and ongoing adaptations of his music in jazz, pop, rock, and the movies.

Finally, we will learn more about institutions dedicated to the storage, narration, and dissemination of cultural heritage, by visiting the Grieg museum Troldhaugen (KODE Art museums and composers homes) and the Grieg archive at Bergen Public Library.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes:


The student...

  • can critically consider the relation of Grieg's music to concepts such as style, identity, history, memory, authenticity, autonomy etc.
  • can explain Grieg's effect on national musical life and its international influences
  • can situate the reception of Grieg within the broader context of Norwegian cultural history
  • can discuss musical traditions and inherited musical concepts from a critical, present day perspective


The student...

  • can collect, systematize, and interpret various musical materials and historical sources with critical awareness
  • can employ analytical and historiographic skills and knowledge in own interpretive practice
  • can participate in the development of new (digital) means of musical dissemination and mediation

General competence

The student...

  • can discuss critical musicological issues with reference to different theoretical frameworks and methodologies
  • can reflect on cultural and historical premises of own aesthetic judgements



ECTS Credits

15 stp

Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Completed first-semester study.
Access to the Course
The course is open for all students at the University of Bergen.
Teaching and learning methods
Lectures; seminar for presentation of the term paper.
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
  • Attendance at lectures and seminars.
  • Obligatory advising in connection with writing the term paper.
  • Obligatory seminar for presentation of the term paper. The student will give an oral presentation of their written work.
  • All mandatory instruction must be completed and approved before the exam. Absence of more than 20% leads to loss of right to take the exam. All obligatory activities must be completed and approved before taking the exam. Approved compulsory activities are valid for 2 semesters after they are completed.

    Forms of Assessment

    Term paper of ca. 5000-6000 words. This paper will be either a reading (analysis/interpretation) of specific musical works, performances or stagings; or a discussion of a research question in which the task is to set the music within a specific cultural, social or historical context. The term paper can be written in Norwegian or English.

    Internal evaluation with at least two examiners.

    Grading Scale
    Letter grade from A to F.
    Reading List

    Reading list of approximately 1000 pages.

    The literature list will be available by 01.07. for the Autumn semester and 01.12. for the Spring semester.

    Course Evaluation
    The course will be evaluated in accordance with the quality assurance system of the University of Bergen.
    Programme Committee
    The Program Board is responsible for the academic content and structure of the study program, and for the quality of all the subjects therein.
    Course Administrator

    The Grieg Academy - Institute of Music at the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design has the administrative responsibility for the course and the study programme.