AN INTRODUCTION TO MUSIC HISTORY
Course Syllabus
Course Description | Marks | Grades
Schedule | Writing Assignments

 

Lecture 1: Introduction
Lecture 2: Elements of Music
Lecture 3: World Music
Lecture 4: Medieval and
Renaissance Music
Lecture 5: The Baroque Era
Lecture 6: The Classical Era
Lecture 7: Music, Technology and
Social Values
Lecture 8: The Romantic Era
Lecture 9: The 20th Century
Lecture 10: Jazz
Lecture 11: The Blues
Lecture 12: A Brief History of
Rock ‘n’ Roll

 




 

   

Music both reflects and shapes the culture from which it comes. It can be appreciated as organized sound as well as social behaviour. This course seeks to introduce you to basic issues of both these aspects. We will begin with a discussion of sex, power and pop music. This follows with an exploration of music’s most basic building blocks: rhythm and melody. We will discover these basic functions in Western music may be conceived of differently in the music of the Navajo, West Coast Africa and the South Karnatic region of India. The remainder of the course focuses on music from specific historical periods in the Western tradition starting first with the Middle Ages and concluding in the 20th Century including Jazz, Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll.

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ASSIGNMENT
DUE
WEIGHT
Participation
10%
Presentation
July 25
15%
Major Writing Assignment
Aug. 10 or earlier
20%
Midterm I
Cancelled
0%
Midterm II July 25
15%
Midterm III
August 8
15%
Final Examination
August 22
25%

Late assignments may be accepted with a 10% penalty per day. For information on final examinations please refer to Section 2, Examinations and Procedures, University of Lethbridge Calendar 2006-2007, p. 75.

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  This is a difficult course because of the volume of information you are expected to acquire in an introductory survey. The listening component is particularly intense and will constitute a major part of your midterms and final examination.

Numerical grades will be based on the following system.
  A+ 95-100 C+ 70-73
  A 90-94 C 66-69
  A- 86-89 C- 62-65
  B+ 82-85 D+ 58-61
  B 78-81 D 50-57
  B- 74-77 F 00-49

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July 4 Introduction
  6 Elements of Music
  11 World Music
  13 Medieval and Renaissance Eras
  18 Baroque Era
  20 Midterm/Classical Era
  25 Music, Technology and Social Values
  27 Romantic Era
August 1 20th Century
  3 Jazz
  8 Midterm/Blues
  10 Rock ‘n’ Roll
  15 Review
  22 Final Examination


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The assignments are 1200-1500 words, double-spaced and can be submitted up to, and including, August 11. Please include a title page with the assignment title, your name, course and date. There are five possible assignments, and some, like the first one, contain options. Please choose one of the following assignments.

1. Write a report on a live concert that you attend during this semester. While there is a broad range of concerts you can attend the concert must have the instructor’s approval.

Whatever concert or musical event you choose to attend, you will be participating in and observing a social situation in which music is an integral part. Rather than focus solely on the music presented (the sound), you should regard the entire event as the subject of inquiry. You might want to make use of a simple version of the model the late Alan Merriam offers in his book The Anthropology of Music. He recommends examining all music from a three-point perspective: 1) as sound, 2) as concept, 3) as behaviour.

The following questions, organized according to Merriam's three concerns, should help you focus your observations. As you organize your thoughts, consider how your perspective on these concerns might change depending on whether you view them from the standpoint of the performer, the audience (or any participant), or the organizer(s).

Music as sound
• What music is presented? (styles, repertoire - i.e. selections of works or songs)
• How do the musical selections performed compare to examples discussed in class and in your text? Make specific comparisons, mentioning titles of works, composers, and relevant characteristics.
• Does the music encourage certain kinds of behaviour?

Music as concept
• Why do you think the performers have chosen the repertoire performed?
• Why do you think the organizers have chosen these performers, this music, this locale?
• Does this music, or its location, or the audience (or any combination of these conditions) project a particular attitude or perspective?

Music as behavior
• How do people (all categories) act at this event?
• Who interacts with whom and when? (performers among themselves, performers with other participants, participants among each other, etc.)
• What role does the music play in encouraging (or discouraging) interaction? (dancing, sitting, etc.)
• Does there appear to be any prescribed or expected behaviours (rules)?
• What role does the locale play in determining musical behaviour?
• Are there important props for this event? (printed material, decorations, etc.) How do people respond to them?
• How are people dressed? Does their dress match other features of the event?

2. Read Music: A Very Short Introduction by Nicholas Cook. Write a review of the book. Be sure you not only summarize his major ideas but thoughtfully evaluate them. Copies are available from the Calgary Public library, the University of Calgary, Amazon and Chapters.

3. Interview a musician or group of musicians, who perform music from a non-Western culture. You should seek my approval on this topic before beginning.

Your goal is to understand a music-culture or some part of it from a native’s or insider’s point of view. What does that point of view encompass? Jeff Titon, a prominent ethnomusicolosit, suggests four components:

  • ideas
  • social organization
  • repertories, and
  • material culture

Most people will be happy to tell you about their involvement with music so long as you show them you are sincerely interested.

4. Cantos Music Foundation. Visit the Cantos Music Foundation. (www.cantos.ca) Tours are by reservation only so you may want to go with a group of friends or classmates. Write a report evaluating the effectiveness of their vision and mission.

5. Beethoven. In what ways did Beethoven change the symphony from a Classical to Romantic model?

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