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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 German Lied with a particular focus on the nineteenth century, with consideration of at least the eighteenth century as well.  The evaluation in this course is weighted significantly in favour of the research and writing of a major paper (approximately 15 pages). Each student will also make two short (5 min.) presentations on their research to the class.  Each student will also complete two song analysis presentations (20 min. each) during the term.  Students will be exposed to a cross-section of research on the Lied through weekly reading assignments (a short quiz will be given on the readings each week).  Students will also be able to reflect on the readings and learn from the ideas of others in the class through regular class discussions.



This course is designed to give students an opportunity to do serious musicological work.  The skills stressed in the course (reading, analysis, critical thinking, research, oral and written communication of research findings etc.) are important preparation for students interested in academic graduate work in music, but are also applicable for students pursuing other career paths such as music education and performance.


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Parsons, James, ed.  The Cambridge Companion to the Lied.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.


Method of Assessment:

Course Evaluation:


Class Participation:                             15%                

Reading Quizzes:                                10%                

Essay Progress Assignments (4):        10%                

Song Analysis Presentations (2):        20%                

Essay Progress Presentations (2):        5%                  

Essay (Final Product)                          40%                



Attendance:  Full attendance at all scheduled classes is expected.  For each unapproved absence the class participation mark will be deducted 1% out of the total 10%.  Exceptions for attendance will only be made if absences are documented by the self-reporting system ( or an approved absence by the Faculty of Humanities for the particular days missing.


Class Participation:  Students will be graded on quality of participation in class discussions which will be structured primarily around reading assignments and song analyses.  Students are encouraged to contribute often and vigorously to maintain an atmosphere of free inquiry amongst the class members.  The quality of the class discussion is dependent on the degree to which students do the reading assignments and thinking about possible topics for discussion.  This cannot be emphasized too much!


The readings should not be viewed as unassailable repositories of factual information, but as documents created by real human beings who have points of view that are not necessarily universal.  The ability to critique writing (even writing that seems mostly factual in content) is an important skill in scholarship and I want us to view the reading assignment as exercises in developing this skill.


As you approach the reading for any given week consider focusing on at least one or two of the questions below and bring your thoughts to the class.  As we discuss the readings each week, I will go through the various questions below and ask for feedback.


  • What are some biases hidden or expressed overtly in the author’s writings?  Do you agree with them?  If you don’t know, are they perhaps open to question?
  • What are the main points the author is trying to convey?  If this chapter were the research you had gathered to give a short lecture, what would you bring forward as the main points?
  • Who is the best audience for this reading?  The answer to this question is most likely going to be similar for most, if not all of the readings, but it still can be a fruitful question to ponder.
  • What is of benefit in this article for your own work?  Are there aspects of songs that are analyzed in the chapter that you might consider analyzing in the songs that will be the focus of your paper?  Are there other approaches taken that you think might be applicable for your own work?
  • Did you like the article overall?  Why or why not?  How does it compare with the other articles we have read and discussed so far this term?
  • What is the most difficult section(s) of the article (and, of course, why)?  What is the least difficult (and why)?


Reading Quizzes:  Short multiple-choice quizzes will be given most classes on the assigned reading for that week.  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 writing a summary of the week's reading (approx. 4 pages).   Summaries are due one class after the quiz and will be deducted 5% for each week-day the assignment is late afterwards.  



Essay Progress Assignments:  Throughout the term a series of assignments will be completed to aid students in their work on their research paper.  Because these assignments are intended to encourage progress over time, lateness is a significant issue.  Late progress assignments will be deducted 5 percent per week-day late. 



1)  In the first assignment students will propose an essay topic.  The proposal need not be longer than a paragraph.



2)  The second assignment will be an annotated bibliography of 10 sources.  The format should be Chicago style (reference guides available through the library website).  Each citation should be accompanied by a statement indicating the usefulness of the source to the essay topic.



3)  The third assignment is an essay outline.  This should be approximately 1-2 pages long.  Point form should be used.  The outline should show the sequence of topics and subtopics covered in the paper.



4)  The fourth assignment is a one page (approx. 1 page, single-spaced) account of the research progress to date.




Presentations (4)



1, 2) Each student will present two song analyses (approx. 20 min.) to the class.  The focus of these will be text/music relations. 



For their presentations, each student will supply all class members and the instructor with two handouts .  One will include side-by-side German and English versions of the song text (available from <>), and the other will include a list of notable text/music correspondences using headings to organize the material.  A sample song analysis will be provided for a template.  Students are free to modify the template to suit their needs.



For the presentation, students should use a projection of the song score.  These are available at <>.  The song should be played during the presentation.   Students could consider using recordings from iTunes or Naxos to play in their presentations.



Students should consult a German/English dictionary to check the meanings of specific words.  The recommended dictionary is the Oxford Duden German Dictionary Electronic Edition available through the library website.



3, 4) Two presentations will also be made on research progress (approx. 5 min.).  In the first progress presentation, students will give an overview of their research topic, discuss an issue of particular interest that has been encountered, and highlight particular challenges they have faced to date.  In the second, students will summarize their final papers and discuss how challenges were overcome and possibilities for future work on the topic.  Because of their brevity, these presentations will be given either a pass or fail grade only.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

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.