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MUSIC 2B03 W. Music Hist:1890-Present

Academic Year: Fall 2017

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Andrew Mitchell


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 433

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24217

Office Hours: by appointment

Course Objectives:

In this course we will examine the history of Western European music from the very end of the nineteenth century to the present. The material will be presented through lectures, weekly readings from the assigned textbook and weekly listening assignments.  In addition students will be required to complete testing and a written assignment (essay).  All testing (except for the final exam) will take place during class time. 

By the end of this course, students should 

  • know main developments and be able to define terms relating to the history of the western European tradition (1890-present)
  • recognize (both aurally and through score analysis) stylistic characteristics of various composers and periods within the era under study
  • aurally recognize specific compositions from the era under study
  • hone critical thinking, research and writing skills through class discussion and writing assignment 

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Burkholder, J. Peter et al. A History of Western Music, 9th ed. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2014.  Includes access to listening materials.

Norton Anthology of Western Music, 7th ed.  Vol. 3. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2014.


Method of Assessment:

Course Evaluation:

In-class Test #1 Tues. Oct. 3         20%
In-class Test #2 Tues. Nov. 7 20%
Essay Tues. Dec. 5 30%
Cumulative Final Exam TBA 30%

N.B. Students will have received at least 20% of their grade (Test 1) by Nov 10, 2017.                   



Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Attendance: Full attendance at all scheduled classes is expected.  Students are responsible for any material (including class notes) missed because of absence. Notes in this class will not be provided by the instructor for any reason.  

Dates: Students are required to write tests and submit assignments on the dates indicated. Late assignments will be deducted 5% every 24 hours they are late.  Alternate test dates and assignment due dates for individual students will only be considered in exceptional circumstances. In such cases, appropriate documentation may be required, and if it is not provided, students risk forfeiting the mark for the course requirement.  An alternate date for the final exam will not be considered for any reason by the instructor.  Applications for deferred exams must be made directly to the examinations office.


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:

NAWM = Norton Anthology of Western Music (vol. 3).  The numbers indicated are the “item numbers” in the anthology, not page numbers. 





Week 1 (Sept. 5, 7)

The Early Twentieth Century

Chapter 31 and 32

NAWM 164, 165, 167, 169, 170, 171

Week 2 (Sept. 11, 12, 14)




Week 3 (Sept. 18, 19, 21)




Week 4 (Sept. 25, 26, 28)


Radical Modernists

Chapter 33

NAWM 172-180

Week 5 (Oct. 2, 3, 5)

Tues. Oct 3: Test #1





OCT. 9-13




Week 6 (Oct. 16, 17, 19)

Between the Two World Wars:

Jazz and Popular Music

Chapter 34

NAWM 181-184

Week 7 (Oct. 23, 24, 26)





Week 8 (Oct. 30, 31, Nov. 2)


Between the Two World Wars:

The Classical Tradition

Chapter 35

NAWM 185, 187, 188, 189, 192, 193, 195

Week 9 (Nov. 6, 7, 9)

Tues. Nov. 7 Test #2




Week 10 (Nov. 13, 14, 16)

Postwar Crosscurrents

Chapter 36

NAWM 197, 201, 203, 205, 207, 208

Week 11 (Nov. 20, 21, 23)





Week 12 (Nov. 27, 28, 30)

Postwars Heirs to the Classical Tradition

Chapter 37

NAWM 209, 210, 211, 215, 214

Week 13 (Dec. 4, 5)

Tues. Dec. 5: Essay Due

Late Twentieth and Early Twenty-First Centuries

Chapter 39

NAWM 220