Just as learning the theory behind how music creation works, exploring the history of music, including important composers, performers, and the evolving influence of society on music, is key to understanding the genres of music that we perform, create, and consume today. Music History of the Western World will take you on a guided study of music in the Western World during the periods of time that encompass the classical, romantic, and 20th century. Through audio, video interviews, and interactive viewing and listening activities, you will experience the historical processes through which musical styles begin, grow, mature, and decline. The course begins with the Age of Enlightenment and the rise of opera, early symphony, and keyboard music, and then explores the emergence of the classical style and the works of Haydn, Mozart, Paradis, and Beethoven. It delves into the Romantic period, profiling such composers as Schubert, Berlioz, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Wagner, Rossini, Verdi, Brahms, Bruckner, Dvořák, Tchaikovsky, and Mahler, followed by an exploration of impressionism, including the works of Debussy, Fauré, and Boulanger. The course then chronicles music in the 20th century, including such topics as Russia’s Silver Age, atonality, the twelve-tone method, music in Latin America, electronic music, new textures, and minimalism, exploring the music of Ravel, Webern, Clarke, Copland, Barber, Penderecki, Cage, and others. The goal of the course is to provide you with a foundation for understanding how music has developed in the Western world through an analysis of the characteristics of musical genres from the various periods studied, in addition to the major composers, their compositions, and typical performing mediums of those genres. You will also gain an understanding of the relationship between music, art, and society through these periods.
By the end of the course you will be able to:
identify the music of the major composers of the classical, romantic and 20th century
identify the elements that define each of the major style periods from the Age of Enlightenment to the present
recognize the representative musical forms and genres in the classical, romantic, and 20th century
use terminology associated with each style period
identify the key aspects of culture, society, history, and geography that relate to music in Western civilization over the last 250 years