Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session


21M.301 Harmony and Counterpoint I or permission of instructor.

General Information

In 21M.235 we will study the music in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in terms of context, style, and form. This class is open to students with a desire to study the music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in more depth and who are familiar with note reading and have at least some score reading ability.

21M.235 is a CI-M (Communication Intensive in the Major) subject. Class meetings will be a mix of in-class projects, student presentations (either individual or team), class discussions, and lectures based on the assigned listening and reading. Occasionally, there will be live performances and presentations that go beyond these core assignments.
Attendance at all class meetings is required.


The listening, reading, and outline of the written assignments are detailed below. The class work, reading, essays, and final presentations will all center on the compositions or composers studied in the listening assignments.

Listening And Reading

Listening, specifically analytical listening in conjunction with scores, is vital to this course. Initially, you should listen to each assignment before and after the class meeting, in order to familiarize yourself with each piece.

Recordings and some scores for each listening assignment are listed in the Listening and Scores section. Please note each class assignment is supplemented with other works by the same composer or longer excerpts than the one assigned for that day. These are optional and placed under the general heading "Not Assigned but Helpful."

The text for this class is:
Buy at Amazon Richard, Taruskin. Music in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Oxford University Press, 2011. ISBN: 9780199842155 [Preview with Google Books]
Assigned readings will be taken from this text. This is one of the most comprehensive books available and written in a challenging but accessible prose. There are also substantial score excerpts in the text which aid in understanding the author's analysis of the piece.
Please bring your book to class meetings!

When preparing each assignment, I find starting with the music a more rewarding experience. Therefore, I suggest you start by listening to one of the assigned compositions, then read about the piece, composer, etc. in the text. (Then listen again and again and ...!)


You will write three types of papers for this class: an analytic / performance essay, concert reflections / comparisons, and listening outlines.

  • The analytical essay (1500 words) is an analysis of a single work or substantial movement from a larger work. (10%)

     This essay will then be revised and expanded to a total of 3000 words by comparing performances of the same composition. (15%)


There will be three exams. Each exam will cover the assigned listening and reading as well as material discussed in class. Questions will feature excerpts from the assigned listening for identification, description, and comparison. Additional questions will deal with concepts (describing musical forms, historical significance, etc.) and terms. (15% each)
Exam 1=Wks. I-IV; Exam 2=Wks. V-IX; Exam 3=Wks. X-IV.


Students are required to attend each class meeting and participate actively. In addition, all students will be asked to lead the discussions on specific pieces from the assigned listening.

Students may bring laptops and other electronic devices to class to access online scores and recordings or other activities directly related to this class. Please be sure to silence and refrain from using all devices when music is being played.


3 Exams 15% each
2 Concert reports 10% each
Analytical paper 10%
Revised and expanded paper 15%
Presentations and participation 10%


Course Overview By Week Including Exams And Written Assignments

I Introduction and Monteverdi  
II Organ Music, Oratorio and Cantata  
III Music for Court and Chamber  
IV Class and Classicism  
V Exam 1 Week Exam 1
VI Concerto and Tonality  
VII 1685 Part 1  
VIII 1685 Part 2 Concert report 1 due
IX The Comic Style Analytical essay due
X Exam 2 Week Exam 2
XI Enlightenment and Reform  
XII Haydn: Instrumental Music  
XIII Mozart: Instrumental Music Analytical essay revision / expansion due
XIV Exam 3 Week and In-Class Presentations Exam 3
XV In-Class Presentations (cont.) Concert report 2 due