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Special Collections

Description of Special Collection

Collection Level Description: University of Durham Music Exercises
University Library

Collection Level Description: University of Durham Music Exercises

Collection name: University of Durham Music Exercises
Collection code: GB 033 UMU
Date range: 1891-1980
Extent: Circa 880 volumes
Language: English
Created by: University of Durham
Held by: Durham University Library, Archives and Special Collections
Part of : University of Durham Records

The extensive series of music exercises submitted for degrees includes early compositions of a number of candidates who were to become well-known figures in the English musical establishment, among them Sir Edward Bairstow, John Ireland, and Sir Malcolm Sargent. Changes in the degree regulations eventually led to the phasing out of these external degrees, and the last compositions under the old regulations were submitted in 1980.
About the creator:
At Durham degrees in music by examination were initiated in 1889. They were designed to meet the needs of professional musicians for a test of professional competence rather than an academic course. Whereas music degrees by examination at Oxford, Cambridge and London in the 19th century all required candidates to show competence also in other subjects such as classics and mathematics, Durham degrees demanded high musical ability but only general educational qualifications, and had no residential requirement. Exercises in original composition were required for both the B.Mus. and D.Mus., and later the M.Mus. These degrees proved popular with professional musicians, and by the inter-war period Durham music graduates probably outnumbered those of the other English universities put together.
By year of degree, subdivided by type of degree, then (mostly) in alphabetical order of composer.
Deposited by the candidates in fulfilment of the degree regulations.
The collection is not currently available, and will be inaccessible until May 2017. Due to building work in the area around where it is stored material cannot be produced for consultation.
Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.
List, in chronological order with index by composer, now available online at

Index terms

University of Durham.
Music manuscripts and papers.
Music -- Instruction and study -- England.
Music -- England -- 19th century.
Music -- England -- 20th century.
Manuscripts, Musical.

Date last modified: 21 September 2016