MUSI2081 Music in Western Culture I
Course Type: core/compulsory for music majors/minors (music minors may choose between this and MUSI2082 Music in Western Culture II), free elective for others
Prerequisite: NIL
Instructor: Professor Giorgio BIANCOROSSO
Semester: First Semester 2021/22
Time: 10:30am-12:20pm, Thursday
Venue: CPD-LG1.22 Rehearsal Room
The course examines topics in musical practices, works, and aesthetic ideas from the 17th to the mid 19th centuries. Various musical styles as well as conceptual ideas behind the musical practices are examined. The course emphasises the socio-cultural context in which the music was created, performed, and consumed, as well as its relationship to the other art forms. Together with MUSI2082, the course promotes students’ foundational knowledge in music history and stylistic listening skills. It is also designed to enhance student’s ability to critically think about music and communicate these thoughts.  The focus of course content may vary from year to year.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
  • demonstrate knowledge in various musical styles and illustrate a deeper understanding of conceptual ideas behind the musical practices;
  • appreciate the profound link between music and historical change and explain this link in terms of social function, musical style, and individual creativity;
  • think critically about musical practices, works, and ideas in their socio-cultural contexts and communicate these thoughts coherently.
Mid-term Test 25%
Final Test 25%
Final Paper 50%
  • the emergence of opera
  • music at court in the 17th century
  • the church as patron and aduience
  • Venice and the emergence of public music-making
  • the role of printing in musical life
  • England between Byrd and Purcell
  • Lutheran ritual and musical forms in German-speaking lands
  • keyboard virtuosos: Bach, Handel and Scarlatti
  • the oratorio
  • serious opera and the rise of the castrato
  • Hanning, Barbara Russano, and J. Peter Burkholder. Concise History of Western Music. Fifth ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2014. (required textbook for this course and MUSI2082)
  • Additional readings and listening/viewing materials are either available on Moodle or on reserve at the Music Library.