MUS20400 Early European Music

Academic Year 2021/2022

This module introduces students to the music of the Medieval, Renaissance and early-Baroque eras of European musical history. Students will examine six key topics encompassing the development of music in each of the eras under consideration. In addition, students will be expected to prepare for lectures by completing the reading and listening tasks assigned each week and by familiarising themselves with the contents of the prescribed textbook. Lectures will focus on the following topics: the invention of notation; vernacular song; the development of polyphony; imitative counterpoint; institutions and patronage; the invention of opera.

Folders containing preparatory reading and listening materials for each week will be available on Brightspace. The lectures on each topic will include opportunities for discussion based on the weekly reading and listening materials.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to:
- name and describe important composers, genres and styles of the period in question and discuss selected aesthetic dimensions of the music
- recognise, analyse and compare selected compositions in terms of their style and origin
- evaluate the relationship between music and its cultural and historical context
- discuss and explain key aspects of each topic in the light of contemporary musicological scholarship
- demonstrate a structured and coherent approach in written presentation skills
- consult and use a wide range of bibliographic sources

Indicative Module Content:

Medieval Music (c.750-1350):
-the invention of notation and liturgical chant
- vernacular song
-the development of polyphony
Renaissance Music c.1350-1600):
-institutions and patronage
-imitative counterpoint
Early-Baroque Music (c.1600-1650):
-the invention of opera

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lectures supplemented by discussion based on the close reading of texts. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: 2,500 - 3,000 word essay. Week 12 n/a Graded No


Attendance: Attendance at lectures including preparation and participation. Students will be assigned preparatory reading and listening each week and will be questioned on this material. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Essay: 2,500 - 3,000 word essay Week 7 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
In-Module Resit Prior to relevant Programme Exam Board
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Burkholder, Grout and Palisca, A History of Western Music, 10th edition (New York: W. W. Norton, 2019).
Burkholder and Palisca, Norton Anthology of Western Music. Vol. 1, Ancient to Baroque. 8th edition (New York: W. W. Norton, 2019).

A detailed reading list and a list of weekly reading assignments will be provided on Brightspace.