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Norges musikkhøgskole Norwegian Academy of Music Search

The Music His­tory of Anim­als

One semester, autumn or spring.

  • Final assessment: Assessment by the course instructor.
  • Language of tuition: Norwegian and English.

Course description

The Music History of Animals is an investigation into the musicality of a variety of animal species, and how this can serve as an inspiration to think about the essence of music in new ways. The course incorporates parts of Simon Løffler’s research project, “Becoming Animal”.

The student will develop a greater understanding of the way nature communicates through sound and choreography, which will serve as a tool to improve creativity and enhance awareness of the world’s diversity.

Learning objectives

After completing the course the student is expected to

  • be able to document the development of insight into basic features of the sound universe of selected animal species
  • be able to use knowledge of animals’ musical creativity in composing or performance activities
  • have acquired an understanding of playing or composing music that is based on the body rather than on instruments


In being involved with one specific species of animal at a time, and investigating its bodily and sound-related universe, the environment it lives in and when and how it performs for other animals, we are seeking a greater understanding of musicality in nature. Then we use the animal’s music as a model, by imitating both the sound-related and bodily elements, in order to put ourselves in the place of the animal.


The course comprises four modules, each of which focuses on one animal species. Each module has four sessions, with the following content:

  1. A lecture on a specific animal species, including collective analysis of aural skills and discussion.
  2. An examination of the students’ efforts to imitate the music of animals, either on an instrument or in a composition. The students may work in groups or individually.
  3. A workshop, comprising two of the sessions, where the students will play excerpts from a composition by Simon Løffler.

Course requirements

The students will fulfil three requirements for each module:

  1. Listening, analysis of aural skills and a written reflection of 500 words.
  2. Instrumental works or compositions of 1–2 minutes’ duration, and an oral presentation.
  3. Rehearsal of short passages from Simon Løffler’s compositions, often in pairs.

Final assessments

All coursework must be approved before the student can be given a final assessment.

The student is assessed in relation to the learning objectives of the course. The final assessment will be a pass/fail grade and is determined by the subject teacher on the basis of an individual assessment of the student’s academic level through the work accomplished in the course.


This course will be offered only in the academic year 2021–2022. For this reason, no reassessments will be given.

Published: Mar 19, 2021 — Last updated: Apr 7, 2021