Course Description

Course Name

Music in Western Culture

Session: VDNS3121

Hours & Credits

18 Credit Points

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


The study of European art music from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century in its historical and cultural contexts.
We all know of Beethoven and Mozart and Bach - three composers who have made great and original contributions to the heritage of western art music-but do we know what they were really trying to say? In this paper we explore western art music in context. Why did Bach write music in the way he did, why did Beethoven write music differently, why did renaissance musicians sing madrigals, what was it like to be a medieval musician, why did everyone hate Lully, what secret message was Schumann sending to his fiancée in his songs? Focusing on particular composers at particular times and places, we enable students to understand the history of music in the context of its own times.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of the paper, students will be able to recognise important genres, styles and forms in Western music and be able to discuss and comment on them with an understanding of their historical context.

Prior to each module, the professor will post assigned readings on Blackboard. These will provide important background and additional context to the topics presented in the lectures. It is, therefore, important to read these materials before the module begins.

Course Structure
Please contact the Department of Music's office for copy a of the most recent paper profile.

*Course content subject to change