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MUSIC 1MH3 Music History I: Music&Culture

Academic Year: Winter 2018

Term: Winter

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 and reflect on the various ways that music interacts with the culture in which it is produced.  Such reflection is important for a rich understanding of music made in the present and music made in the past, and so it is an important precursor to other music history courses you will take in university.  Examples for study will be drawn from various musical styles, locations and historical periods.  We will also practice researching our questions about this interaction.  Students will complete a number of assignments designed to develop research skills.  Significant class time will be spent cultivating other academic skills important for assessing the interaction of music and culture.

Perhaps the broadest theme we will pursue throughout this course will that of “asking questions.”  Our major assignments will be focused on devising effective research questions of interest and searching for ways to answer those questions.  Reading in the course will be governed by this questioning approach.  The required textbooks Music: A Social Experience and Music and Culture will not play the role of authoritative sources, but will be examined for the underlying questions motivating their writers and will be used as springboards for our own questions.

Traditional lecturing will only be one teaching technique employed in this course.   Classroom activities, especially discussion in small groups and among the entire class, will also be crucial.  Students are encouraged to take this learning approach seriously for the benefits it will provide.

Prerequisite: Registration in a Music program.

By the end of this course, students should have

  • increased their sensitivity to the multiplicity of ways in which music and broader culture interact
  • become familiar with musical repertoire of a broad array of types
  • developed their ability to ask a variety of questions about the ways in which music and culture interact
  • fine-tuned one particularly meaningful research question on a topic of interest to them
  • engaged in intensive research on their research questions
  • become familiar with established bibliographic techniques

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Natvig, Mary and Cornelius, Steven.  Music: A Social Experience.  New York: Routledge, 2016.

Tomasino, Anna.  Music and Culture.  New York:  Pearson, 2004.


Method of Assessment:

Small Quizzes


Class Participation


Midterm Test


Written Assignments


Final Exam


N.B. Students will have received at least 10% of the their final grade by March 16, 2018.

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.  

Dates: Students are required to write tests and submit assignments on the dates indicated. Late assignments will be deducted 5% per class-day late (assignments must be submitted during class-time to the instructor or they will be considered 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.

Reading Quizzes:  Short multiple-choice quizzes will be given on the dates that readings from other sources than Music: A Social Experience (Natvig) are assigned.  Each student’s lowest quiz mark will be removed from the final calculation at the end of the year.  These can only be written on the appointed day and the appointed time (all quizzes will be written at the beginning of class).  If a student is missing because of an approved absence (documented as indicated above), the student will be given the option of submitting their reflections on the reading (1-2 pages double spaced).  Reflections are due one class after the quiz and will not be accepted after that date.  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

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:



Readings or Other Preparation

Listening Examples


Week 1

Jan 4





Jan 5





Week 2

Jan 9





Jan 11





Jan 12





Week 3

Jan 16


Music and Ethnicity

Chapter 4 Natvig; pp. 33-40, 45-49


“Kelefaba” and “Kuruntu Kelafa;”

“Sweet Little Angel;”

“Allegro Barbaro”


Jan 18





Jan 19





Week 4

Jan 23

Music and Gender

Chapter 5 Natvig; pp. 54-60, 59-72



“Mekar Sari;”

“Non so più"


Jan 25





Jan 26


Music and Culture: “Madonna I,” (88ff) and “Glam and Glitter Rock” (104ff)


DUE: Assignment 1: Choosing a Topic

Week 5

Jan 30

Music and Spirituality

Chapter 6 Natvig: 76-81, 87-90

“Amazing Grace” (3 versions)

“Kyrie” from Pope Marcellus Mass

Naat-I Sherif, Taksim and Peșrev”


Feb 1





Feb 2



Week 6

Feb 6

Music and Politics

Chapter 7 Natvig: 96-106, 114-116


In the Steppes of Central Asia

“My Heart is Burning with Anger”

“El Himno Zapatista”


Feb 8





Feb 9


Music and Culture: “Music” (35ff.)


Midterm Test

Week 7

Feb 13

Music and Violence

Chapter 8 Natvig: 118, 122-125, 128-130, 135-136

Ballad of the Green Berets”

Es iz geven a zumer-tog”

Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima


Feb 15





Feb 16


Music and Culture:

“Children, Violence and the Media” (62ff.)



DUE: Assignment 2: Finding A Specific Question






Week 8

Feb 27

Music and Lovc

Chapter 9 Natvig; 139-141, 146-148, 151-155


“Un bel dì, vedremo”

“Ceurik rahwana”

“La Vie en Rose”


Mar 1





Mar 2




Week 9

Mar 6

Music and Drama

Chapter 10, 11 Natvig;

157, 159-165, 167-170, 174-176

Showboat Opening Scene

Final to Act 1, West Side Story

E.T., Flying Scene


Mar 8





Mar 9



Week 10

Mar 13

Music and Dance

Chapter 12 Natvig;

191-193, 196-200, 201-203




“Branle des Lavadiers”

“The Augurs of Spring”

DUE: Assignment 3: Finding Sources

Mar 15





Mar 16


Music and Culture: “Dancing our Way out of Class” (107ff.)



