21M.220 | Fall 2010 | Undergraduate

Early Music


Required Textbook

[W&S] = Wright, Craig, and Bryan R. Simms. Music in Western Civilization, Volume I: Antiquity through the Baroque. Thomson/Schirmer, 2006. ISBN: 9780495008651.

Readings in the textbook will be complemented by handouts from various sources.

Other References

Barker, Andrew, ed. Greek Musical Writings: Volume 1 (Cambridge Readings in the Literature of Music). Cambridge University Press, 1984. ISBN: 9780521235938.

Christensen, Thomas, ed. The Cambridge History of Western Music Theory (The Cambridge History of Music). Cambridge University Press, 2002. ISBN: 9780521623711.

Ledger, Philip, ed. Oxford Book of English Madrigals. Oxford University Press, 1979. ISBN: 9780193436640.

In Focus 1: Chant: Structure, Performance, and Development
1 Introduction to Early Music and to Chant  
2 Antiquity to Chant

[W&S] pp. 0-28, esp. 6-7, 14-15, and 18-24

Weiss, Piero, and Richard Taruskin. “Plato’s Musical Idealism.” In Music in the Western World: A History in Documents. Schirmer, 1984, pp. 6-10. ISBN: 9780028729008.

3 The Purpose and Types of Chant [W&S] pp. 28-34
4 Diversity and Development in Chant [W&S] pp. 34-41
Other Topics 1: From Chant to the Fourteenth-Century
5 Secular Monophony in the Middle Ages

[W&S] pp. 34-46

Danziger, Danny, and John Gillingham. “The Englishman’s Castle.” In 1215: The Year of the Magna Carta. Touchstone, 2004, pp. 1-32. ISBN: 9780743257732. [Preview with Google Books]

6 The Birth of Polyphony [W&S] pp. 47-52
7 Polyphony (and some monophony) in the 13th and early 14th century


  • pp. 52-70
  • Chapter 10
  • Chapter 11
8 Fauvel, Vitry, Machaut and Music in France before 1370 [W&S] Chapter 12
In Focus 2: Music in the Trecento (Italy 1340-1420)
9 Introduction to Trecento Music


  • “Musical Interlude 1: From Medieval Manuscript to Modern Performance” pp. 95-101
  • “Biography of Landini.” pp. 102-10

Begin for this session, finish next session

Long, Michael. “Trecento Italy.” In Antiquity and the Middle Ages: From Ancient Greece to the 15th Century (Music and Society Series). Edited by James McKinnon. Prentice Hall, 1990, pp. 241-68. ISBN: 9780130361615.

10 Trecento Music and Musicology: Introduction to Research; Sacred Music Finish Long, “Trecento Italy” (as started for Lec #9)
11 Simplicity and Complexity No readings assigned
12 The End of the Trecento and The Rise of European Music [W&S]:

  • Chapter 16, “English Music,” “Fauxbourdon,” pp. 118-9, and “Duns-taple,” pp. 121-3.
  • Chapter 17, “Music in Burgundy” (on Du Fay and Binchois), pp. 123-31.

Cuthbert, Michael Scott. “Counting Our Losses.” Excerpt from Trecento Fragments. PhD Thesis, Harvard University, 2006. (PDF) (The full dissertation is at Trecento Fragments and Polyphony Beyond the Codex (PDF))

  First Exam  
Other Topics 2: The “Renaissance” (1420-1600)
13 Music in the Mid-Fifteenth Century 1440-1480


  • Chapter 15, “Music in Renaissance Florence” (cf. Craig Wright’s work on Nuper rosarum flores), pp. 110-5.
  • Chapter 18, “Ockeghem,” pp. 132-5.
14 Vocal Music: Josquin, his Contemporaries, and his Followers


  • Chapter 19, “Jacob Obrecht and the Multiple Cantus Firmus Mass.”
  • Chapter 20, “Popular Music in Florence 1475-1540,” “The Carnival Song and the Lauda,” and “The Frottola.”
  • Chapter 21, “Josquin des Prez and Music in Ferrara.”
15 Discussion: How to revise a research paper


  • Chapters 22-24, pp. 168-202. (186-90 are optional)
  • Chapter 25, “Rome and Music of the Counter-Reformation.”
16 16th century vocal and instrumental music [W&S]

  • Chapter 20, “The Early Madrigal in Florence.” pp. 155-8.
  • “Musical Instruments,” and “The Basse Danse,” pp. 142-4.
  Special Event: Jane Alden, “Why Facsimiles?”  
**In Focus 3: Elizabethan London (The Order of these Four Classes May Vary)
17 Tudor England / The Elizabethan Madrigal [W&S] Chapters 26-27, “Music in Elizabethan England,” pp. 210-22.
18 English Music in Church and School

Atlas, Allan W. “Elizabethan England.” In Anthology of Renaissance Music (The Norton Introduction to Music History). W. W. Norton and Sons, 1998, pp. 675-97. ISBN: 9780393971705.

Morley, Thomas. A Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke (Shakespeare association. Facsimiles). Oxford University Press, 1937, pp. 1-9 and 74. (PDF - 1.0MB)

19 Instrumental Music and Lute Song (Doug Freundlich, Guest Lecturer)

Atlas, Allan W. “Elizabethan England.” In Anthology of Renaissance Music (The Norton Introduction to Music History). W. W. Norton and Sons, 1998, pp. 661-75. ISBN: 9780393971705.

Lute Tablature: “Maids in Constrite.” (PDF)

20 Music in London Society moved to L&S
  Second Hour Exam  
Other Topics 3: New Developments on the Continent, 1570-1620
21 Madrigal and Drama in Late Sixteenth-Century Italy; Music in Venice


  • Chapter 28, “The Later Madigral in Ferrara and Mantua,” pp. 222-31
  • Chapter 31, “The Concerted Style in Venice and Dresden: Giovanni Gabrieli and the Concerted Motet.” p. 254.
22 The Rise of Opera and a New Style


  • Chapter 29, “Early Baroque Music,” pp. 234-40
  • Chapter 30, “Birth of Opera” and “Early Opera in Florence,” pp. 240-4.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2010
Learning Resource Types
Projects with Examples
Lecture Notes
Written Assignments with Examples