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MUSIC 2BB3 W. Music Hist:Antiquity-1580

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 the history of the western European musical tradition roughly from the medieval period (beginning approximately in 800) to the end of the Renaissance (approximately 1600). The material will be presented through lectures, weekly readings from the assigned textbook and weekly listening excerpts available on the textbook website.  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 (c. 800 to c. 1600)
  • 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 research and essay-writing (including critical thinking) skills by producing a term paper (see essay assignment description)

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

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

Norton Anthology of Western Music, 7th ed.  Volume 1. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2014.


Method of Assessment:

In-class test #1

Tues. Jan. 30


In-class test #2

Thur. Mar. 8



Mon. Apr. 9


Cumulative Final Exam



N.B. Students will have received at least 10% of 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 material missed for any reason.  Lectures notes are not provided by the instructor for this class.

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 and only if the request is made by email (in order to provide documentation of the accommodation). In such cases, appropriate documentation may be required, and if it is not provided, students risk forfeiting the mark for the course requirement.  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:





Week 1 (Jan. 4)

Introduction; Music in Antiquity

Chapter 1

pp. 4-21

NAWM 1, 2

Week 2 (Jan. 8, 9, 11)

The Christian Church in the First Millennium; Roman Liturgy and Chant

Chapter 2

pp. 31-45

NAWM 3b, c, f, h, i, k, 4a, b

Week 3 (Jan. 15, 16, 18)

Song and Dance Music in the Middle Ages

Chapter 4

pp. 67-83

NAWM 8, 9, 10, 13

Week 4 (Jan. 22, 23, 25)

Polyphony through the Thirteenth Century

Chapter 5

pp. 84-100

NAWM 15, 16, 17, 19

Week 5 (Jan. 29, 30, Feb. 1)

Tue. Jan. 30 Test #1

Polyphony through the Thirteenth Century cont’d

Chapter 5

pp. 100-110

NAWM 21a, 22, 24

Week 6 (Feb. 5, 6, 8)

French and Italian Music in the Fourteenth Century

Chapter 6

pp. 111-129

NAWM 25, 26, 27, 28

Week 7 (Feb. 12, 13, 15

French and Italian Music in the Fourteenth Century cont’d

Chapter 6

pp. 130-141

NAWM 30, 31, 32





Week 8 (Feb. 26, 27, Mar. 1)

England and Burgundy in the Fifteenth Century

Chapter 8

pp. 166-187

NAWM 34, 36, 38

Week 9 (Mar. 5, 6, 8)

Thur. Mar. 8: Test #2

Franco-Flemish Composers, 1450-1520

Chapter 9

pp. 195-212

NAWM 43, 44, 45

Week 10 (Mar. 12, 13, 15)

Sacred Music in the Era of the Reformation

Chapter 10

pp. 213-226

NAWM 46, 47, 49

Week 11 (Mar. 19, 20, 22)

Sacred Music in the Era of the Reformation cont’d

Chapter 10

pp. 226-240

NAWM 51, 52, 53

Week 12 (Mar. 26, 27, 29)

Madrigal and Secular Song in the Sixteenth Century

Chapter 11

pp. 241-256

NAWM 56, 58, 59

Week 13 (Apr. 2, 3, 5)


The Rise of Instrumental Music

Chapter 12


NAWM 65, 66

Week 14 (Apr. 9)

Mon. Apr 9: Essay Due