Music History: Since 1750 – MUSC 312

CG • Section 8WK • 07/01/2018 to 12/31/2199 • Modified 02/07/2022

Course Description

A systematic survey of music history since the Baroque era.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


The study of music history is indispensable to professional musicians-in-training because, to be successful, they must (1) be aware of factors influencing the development of musical style; (2) have knowledge about significant composers and major works in the Western classical repertoire; (3) have knowledge of performance practice in the different style periods; and (4) know how to place works in the context of their historical settings.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course you will:

  1. Develop broad knowledge of composers, compositions, and musical styles and trends related to the historical development of music from 1750 to the present.
  2. Identify musical works both by their aural and visual style characteristics.
  3. Articulate knowledge of the structure and development of important musical forms and performance practices.

Course Assignment

For each module, students will be assigned readings from the textbook, A History of Western Music ("HWM"), which corresponds to listening examples automatically included in the E-Book version and accessible through online registration of the print version. Students are expected to listen to all musical examples for each assigned chapter and are encouraged to follow along with the Norton Anthology scores ("NAWM"). Special attention should be paid to the NAWM examples listed in the course calendar, which will serve as the basis for listening questions on Unit Quizzes. Students are also expected to watch video presentations, which provide additional content.

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each discussion. Each thread must be 250 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge by including at least 1 citation. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates' threads. Each reply must be 150 words. Current Turabian format must be used.

For each unit of study (Classicism, Romanticism, Modernism/Postmodernism), you will take two quizzes. The first type of quiz consists is designed to prepare you for the upcoming second quiz, which covers the entire unit.

Quizzes of the first type are designated with the name "Practice Round" and will be given one week in advance of the quiz that ends each unit of study. These short quizzes will consist of five questions that break down into two types: (1) four multiple choice questions derived from the textbook readings; and (2) one multiple choice listening question derived from the NAWM examples. You are allowed to take these quizzes as many times as necessary to achieve a 100% completion by the assigned due date.

At the end of each unit of study, you will take the second type of quiz which covers all related material from that particular unit. This second type consists of 25 multiple-choice questions: (1) 20 questions related to textbook readings; and (2) 5 listening questions derived from the NAWM examples. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, and you will have a time limit of 1 hour and 30 minutes for completion.

Students will select a musical work from the NAWM related to the musical period of the current module. Using the template provided, students will analyze the work according to the five elements of music: (1) melody; (2) rhythm; (3) harmony; (4) timbre; and (5) form. Bullet points are accepted for describing musical features. Minimum word count: 500 words.

Students will write a substantial music history research paper on a particular composer and musical work from one of the musical periods studied in this course. The paper should consist of two major sections: (1) a discussion of the composer's biography, historical context, musical output, and style; and (2) an analysis of the composer's composition, noting features of genre, form, and other distinctive traits. Students will develop this paper in three stages:

  1. Topic Approval - In Module 3, the student will submit a proposal for their research paper, which will include the following: (a) a brief description of the composer and work; (b) a draft of the paper's thesis statement; and (c) a preliminary bibliography, consisting of five potential scholarly sources related to the topic.
  2. Initial Draft - In Module 6, the student will submit an initial draft of the paper, which must be 10 complete pages in length, be written in 12-point font, use either Times New Roman or Calibri, use 1'' margins on all sides of the page, utilize at least five scholarly sources, and include reference to score of the work being analyzed (use a NAWM number [if applicable], a link to a free PDF [if in the public domain], or attach a copy to the paper). The instructor will provide feedback on ways to improve the paper for a final submission.
  3. Final Draft - In Module 8, after receiving feedback from the instructor, the student will submit a finalized paper, addressing the recommended corrections/additions.