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MUSIC 1A03 Intro:History Of Music I

Academic Year: Fall 2016

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Lara Housez


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 416

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27671

Office Hours: Fridays, 1:30-3:30pm

Course Objectives:

Goals: Our primary goal is to gain a broad knowledge of musical terms, concepts, and repertoire from the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque era. We will focus on key composers, their works, and shifting musical styles and study how these figures and music making relate to larger economic, social, cultural, and intellectual contexts. A selection of musical examples from non-Western cultures will also be considered. By adopting a listening-oriented approach, we will develop skills in recognizing by ear musical examples and stylistic characteristics. One short written assignment, a concert review, will allow students to apply terminology and concepts presented in the course to the context of a live performance. Watch out: This course will expand your musical horizons and instill a life-long appreciation of early music. No previous knowledge of music or musical notation is required.

Lectures: The lectures will give you the majority of the information that you will need to succeed in this course and will go significantly beyond the reading and listening assignments. Lecture slides for each class will be posted on the learning management system, Avenue to Learn (A2L), but you should be aware that these provide only the skeleton of the information you need. You will supplement the slides, textbook reading, and listening with your own notes from lecture in order to be fully prepared for tests and the final exam.


1. Naming and identifying the elements of music, including rhythm, melody, harmony, timbre, texture, and expressive elements through reading and listening activities.

2. Relating the development of Western music to the cultural-historical background of Western civilization.

3. Identifying selected composers and their works from major Western historical periods, as representative of the thought and life of the respective periods.

4. Recognizing music from non-European cultures and broadening knowledge of how music plays a role in most world cultures.

5. Heightening abilities to listen to music intelligently and attaining higher levels of musical discernment in approaching different types and styles of music.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Mark Evan Bonds. Listen to This, 3rd edition. Toronto: Pearson, 2015 and its digital learning resource, MyMusicLab.

These resources are available two ways: bundled textbook + MyMusicLab OR bundled etext + MyMusicLab. MyMusicLab offers many useful learning tools, including access to the required audio examples.

Instructions for accessing MyMusicLab are posted on A2L (see “How to register for MyMusicLab.”)

Method of Assessment:

Test #1 on Elements of Music and Music of the Middle Ages (28 September): 15%

Test #2 on Music of the Renaissance (28 October): 15%

Test #3 on Music of the Baroque Era (30 November): 15%

Concert Review (due 21 October): 15%

Cumulative Final Exam (TBA): 40%

Students will have received 10% of their grade in this course by 4 November.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Use the Dropbox feature on A2L to submit your concert review on or before Friday, October 21 at 11:59pm. You are encouraged to submit your review earlier. Late reviews will be penalized 10% per day (weekends count as one day). Reviews submitted after Monday, October 24 will NOT be accepted.

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:





6 Sept.


7 Sept.

The Elements of Music (Part I)


Access MyMusicLab (MML) for etext with musical examples

9 Sept.

The Elements of Music (Part II)

13 Sept.

Intro to the Middle Ages


14 Sept.

Hildegard von Bingen


1: Play of Virtues (excerpt)

16 Sept.

San Ildefonso Indians


2: Eagle Dance

20 Sept.

Francesco Landini


3: “Behold, Spring”

21 Sept.

Guillaume de Machaut


4: “I Can All Too Well Compare My Lady”

23 Sept.

Alfonso el Sabio


5: Songs to the Virgin Mary, no. 249, “He Who Gladly Serves”

27 Sept.

Middle Ages Review


28 Sept.

TEST #1: Elements of Music and Music of the Middle Ages

30 Sept.

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi

See A2L for readings, recordings, etc. of Stabat Mater

4 Oct.

FIELD TRIP: Attend 12:30pm concert of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater at Convocation Hall

5 Oct.

Intro to the Renaissance


7 Oct.

Josquin des Prez


6: “The Cricket”

10-16 Oct.