Week 11

Mar 20

Music and Concert

Chapter 13 Natvig; 207-214





First movement from “Spring”

First movement from Symphony in G minor


Mar 22





Mar 23


Music and Culture: “Pop Music: Authenticity, Creativity and Technology” (202ff.)



Week 12

Mar 27

Music and Business

Chapter 13 Natvig;



Last movement from String Quartet in E-flat major

Caprice in A minor

“Manasu Visaya”

“So what”


Mar 29




DUE: Assignment 4: Assessing Sources

Good Friday


Music and Culture: “Madison Ave. woos Musicians” (164ff.)



Week 13

Apr 3







Apr 5





Apr 6





Other Course Information:

Research Assignments

From The Craft of Research (Third Edition, page 65):

“By now, all this talk of airy academic research may seem disconnected from a world in which so many people labor so hard at getting ahead or keeping others down.  But in business and government, in law and medicine, in politics and international diplomacy, no skill is valued more highly than the ability to recognize a problem, then to articulate it in a way that convinces others both to care about it and to believe it can be solved, especially by you.  If you can do that in a class on medieval Tibetan rugs, you can do it in an office on Main Street, Wall Street, or on Queen’s Road in Hong Kong.”

Assignment 1  Choosing a Topic

For this assignment, you will identify a topic of interest for a research project connecting music in some way with the culture in which it is created.  You should choose a topic that has great personal interest for you.  Your goal should be looking for an answer to a question that you find particularly motivating.  You are free to choose a historical topic or one that is focused on the present, but you should give some thought to how the topic has historical implications (most topics will relate to history, even in an indirect way).  By the end of the term, your topic should be narrow to the degree that you if were to write a roughly 10 page paper about it, you could reasonably find a convincing answer to your research question.  Give this some serious thought, because your remaining assignments in this course will build on the topic you have chosen.  Even though this assignment is worth a relatively low percentage of your final grade, it will influence a much greater percentage in the other assignments.  That all being said,  it is fine for your topic to be somewhat unfocused at this time, as it will be refined over the semester.

By the due date, please submit a description of your topic from a paragraph to no more than approximately 300 words.  You should include some discussion indicating any historical implications of the topic.   Your topic will be better focused if you have done some reading.  Please include reference to a minimum of two sources of information that you have read and indicate what has been useful in these sources.   These can be internet articles, chapters or sections of a book, print magazine or newspaper articles, academic journals etc.  If they are print sources, enough information should be included so that they can be tracked down (date of publication, issue number, publisher (if a book), direct url for a website.  Be as specific as possible. 

Your submission should include a brief personal statement indicating why this topic is of personal interest to you.

Assignment 2 Finding a Specific Question to Research

For this assignment please submit a more focused research question within the topic area that you identified for the previous assignment.  This should be in a three part statement.

1.  Topic:  I am studying____________

2.  Question:  because I want to find out what/why/how_______________

3.  Significance: in order to help my reader understand_______________.

In order to begin the process of arriving at this statement you will need to take the following steps:

  1. you will need to move from your initial broad topic to a more focused one
  2. you will need to think of several questions that could be posed about your more focused topic
  3. you will need to determine the broader significance of the question (answer the question “so what?”

Please include a discussion (no more than a few paragraphs) of how you have arrived at your statement, including mention of other questions you considered in the process and why you ultimately rejected them.

In arriving at this statement you should have read additional sources to those you consulted for the first assignment.  Please include references to these sources with descriptions again for a minimum of three sources.

If you are having trouble finding a specific research problem, read sources looking for a problem to solve. “Look for claims that seem puzzling, inaccurate, or simplistic—anything you can disagree with.  You’re more likely to find a research problem when you disagree with a source, but you can also find one in sources you agree with.” (Craft of Research, 88).

If your general area of research has changed since the previous assignment, you should comment on this change and the reasons for the change.

Assignment 3 Finding Sources

For the next assignment, think about the sorts of evidence that might relate to your topic.  Include 5 categories.   For each of these categories include as many sources as you can find.  You will want to make sure that in each category you have as many sources as you can that can accessed immediately (through the internet or physically in a place like the McMaster library).  For each source include a brief statement outlining you think the source will be useful.  Note that at this stage of the paper, you don’t need to have actually read the source, but it might help if you have.

Please fully restate your research question at the beginning of this submission.  If your research question has been altered in any way, give the reasons for the change.

Assignment 4 Assessing Sources

For the final assignment consult the sources that you indicated in the previous assignment and reflect on the evidence that you have found in the source.  Have you found useful information that will help the writing of your paper?  If so, quote it and describe why it will be useful.  If not, explain in detail why the source is not useful.  

Provide a statement regarding the next step you would take in crafting your essay (if it were to be completed).  If you have found copious pieces of evidence and are ready to write you paper, make an argument that you are ready to do so.  If your results have been mixed, discuss what you might do at this point.  Perhaps you did not uncover material that would help you with your initial research question, but you have found material that might support a different question.

Please note that for this assignment specificity is highly valued.  Loose comments like “this book was useless because it didn’t contain any relevant information” are not helpful to the reader because the reader has no sense of what information the source does contain or why that information is of no use.