Syllabus for MUS-220



Music History I examines the history of Western music through 1750, stressing the origin and evolution of musical forms and musical styles and the important composers from each of the time periods from antiquity through the Baroque. The student will also be placing this knowledge in the broader cultural context of each period.

Advisory: An ability to read music is a requirement for this course.


After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Identify and discuss stylistic features, function, and practice of Western music from antiquity through circa 1750.
  2. Chronicle stylistic trends through discussion activities and well-written essays.  
  3. Discuss the impact of important cultural and political events in world history on the development of artistic style and music in particular.
  4. Define (and use appropriately) terminology pertaining to the development of musical forms, styles, and compositional procedures.  
  5. Analyze important musical compositions through score study and active listening, assessing stylistic features that identify their historical placement.
  6. Describe the design, development, and use of musical instruments.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook, study guide, and anthologies are available as a specially priced package from the College’s textbook supplier, MBS Direct. The ISBN for the bundled package through MBS Direct is 978-0-393-19922-2. Listed below are the individual ISBNs for each item if purchased separately.

Required Textbook

  1. Barbara Russano Hanning, Concise History of Western Music, 4th ed. (New York: W. W. Norton, 2010). [Hereafter abbreviated CHWM]

    ISBN-13: 978-0-393-93251-5

Study Guide

  1. J. Peter Burkholder and Jennifer L. Hund-King, Study and Listening Guide for Concise History of Western Music, Fourth Edition and Norton Anthology of Western Music, Sixth Edition (New York: W. W. Norton, 2011)

    ISBN-13: 978-0-393-93526-4


  1. Norton Anthology of Western Music, vol. 1, Ancient to Baroque, ed. J. Peter Burkholder and Claude V. Palisca (New York: W. W. Norton, 2009). [Hereafter abbreviated NAWM]

    ISBN-13: 978-0-393-93126-6

  1. Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, vol. 1, Ancient to Baroque. [Hereafter abbreviated as NRAWM]

    ISBN-13: 978-0-393-11309-9


Music History I is a three-credit online course, consisting of twelve (12) modules. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below, along with the course objectives and topics covered.

  1. Module 1: Music in Ancient Greece and Early Christian Rome; Medieval Chant and Secular Song
    Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5

  1. defining music history
  2. music in ancient Greek life and thought
  3. Roman music, 200 B.C.E.–500 C.E.
  4. music in the early Christian Church
  5. development of chant and medieval secular song
  6. medieval music theory and practice

  1. Module 2: Polyphony through the Thirteenth Century
    Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5

  1. early organum
  2. Notre Dame polyphony
  3. the motet
  4. polyphonic conductus

  1. Module 3: French and Italian Music in the Fourteenth Century
    Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5

  1. The Ars Nova in France
  2. Guillaume de Machaut
  3. Italian trecento music
  4. Francesco Landini
  5. Ars Subtilior

  1. Module 4: England, France, and Burgundy in the Fifteenth Century
    Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5

  1. English music and musicians and their influence on life in the fifteenth century
  2. Burgundian music and musicians and their influence on life in the fifteenth century
  3. evolution of the motet and the mass
  4. theoretical concerns in the music of the fifteenth century

  1. Module 5: Franco-Flemish Composers 1450–1520
    Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5

  1. musical culture in the Renaissance
  2. the Franco-Flemish composers Jean de Ockeghem, Jacob Obrecht, Heinrich Isaac, and Josquin des Prez
  3. innovation of music publishing and music notation
  1. Module 6: Secular Song, National Styles, and Instrumental Music of the Sixteenth Century
    Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6

  1. rise of national styles in Spain, Italy, France, and England
  2. Italian madrigal
  3. French chanson
  4. English madrigal
  5. rise of instrumental music

  1. Module 7: Sacred Music in the Era of the Reformation
    Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5

  1. music of the Reformation in Germany
  2. music of the Reformation in countries outside Germany
  3. the Counter-Reformation
  4. music of Palestrina and his contemporaries

