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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2014/2015

Term: 1

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Andrew Mitchell


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 433

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24217

Office Hours: Mondays 1:30-2:30, Thursdays 1:30-2:30

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 from the assigned CD sets.  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.

Prerequisite: Registration in level II of a Music program.

Anterequisite: Music 2Y03

Course Objectives

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 research and essay-writing (including critical thinking) skills by producing a term paper (see essay

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Burkholder, J. Peter et al. A History of Western Music, 8th ed. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2010.

Norton Anthology of Western Music, 6th ed.  Vol. 2. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2010.

Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music.  Vol. 2. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2010.

Method of Assessment:

In-class Test #1 Mon. Sept. 29 20%
In-class Test #2 Tues. Nov. 4 20%
Essay Tues. Nov. 25 30%
Cumulative Final Exam TBA 30%

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:


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. 


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.

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

Avenue to Learn

In this course we will be using Avenue t Learn.  Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course.  The available information is dependent on the technology used.  Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure.  If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

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:

Music 2B03: Course Schedule

N.B. Details of this schedule may be changed throughout the duration of the course





Week 1 (Sept. 4)




Week 2 (Sept. 8, 9, 11)

The Early Twentieth Century

Chapter 31

NAWM 155-159

Week 3 (Sept. 15, 16, 18)




Week 4 (Sept. 22, 23, 25)

Modernism and the Classical Tradition

Chapter 32

NAWM 160-168

Week 5 (Sept. 29, 30, Oct. 2)

Mon. Sept. 29: Test #1




Week 6 (Oct. 6, 7, 9)


Between the Two World Wars:

Jazz and Popular Music

Chapter 33

NAWM 169-172

Week 7 (Oct. 14, 16)





Week 8 (Oct. 20, 21, 23)

Between the Two World Wars:

The Classical Tradition

Chapter 34

NAWM 173, 174, 175, 176, 178, 179, 181

Week 9 (Oct. 27, 28)

Thurs. Oct. 30





Week 10 (Nov. 3, 4, 6)

Tues. Nov. 4: Test #2

Postwar Crosscurrents

Chapter 35

NAWM 183, 184, 187, 188, 190, 193, 194, 195

Week 11 (Nov. 10, 11, 13)




Week 12 (Nov. 17, 18, 20)

Music since 1970

Chapter 36

NAWM 197, 198, 201, 203, 205

Week 13 (Nov. 24, 25, 27)

Tues. Nov. 25: Essay Due




Week 14 (Dec. 1, 2)








*NAWM = Norton Anthology of Western Music (vol. 3).  The numbers indicated are the “item numbers” in the anthology, not page numbers.  CD and track numbers are indicated at the beginning of each item in the anthology.


Other Course Information:

McMaster University School of the Arts

Music 2B03: History of Western Music:  Late Romantic to the Present (1890-Present)

Fall Term 2014

Essay Assignment

Paper Due: Tuesday, Nov. 25, in classLate penalty: 5% per class-day late. 

All essays must be submitted in hard (paper) copy.  In addition, essays are to be submitted electronically to

The essay should be approximately 7-8 pages long, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins and the text should be printed in a 12 point, Times New Roman font.  You may not use any of the works examined in the Norton anthologies as a significant focus in your essay.

  1. Discuss the intersection of music and politics in the twentieth or twenty-first century, with a focus on a specific time and place.
  2. Discuss the parallels and divergences between a movement in twentieth-century visual art and a corresponding movement in twentieth-century music.
  3. Examine the influence of the cultural current known as “modernism” on the composition of music in the twentieth century.
  4. Many composers over the last century have turned to the “folk” traditions of their region for musical material.  Examine the influence of this trend on the work of a selected twentieth-century composer.
  5. Discuss an aspect of the influence of technology on twentieth or twenty-first century music.
  6. Choose a topic that comments on a feature of the history of music in Canada in the twentieth century.
  7. Examine a theoretical or philosophical writing by a composer written within the past one hundred years and discuss its applicability to the music of that composer.  It may be useful to focus your discussion on an individual composition.    

Topics that differ from those listed above MUST be approved in advance by the course instructor.

Borrowed ideas and direct quotations from the works of others must be properly cited in footnotes (see “Note on Plagiarism” on course syllabus).  A bibliography of at least five sources should be appended to the essay.  Footnote and bibliography format should follow Chicago Style format (notes and bibliography system, not parenthetical references and "works cited.").

In searching for sources, consider beginning with the Grove Music Online (part of Oxford Music Online, accessible through the McMaster Library Website), where bibliographies for a wide array of music topics can be found.  Also, the JSTOR and The Music Index Online are a good resources, available through the online library catalogue.  As a general guide, try to use the most up-to date scholarship for your research.  Do not use the textbook (or other such general works as Joseph Machlis’s Enjoyment of Music) or CD liner notes as sources for your essay.  Also, because of the vast quantity and varying quality of information available on the internet, you need to take particular care when selecting online sources.  Methods to assess the appropriateness of online sources will be discussed in class, but it is also STRONGLY RECOMMENDED that you do not use online sources unless they have been approved by the course instructor.  If your sources are poor, the quality of your work can suffer significantly.

A good resource for students wanting to improve clarity and expression in their writing is Style by Joseph Williams (various editions) which includes a series of helpful writing exercises. For specific information on writing academic papers about music consult Jonathan D. Bellman, A Short Guide to Writing about Music (New York: Pearson Longman, 2007).  For further help with essay writing check the resources provided by the Student Success Centre <> which provides ESL support, writing clinics, workshops, online tutorials, and other resources.

The following qualities are valued for this assignment:

Accurate adherence to assignment requirements (including format), appropriate citation of sources, impeccable written prose, appropriate consideration of evidence for statements and opinions, clear organization, accurate statements, convincing argumentation, originality of thought, clarity of ideas, evidence of consultation of a wide variety of authoritative sources, evidence of a deep understanding of the concepts and issues discussed, moving beyond the material presented in class.

Grading papers is not an exact science, but generally the following approach will be taken:

90-100:  papers that excel in all or most of the areas listed above

80-89:  papers that show great potential but need moderate improvement in some of the areas listed above

70-79:  papers that show a good effort, but require more extensive work to improve

60-69:  papers that have more serious deficiencies

50-59:  papers that barely meet the basic expectations of the assignment

Below 50 percent:  unacceptable work.