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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2014/2015

Term: 2

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. William Renwick


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 409

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23671


Office Hours: Mondays 11:30-12:30

Course Objectives:

Knowledge of 20th century compositional and analytica techniques; ability to analyze and understand a wide range of 20th century music; ability to express clearly in writing and orally, salient aspects of a given piece of 20th century music.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Lester, Joel. Analytical Approaches to Twentieth Century Music. New York: Norton.

Method of Assessment:

Assignments: 40 % Term paper: 20 % Class presentation: 10 % In-class Test: Friday February 13: 10 % Final Exam: 20 % Total: 100%

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.

Topics and Readings:

Assignments, given on approximately a weekly basis, are due one week later. Assignments are intended to help students gain facility with the techniques of twentieth-century music. Assignments put into practice concepts discussed in class. Always keep your marked assignments as a record of your work. Term Paper: Each student will research, prepare, and present their findings in a term paper to be submitted on the April 6. Marks will be given for content, prose style, and presentation. Class Presentation: Each student will select a project to work on for the term. In the second half of the term the students will present summaries of their findings in preparation for the final term paper. In-class Test: This test will assess students' assimilation of the major topics of the course and serve as practice for the final exam. Final Exam: The final exam (2-hour) tests students' abilities at working with the materials of twentieth-century music through writing and analysis.

Other Course Information:

Description: Music 3H03 provides an opportunity for students to work with the materials of modern music. In particular, this course examines the variety of new and different ways in which composers have used pitch relationships in their work. The course will therefore deal with consonance and dissonance, twelve-tone theory, set theory, neo-modality, octatonicism, polytonality, and other practical compositional techniques. Students will be expected to become versed in these techniques, and knowledgeable in representative works that exemplify them. Representative composers will include Debussy, Schoenberg, Webern, Stravinsky, Bartok, Messiaen, Britten, and Shostakovitch. The course will not directly concern itself with indeterminacy, chaos, minimalism, or aleatoric music. Supplementary Materials in the Library: Forte, Alan. The Structure of Atonal Music. New Haven: Yale, 1973. Hindemith, Paul. The Craft of musical Composition. London: Schott, 1968. Kostka, Stefan. Materials and Techniques of Twentieth-Century Music. Prentice Hall, 1999. Lewin, David. Generalized Musical Intervals and Transformations. New Haven: Yale, 1987. Messiaen, Olivier. The Technique of My Musical Language. Paris: Leduc, 1944. Perle, George. Serial Composition and Atonality. Berkeley: University of California, 1981. Rahn, John. Basic Atonal Theory. New York: Longman, 1980. Strauss, Joseph. Introduction to Post-Tonal Theory. Prentice Hall, 2000.