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MUSIC 1A03 Intro:History Of Music I

Academic Year: Fall 2015

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Lara Housez


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 416

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27671

Office Hours: Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:30am-12:30pm

Course Objectives:

Our primary goal is to gain a broad knowledge of musical terms, concepts, and repertoire from the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque era. We will focus on key composers, their works, and shifting musical styles and study how these figures and music making relate to larger economic, social, cultural, and intellectual contexts. A selection of musical examples from non-Western cultures will also be considered. By adopting a listening-oriented approach, we will develop skills in recognizing by ear musical examples and stylistic characteristics. One short written assignment, a concert review, will allow students to apply terminology and concepts presented in the course to the context of a live performance. Watch out: This course will expand your musical horizons and instill a life-long appreciation of early music. No previous knowledge of music or musical notation is required.

The lectures will give you the majority of the information that you will need to succeed in this course and will go significantly beyond the reading and listening assignments. Lecture slides for each class will be posted on the learning management system, Avenue to Learn (A2L), but you should be aware that these provide only the skeleton of the information you need. You will supplement the slides and your textbook readings with your own notes from lecture in order to be fully prepared for tests and the final exam.


1. Naming and identifying the elements of music, including rhythm, melody, harmony, timbre, texture, and expressive elements through reading and listening activities.

2. Relating the development of Western music to the cultural-historical background of Western civilization.

3. Identifying selected composers and their works from major Western historical periods, as representative of the thought and life of the respective periods.

4. Recognizing music from non-European cultures and broadening knowledge of how music plays a role in most world cultures.

5. Heightening abilities to listen to music intelligently and attaining higher levels of musical discernment in approaching different types and styles of music.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Mark Evan Bonds. Listen to This, 3rd edition. Toronto: Pearson, 2015 and its digital learning resource, MyMusicLab.

This textbook is available as a bundled textbook with digital learning resource or bundled e-textbook with digital learning resource. Access to the online resources, particularly the streamed musical examples, is essential.

Instructions for logging on to MyMusicLab are posted on A2L (see “Student Registration Handout.”)

Method of Assessment:

There will be three in-class tests, one written assignment, and a final exam, which will be scheduled by the registrar’s office.

Test #1 (7 October) 15%

Test #2 (29 October) 15%

Test #3 (30 November) 15%

Concert Review (due 25 November) 15%

Cumulative Final Exam (TBA) 40%

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:





9 Sept.


10 Sept.

The Elements of Music (Part I)


Refer to musical examples in eText

14 Sept.

CLASS CANCELLED (jury selection)

Read sample concert reviews on A2L and research local concerts

16 Sept.

The Elements of Music: (Part II)



17 Sept.

The Elements of Music: (Part II)


21 Sept.

Intro to the Middle Ages


23 Sept.

Hildegard von Bingen


1: Play of Virtues (excerpt)

24 Sept.

San Ildefonso Indians


2: Eagle Dance

28 Sept.

Francesco Landini


3: “Behold, Spring”

30 Sept.

Guillaume de Machaut


4: “I Can All Too Well Compare My Lady”

1 Oct.

Alfonso el Sabio


5: Songs to the Virgin Mary, no. 249, “He Who Gladly Serves”

5 Oct.

Middle Ages Review


7 Oct.


8 Oct.

Intro to the Renaissance


12-17 Oct.


19 Oct.

Josquin des Prez


6: “The Cricket”

21 Oct.

Thomas Weelkes


7: “Since Robin Hood”

22 Oct.

William Byrd


8: “Sing Joyfully”

26 Oct.

Bahamian Rhyming Singers


9: "My Lord Help Me to Pray”

28 Oct.

Renaissance Review


29 Oct.


2 Nov.

Intro to the Baroque


4 Nov.

Claudio Monteverdi


10: Orpheus, selection from Act II

5 Nov.

Henry Purcell


11: Dido and Aeneas, Overture and Act I, nos. 1-4

9 Nov.

Barbara Strozzi


13: “Revenge”

11 Nov.

Antonio Vivaldi


14: The Four Seasons, “Winter,” 1st mvt.

12 Nov.

CLASS CANCELLED (conference)

16 Nov.

Johann Sebastian Bach (Part I)


15: Fugue in G Minor, BWV 578 (“Little”) (2 versions)

18 Nov.

Bach (Part II)


16: Brandenburg Concerto no. 2 in F major, BWV 1047, finale

19 Nov.

Bach (Part III)


17: Cantata 140: Awake, a Voice Calls to Us, selections

23 Nov.

George Frideric Handel (Part I)


18: Messiah, “He that dwelleth in heaven,” “Thou shalt break them”

25 Nov.


Handel (Part II)

19: Messiah, “Hallelujah”

26 Nov.

Baroque Review


30 Nov.


2, 3, 7 Dec.

General Review

9-22 Dec.


Other Course Information:

Concert Review (due November 25)

During the course, you will attend a live concert performance of your choice and submit a performance review. The purpose of this assignment is to apply concepts learned during the course to a live performance setting. In addition to the name of the concert, performer(s), date, genre of music, and location, your review should include your opinion and observations of:

  • Musical material presented. How would you describe it, related to the concepts that you have learned in class? Into which category does it fall, and what influences do you observe related to other music genres? Did you notice any similarities to composers studied in the course?
  • Overall performance. What did you observe about how the show was set? Why do you think the performer created the atmosphere that they did? How did the performer engage the audience?
  • Level of audience engagement. How did the audience respond to the show?
  • Personal response to the show. What are your own reflections and opinions of the show?
  • Also include a website address that mentions the live performance

Live concert performances can include music concerts (singing or instrumental), musical theatre, or opera. Professional classical music concerts are encouraged, but you can attend a local amateur performance. Other ideas include jazz night at a local coffee house, performers at pubs, etc. These websites may help you find a concert that fits your schedule, budget, interests, etc.:

  • At McMaster: (Tuesday Lunchtime Concerts are free)
  • Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra: (Cheaper tickets for under 35)
  • Hamilton Concert Band:
  • John Laing Singers:
  • Chamber Music Hamilton:
  • Shows at Hamilton Place:

You must attend a live concert during the semester. You are not allowed to provide a retrospective review. If you have any questions about accessing a live event, please contact your instructor. 

The concert review should be approximately 2 pages (500 words) in length. If you use any resources, please use proper citation format.

Use the Dropbox feature on A2L to submit your concert review on or before Wednesday, November 25 at 11:59pm. You are encouraged to submit your review earlier. Late reviews will be penalized 10% per day up to two days after the deadline. Reviews submitted after Friday, November 27 will NOT be accepted.

Samples of excellent concert reviews are posted on A2L.