Undergraduate course

Grieg Studies

Level of Study



Full time

Objectives and Content

This course offers an introduction to Grieg's music and its historical, cultural, and aesthetic significance during the 19th and 20th centuries up to the present. Taking established notions of Grieg as icon of Nordic music and national musical heritage as a point of departure, the aim of this course is to revisit Grieg's status in the broader context of Norwegian and European cultural history. Through critical readings of selected works, we will examine how Grieg's aesthetic positions might have changed already during his lifetime according to changing contexts from the national-romantic era on to early modernism. Further, we will examine how public conceptions of Grieg were reshaped during the 20th century by historiography, performance history, and public events such as the Grieg centenaries. Finally, we will discuss Grieg's significance in contemporary, popular culture and for cultural branding, including adaptations of his music in jazz, heavy rock, and film.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student..

  • can relate Grieg's music to critical concepts such as nationalism, cosmopolitanism, and exoticism
  • can examine critically the national reception of Grieg's music within different historical periods and changing cultural and politcal contexts
  • can discuss Grieg's musical and cultural significance from different international perspectives


The student..

  • can collect, systematize, and interpret various musical and historical sources with critical awareness
  • can employ analytical and historiographic skills in their own interpretive practice

General competence

The student..

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

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

Grading of assignment portfolio. The student will turn in 2 assignments totalling 15 pages doublespaced: a shorter essay of ca. 5 pages and a home exam of ca. 10 pages. Internal evaluation. All assignments must be completed with a passing grade.

The assignments are weighted 30% (assignment 1) and 70% (assignment 2). All the assignments must be passed during the same semester. Internal evaluation.

Grading Scale

Letter grade from A to F.

Reading List

Reading list of approximately 1000 pages.

The literature list will be available by 01.06 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.


Contact Information

The study adviser can be contacted at: studieveileder@kmd.uib.no

Exam information

  • Type of assessment: Portfolio assessment

    • Exam part: Portfolio assignment 1

    • Exam part: Portfolio assignment 2