Music M401
History and Literature of Music I:
Antiquity to 1800

Indiana University Jacobs School of Music

Fall 2017

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About M401

Table of Contents

About the Course

Music M401: History and Literature of Music I: Antiquity to 1800 is the first half of a two-semester team-taught course on the history and literature of music in Europe and the Americas. It will be taught this fall by the following team:

This semester, we will trace the history of music in Europe and its American colonies from ancient Greece to the time of Haydn and Mozart. You will encounter over 130 pieces of music and will become familiar with about eighty, chosen to illustrate the main genres and styles that emerged over two thousand years of continual change. We will also study the historical contexts and social functions of these pieces and the circumstances in which they were performed.

By the end of the semester, you should be able to recognize and describe the most important genres and musical styles practiced in Europe and the Americas in this period, including national styles and the individual styles of several composers, and to place composers, pieces, styles, and genres in an historical time frame.

We will focus on several themes:

Each class day will engage several of these themes, tracing them like threads through time.

Besides gaining this broad knowledge of the field, you will also undertake a research project on a specific topic in the history of music in Europe or its American colonies before 1800, giving you an opportunity to explore in depth a subject of special interest to you.

The class meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for lectures and on Tuesday and Thursday for small-group discussion sections. Each Associate Instructor will lecture once to the entire class and will lead two of the discussion sections.

The M401 website is your guide to the semester. Here you will find a detailed description of the course objectives and notes on course requirements and expectations, with links to a complete course schedule, a list of anthologies and books on reserve, the repertoire list for the semester, and instructions on the research project. All of these webpages are also available as handouts. Numerous other links provide further information and assistance, and more may be added over the course of the semester. For an index to the entire website, see the M401 Home Page.


Course Objectives

Read this section carefully. It explains in detail what you are expected to accomplish during the semester and how you will be tested. We make this explicit so that you know what to expect and what is expected of you.

The goal of the class is to enrich your experience of and knowledge about music in the European and American tradition by exploring the music of the past and the circumstances and values of the cultures and people that produced it. By understanding music in its historical context and learning about its inherent value within a certain culture and time, you will become more sensitive to its meanings and to how to interpret it and perform it. By tracing the themes listed above through centuries of musical life, and by exploring one or more of these themes in depth in a research project on music from this period, you will become more deeply aware of how aspects of your own engagement with music are rooted in music’s history, from what moves you to perform music to how it moves your feelings. Even if your main focus in your professional life is on music after 1800, learning about earlier music will help you understand why later music has the shape it has, for every aspect of music has historical roots, often extending back centuries.

With this as an overall goal, we will focus on developing a specific set of skills. By the end of this semester, you should be able to hear or see the music of an unfamiliar piece from Europe or the Americas before 1800 and

  1. compare it to other pieces you know from this period;
  2. describe its principal stylistic features;
  3. recognize its genre or compare it to genres you know;
  4. suggest a possible composer and approximate date of composition;
  5. place it in an historical context;
  6. describe its probable social function;
  7. describe the probable circumstances of its performance, including where, when, why, how, and by whom such a piece might have been performed; and
  8. say something about what those who created, performed, heard, and paid for music of this type valued in it.

To do this, you need to have acquired and organized a certain amount of information.

All of these skills will be practiced in lectures and discussion sections and tested on quizzes and examinations, which include listening and score identification of known and unknown musical works, identification of important terms, names, and concepts, and short answer questions. Examinations also include essays. Guidelines and review guides for the examinations are available on the M401 Home Page. Please look at them early and often.

In addition, over the course of the semester, you will undertake a research project on a topic in the history of music in Europe or the European colonies in the Americas before 1800, resulting in a research paper. Completion of the research project will show that you can use the skills acquired in this class and in your previous training as a musician and scholar to research a subject area, engage a specific issue in depth, and write a persuasive paper that takes a point of view and argues convincingly for it.


Your discussion section instructor will read and grade your quizzes and examinations; assign your grade for discussion section, preparation, and participation; and, in consultation with Prof. Burkholder, guide and grade your research project. Your course grade will be calculated from your grades on each aspect of the class, weighted as follows:

Examinations and quizzes

Daily brief quizzes in lecture: 10%
Five repertoire quizzes in lecture: 10%
First hourly examination: 10%
Second hourly examination: 10%
Final examination: 20%

Research project 25%
Discussion section, preparation, and participation15%

Points on exams and quizzes will be converted to letter grades using this scale:

A+ 95.5-100% B- 70-74% D 44.5-50%
A 89.5-95% C+ 65.5-69.5% D- 40-44%
A- 85-89% C 59.5-65% F 0-39.5%
B+ 80.5-84.5% C- 55-59%
B 74.5-80% D+ 50.5-54.5%

Exam essays are given letter grades. Overall grades on exam, in each aspect of the course, and in the course as a whole are calculated using weighted averages of letter grades.

You must receive a passing grade in each area to pass the course. If your weighted average grade in any area (examinations, research project, or section) is below 0.50 on the 4.00-point GPA scale, you will receive an F for the course.

Course Expectations

You are responsible for the assigned readings in HWM and musical selections in NAWM, including the commentary on each work in NAWM. The topics and assignments for each class day are listed in the course schedule. You are expected to complete the assigned reading and listening prior to the class devoted to each topic.

Lectures will not simply repeat what is said in the texts, but will supplement and reinforce the material. Lecturing will be interspersed with discussion, group activities, and exercises in active learning. Examinations will cover material from both texts and lectures.

Quizzes in lecture are part of your examinations grade (see above). Quizzes will be frequent but brief (about 5 to 10 minutes), designed to reinforce your learning of material that you prepared for that day or that is treated in lecture. There will be a quiz most lecture days. Your five lowest quiz grades (plus any you missed for an excused absence) will be dropped in calculating your overall quiz grade.

Repertoire quizzes in lecture are longer quizzes (about 15 minutes) that test your familiarity with the pieces on the repertoire list. There are five, listed on the course schedule. They focus specifically on pieces assigned since the previous repertoire quiz or exam, using either listening or score questions to test your ability to identify and provide information about these pieces. See the repertoire list for more information.

Online quizzes are designed to help you engage with the reading and listening assignments and work with concepts before they are discussed in lecture. Online quizzes are not graded and may be taken more than once to improve your score. When you complete and submit a quiz that is at least 60% correct before the relevant lecture, you will receive one point extra credit toward your grade on the next quiz in lecture, including repertoire quizzes.

The discussion sections are discussion sections, not drill sections or supplementary lectures, and they require your active participation. Come prepared to discuss the readings and pieces listed for the preceding lectures, and to review work assigned previously. You will be expected to comment on the history, style, and compositional technique of the assigned works and on the material presented in the lectures and readings. There will also be quizzes and written and oral assignments for sections, all reflected in your section grade.

There is a website for HWM and NAWM, including an ebook, streaming audio of the recordings of pieces in NAWM, review outlines, listening quizzes, and other resources. If you purchased a new copy of HWM, it has a registration code that gives you access to the site. The URL is

Academic Integrity

It is your responsibility to know and understand Indiana University Bloomington's policies, procedures, and penalties regarding academic integrity and academic misconduct, as discussed in the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct. Note particularly and make sure you understand the definitions of cheating, fabrication, and plagiarism available at and the procedures given at (penalties are listed at Cheating on quizzes or examinations or plagiarism or fabrication on any aspect of the research project is likely to result in an F for the course.

Because it is vital that you understand plagiarism and avoid it in your research project, you must complete the School of Education tutorial on plagiarism, pass the test, and present the confirmation certificate to your AI by Thursday, September 21. Assignments 3-6 will not be accepted until you have passed this test. The tutorial and test are available at


In lectures and sections students have opportunities that are not duplicated elsewhere to interact with music, with each other, and with the instructors. Therefore, we expect you to come to class regularly and on time. Attendance is mandatory for discussion sections. It is our experience that students who frequently miss class do poorly or fail.

Any day you are late or absent, please get class notes from one or more classmates. You are responsible for knowing the content of every class, including announcements and assignments. Instructors cannot take responsibility for filling you in on what you missed.

Medical Conditions, Religious Holidays, and Other Issues Affecting Course Work

If you have a diagnosed medical condition that affects your ability to perform standard college-level work such as papers and examinations, please inform your instructors of this situation as soon as possible. While privacy laws do not require you to inform the instructors of the specific nature of the medical condition, it is important that reasonable modifications of the work be made as soon as possible to meet these situations.

Similarly, if an examination or assignment is scheduled on a religious holiday you observe, or conflicts with a Jacobs School of Music ensemble engagement or a major professional obligation (such as an international competition), please inform Prof. Burkholder during the first two weeks of class so that reasonable accommodations can be made. See the Indiana University Bloomington policy on religious observances for information and to download an Accommodation Request Form.

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Last updated: 17 August 2017
Copyright © 1997-2017 by J. Peter Burkholder