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MUSIC 3YY3 Topics In Music Hist - Vocal

Academic Year: Winter 2016

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Andrew Mitchell


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 433

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24217

Office Hours: Mondays and Thursdays 1:30-2:30pm, Fridays 12:30-1:30pm

Course Objectives:

In this course we will examine the operas of Mozart with particular attention to his later period works, written beginning around the time he moved to Vienna.  We will consider such topics as performance practice, reception, the place of the works in Mozart’s overall output, relationships between librettos and music, and the relationship of the works to the broader traditions of Singspiel, opera buffa and opera seria, among others.  Significant evaluative weight will be given to the progress and completion of a research paper (approx. 10 pages in length). 

This course is designed as a seminar-style class in which the emphasis will be less on the lecturing of the instructor and more on pooling the collective ideas and research of the entire class.  A significant portion of class time will be devoted to discussion of assigned readings and student presentations.

There will be a multiple choice quiz (5-10 minutes) at the beginning of each class specifically designated for consideration of the weekly reading (as indicated in the course schedule).  These tests will not be rescheduled for individual students for any reason.  Students who miss quizzes for approved reasons have the option of submitting their notes for the reading, up to one week following the quiz.  For evaluation purposes, the lowest quiz mark (including zeroes for tests missed for any reason) will not be counted in the final mark.

To encourage steady progress on essay projects there are a series of progress assignments as indicated in the course schedule.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

All readings will be taken from resources available on the internet, usually accessible through jstor.

Method of Assessment:

Class Participation 15%
Weekly Reading Quizzes 10%
Presentations (2) 20%
Research Progress Assignments (Due Jan. 29, Feb. 26, Mar. 15) 15%
Essay (Due April 8) 40%

N.B. Students will receive at least 10% of their final grade before March 11, 2016.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Attendance:  Full attendance is required throughout the term.  Students who are absent from any class must complete the official Faculty of Humanties reporting procedures so that they will not be penalized for the absence.  For any absence not reported according to the official procedures, students will have 1% of their final mark deducted.

Dates:  Students are required to write quizzes and submit assignments on the dates indicated in the course schedule, unless modified by the instructor.  For each research progress assignment that is late, 1% of the final grade in the course will be deducted.  Progress assignments later than 2 weeks from the due date will not be accepted.  Any missed reading quiz will be assigned a mark of zero.  Students who are absent from a quiz for an approved reason have the option of submiting their notes on the reading in lieu of the reading quiz.  The lowest reading quiz marks will be dropped from the final calculation of the mark at the end of term.   Late essays will be penalized 10% of the essay grade.  Requests for extensions on the essay must be made by email.  Essays will not be accepted after April 15. 

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:




Week 1  (Jan. 5, 7, 8)

Introductory Issues:  Biography, Genres, Analysis, Scholarship, Early Operas


Week 2  (Jan. 12, 14, 15)

Introductory Issues:  Biography, Genres, Analysis, Scholarship, Early Operas

Solomon, Maynard. “Mozart: The Myth of the Eternal Child”. 19th-Century Music 15 (1991): 95–106.

Week 3 (Jan. 19, 21, 22)

Introductory Issues:  Biography, Genres, Analysis, Scholarship, Early Operas

Jenkins, John.  “Mozart and the castrati.”  The Musical Times 151 (2010):  55-68.

Week 4  (Jan. 26, 28, 29)

Jan. 29: Essay Proposal Due

Introductory Issues:  Biography, Genres, Analysis, Scholarship, Early Operas

Platoff, John. “Myths and Realities About Tonal Planning in Mozart's Operas”. Cambridge Opera Journal 8 (1996): 3–15.

Week 5  (Feb. 2, 4, 5)

Introductory Issues:  Biography, Genres, Analysis, Scholarship, Early Operas

Heartz, Daniel. “Mozart and Da Ponte”. The Musical Quarterly 79 (1995): 700–718.

Week 6  (Feb. 9, 11, 12)

Idomeneo, re di Creta

Rushton, Julian. “'la Vittima È Idamante': Did Mozart Have a Motive?”. Cambridge Opera Journal 3.1 (1991): 1–21. Web...

FEB. 15-19: BREAK



Week 7  (Feb. 23, 25, 26)

Feb. 26:  Bibliography Due

Die Enführung aus dem Serail

Melamed, Daniel R.  “Counterpoint in Mozart’s Die Enführung aus dem Serail.”  Cambridge Opera Journal 20 (2008): 25-51.

Week 8 (Mar. 1, 3, 4)

Le nozze di Figaro

Conner, Ted. “Cherubino Rediscovered: Text, Music, and Narrative in Mozart's Trio”. Theory and Practice 25 (2000): 27–64.

Week 9  (Mar. 8, 10, 11)

Don Giovanni

Everist, Mark.  “Enshrining Mozart:  Don Giovanni and the Viardot Circle.”  19th Cenury Music 25 (2001-2): 165-189.

Week 10  (Mar. 15, 17, 18)

Mar. 15: Essay Outline Due

Così fan tutte

Gidwitz, Patricia Lewy. “Mozart's Fiordiligi: Adriana Ferrarese Del Bene”. Cambridge Opera Journal 8 (1996): 199–214.

Week 11  (Mar. 22, 24)


La clemenza di Tito

Durante, Sergio. “The Chronology of Mozart's 'la Clemenza Di Tito' Reconsidered”. Music & Letters 80 (1999): 560–594.

Week 12  (Mar. 29, 31, Apr. 1)

Die Zauberflöte

Freyhan, Michael.  “Text Setting in the Magic Flute.”  Acta Musicologica 83 (2011): 245-259.

Week 13 (Apr.  5, 7, 8)





Other Course Information:  In this course we will be using a web-based service ( to reveal plagiarism. Students will be required to submit their work electronically to and in hard copy so that it can be checked for academic dishonesty.  Students who do not wish to submit their work to must still submit a copy to the instructor. No penalty will be assigned to a student who does not submit work to All submitted work is subject to normal verification that standards of academic integrity have been upheld (e.g., on-line search, etc.). To see the Policy, please go to  HYPERLINK ""