  1. Module 8: Vocal Music of the Early Baroque and the Invention of Opera
    Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6

  1. general characteristics of Baroque music
  2. basso continuo
  3. forerunners of early opera
  4. the first operas

  1. Module 9: Vocal Music for the Chamber and the Church in the Early Baroque
    Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 2, 4, and 5

  1. secular vocal music
  2. the music of Barbara Strozzi
  3. Catholic sacred vocal music
  4. Lutheran sacred vocal music
  5. the music of Heinrich Schütz

  1. Module 10: Instrumental Music in the Seventeenth Century
    Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6

  1. new and popular genres of instrumental music in the seventeenth century
  2. music for organ, lute, and harpsichord
  3. music of Girolamo Frescobaldi, Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de La Guerre, and Arcangelo Corelli
  4. music for ensembles
  5. Baroque ornamentation

  1. Module 11: Opera and Vocal Music Music in the Late Seventeenth Century
    Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6

  1. developments in Italian opera and vocal music
  2. developments in French opera and vocal music
  3. English vocal tradition
  4. developments in German opera and vocal music

  1. Module 12: Baroque Music in the Early Eighteenth Century
    Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 4, 5, and 6

  1. principal composers of the late Baroque period and early eighteenth century:
  1. Italy: Antonio Vivaldi
  2. France: Francois Couperin and Jean-Philippe Rameau
  3. Germany: Johann Sebastian Bach
  4. England: George Frideric Handel

  1. formal developments in the late Baroque period and early eighteenth century:
  1. concerto and ritornello forms
  2. keyboard and other instrumental music
  3. vocal music, opera, and oratorio


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, take module quizzes, and complete a final project. See below for details.

Consult the course Calendar for due dates.

Discussion Forums

You are required to participate in twelve (12) graded discussion forums as well as an ungraded Introductions Forum. The online discussions are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete twelve (12) written assignments. The written assignments are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules.

Modules Quizzes

Each module in the course concludes with a module quiz, twelve (12) quizzes in all. The quizzes draw not only on your readings in the textbook but also on your score study in the Norton Anthology of Western Music, vol. 1, and on listening examples from the Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, vol. 1.

Module quizzes are open book but time restricted (30 minutes). You may take the quizzes multiple times both during and after the quiz period, but you’ll be graded (highest score received) only on attempts made by the due date for the quiz.

Final Project

Music History I culminates in a Final Project that collectively is worth 22% of your course grade. This project takes the place of and is equivalent to a final exam. It consists of two parts:

  1. Part 1: a paper worth 15% of your course grade—2% for the outline and 13% for the final paper itself
  2. Part 2: a set of five (5) listening examples worth 7% of your course grade

Please note that you will receive separate grades (on a scale of 0–100) for your paper outline, final paper, and listening examples. Your choice of a paper topic in Week 7 will be marked Complete/Incomplete.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

  1. Discussion forums (12)—15%
  2. Written assignments (12)—33%
  3. Module quizzes (12)—30%
  4. Final project—22%, consisting of:
  1. Outline of Final Paper (2%)
  2. Final Paper (13%)
  3. Listening Examples (7%)

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:






























Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a nonarea of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

  1. Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.
  2. Take time to read the entire Online Student Handbook. The Handbook answers many questions about how to proceed through the course and how to get the most from your educational experience at Thomas Edison State College.

  3. Familiarize yourself with the learning management systems environment—how to navigate it and what the various course areas contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.
  4. If you are not familiar with Web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting assignments before class begins.

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

  1. To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the course Calendar. The Calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting assignments, posting discussions, and scheduling and taking examinations.
  2. Check Announcements regularly for new course information.


Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

  1. Cheating
  2. Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
  3. Fabricating information or citations
  4. Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others
  5. Unauthorized access to examinations or the use of unauthorized materials during exam administration
  6. Submitting the work of another person or work previously used without informing the mentor
  7. Tampering with the academic work of other students

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized assignment, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or the College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.


Using someone else’s work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of the intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

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