18 Oct.

Thomas Weelkes


7: “Since Robin Hood”

19 Oct.

William Byrd


8: “Sing Joyfully”

21 Oct.

Rhyming Singers of the Bahamas



9: “My Lord Help Me to Pray”

25 Oct.

Tielman Susato

MML for etext bonus Chapter 2 and “Moorish Dance”

26 Oct.

Renaissance Review


28 Oct.

TEST #2: Music of the Renaissance

1 Nov.

Intro to the Baroque



2 Nov.

Claudio Monteverdi


10: Orpheus, selection from Act II

4 Nov.

CLASS CANCELLED (conference)

8 Nov.

Henry Purcell


11: Dido and Aeneas, Overture and Act I, nos. 1-4

9 Nov.

Mbuti Pygmies


12: “Marriage Celebration Song”

11 Nov.

Barbara Strozzi


13: “Revenge”

15 Nov.

Antonio Vivaldi


14: The Four Seasons, “Winter,” 1st mvt.

16 Nov.

Johann Sebastian Bach (Part I)


15: Fugue in G Minor, BWV 578 (“Little”) (2 versions)

18 Nov.

Bach (Part II)


16: Brandenburg Concerto no. 2 in F major, BWV 1047, finale

22 Nov.

Bach (Part III)


17: Cantata 140: Awake, a Voice Calls to Us, selections

23 Nov.

George Frideric Handel  (Part I)


18: Messiah, “He that dwelleth in heaven,” “Thou shalt break them”

25 Nov.

Handel (Part II)

18: Messiah, “Hallelujah”

29 Nov.

Baroque Review


30 Nov.

TEST #3: Music of the Baroque Era

2, 6, 7 Dec

General Review

9-22 Dec.


Other Course Information:

Field Trip: During our regular class time on Tuesday, October 4, 12:30-1:20pm, we will attend a live performance of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, performed by The Dundas Trio in Convocation Hall (University Hall 213). This will be a great opportunity for us to move from “page to stage” and experience a much-loved sacred work of the Baroque era. Admission is free.

Concert Review: During the course, you will submit a review of a live performance, either the performance of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater or another concert of your choosing. The purpose of this assignment is to apply concepts learned during the course to a live performance setting. In addition to the name of the concert, performer(s), date, genre of music, and location, your review should include your opinion and observations of:

  • Musical material presented. How would you describe it, related to the concepts that you have learned in class? Into which category does it fall, and what influences do you observe related to other music genres? Did you notice any similarities to composers studied in the course?
  • Overall performance. What did you observe about how the show was set? Why do you think the performer created the atmosphere that they did? How did the performer engage the audience?
  • Level of audience engagement. How did the audience respond to the show?
  • Personal response to the show. What are your own reflections and opinions of the show?
  • Also include a website address that mentions the live performance

Live concert performances can include music concerts (singing or instrumental), musical theatre, or opera. Classical music concerts are encouraged, but you are welcome to hear any type of live music. Other ideas include jazz night at a local coffee house, performers at pubs, street musicians at festivals, etc. These websites may help you find a concert that fits your schedule, budget, interests, etc.:

  • At McMaster: (including free Tuesday Lunchtime Concerts and Friday Evening Concerts for $5)
  • Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra: (Cheaper tickets available for under 35)
  • Hamilton Concert Band:
  • Musicata: Hamilton’s Voices:
  • Chamber Music Hamilton:

You must attend a live concert during the semester. You are not allowed to provide a retrospective review. If you have any questions about finding a live event, please contact your instructor. 

Formatting: The concert review should be approximately 2 pages (500 words) in length. Use Times New Roman, 12-point font, double space, with no more than 1.25” margins. Do not use justified margins. There is no need for a title page; on the top of the first page of your assignment, include a title of your review, your name and student number, and the date of submission. If you use any resources, please use proper citation format. 

Need help writing? Written work will be marked on grammar, clarity of writing, and organization as well as content. Students are encouraged to visit the Student Success Centre to improve their writing skills (Mills Library, room 213E, on the second floor of the Learning Commons). For information about the Writing Assistance Clinic and other services, visit the Centre online: