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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2014/2015

Term: 2

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Andrew Mitchell


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 433

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24217

Office Hours: Mondays and Thursdays 1:30pm, Fridays 12:30pm

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 from the assigned CD set.  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, 8th ed. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2010.

Norton Anthology of Western Music, 6th ed.  Volume 1. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2010.

Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music.  Volume 1. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2010.

Method of Assessment:

In-class test #1 Mon. Feb. 2 20%
In-class test #2 Tues. Mar. 10 20%
Essay Tues. Apr. 7 30%
Final Exam TBA 30%


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:


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.


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

Avenue to Learn

In this course we will be using Avenue to 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:

McMaster University School of the Arts

Music 2BB3: History of Western Music: Medieval and Renaissance

Course Schedule (may be subject to alteration)


Students will learn most (and likely will perform best) by reading entire textbook chapters and listening to all recorded excerpts, but only specific pages and CD excerpts indicated are required material for testing.





Week 1  (Jan. 5, 6, 8)

Introduction; Music in Antiquity

Chapter 1

pp. 4-21

NAWM 1, 2

Week 2  (Jan. 12, 13, 15)

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

Chapter 2

pp. 32-46

NAWM 3b, c, f, h, i, k, 4a, 6

Week 3 (Jan. 19, 20, 22)

Song and Dance Music in the Middle Ages

Chapter 4

pp. 68-83


NAWM 8, 9, 10, 13

Week 4  (Jan. 26, 27, 29)


Polyphony through the Thirteenth Century

Chapter 5

pp. 84-102

NAWM 15, 16, 17, 19

Week 5  (Feb. 2, 3, 5)

 Mon. Feb. 2 Test #1

Polyphony through the Thirteenth Century cont’d

Chapter 5

pp. 102-112

NAWM 21, 22, 23

Week 6  (Feb. 9, 10, 12)


French and Italian Music in the Fourteenth Century

Chapter 6

pp. 113-133

NAWM 24, 25, 27, 28

Feb. 16-20: Mid-Term Break




Week 7  (Feb. 23, 24, 26)


French and Italian Music in the Fourteenth Century cont’d

Chapter 6

pp. 133-143

NAWM 29, 30, 31

Week 8 (Mar. 2, 3, 5)


England and Burgundy in the Fifteenth Century

Chapter 8

pp. 167-190

NAWM 33, 34, 37





Week 9  (Mar. 9, 10, 12)

Tue. Mar. 10: Test #2

Franco-Flemish Composers, 1450-1520

Chapter 9

pp. 191-210

NAWM 41, 42

Week 10  (Mar. 16, 17, 19)


Sacred Music in the Era of the Reformation

Chapter 10

pp. 211-225

NAWM 44, 46

Week 11  (Mar. 23, 24, 26)

Sacred Music in the Era of the Reformation cont’d

Chapter 10

pp. 225-239

NAWM  47, 49

Week 12  (Mar. 30, 31, Apr. 2)


Madrigal and Secular Song in the Sixteenth Century

Chapter 11

pp. 240-263

NAWM 52, 55, 59

Week 13 (Apr. 6, 7)

Tue. Apr. 7: Essay Due


The Rise of Instrumental Music

Chapter 12


NAWM 62, 64, 65





*Page numbers for readings indicate pages in the required textbook.

**NAWM = Norton Anthology of Western Music (vol. 1).  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.