History of Music Year Two

Unit of Study - History of Music 201

The following applies to Year Two Bachelor of Music students.

Unit Outline

Unit NameHISTORY OF MUSIC 201: Classical and Romantic
Unit CodeHISTMU201
Unit DescriptionThis unit examines the development of music from ca. 1750 to 1900 AD. Students will develop an understanding of the life and compositions of various composers, the distinctive forms, compositional techniques and performance practice conventions of each of these periods, focussing on the development of the string quartet, the orchestra, opera, sonata allegro form, and the changes that occurred in music from the classical to romantic styles as well as to understand the social, political and religious contexts of the periods. Students will demonstrate their knowledge through quizzes, listening tasks and a scholarly essay. Small-group discussions will form a part of each lecture. Weekly readings and listening will be assigned through the Learning Management System (Moodle).
Award(s)Bachelor of Music
Unit Duration1 Semester (12 weeks)
LevelYear Two, Semester 1
Unit CoordinatorDr Houston Dunleavy
Teaching StaffDr Houston Dunleavy
Pre/Co-requisitesSuccessful completion of HISTMU101
Credit Points10 credit points
Total Course Credit Points300 credit points
Mode of Deliveryx Face to face
x E-learning (online)
o Intensive/block mode (where the unit or a face to face component is delivered in a block)
x Distance/independent learning (un-timetabled)
x Full-time
x Part-time
o External
o Fast track
Student Workload
Delivery/ Contact Hours
No. timetabled hours per week:
• One 2-hour lecture
• Tutorial - n/a
• Preparatory reading/listening, study time - 6 hours
Total hours per week - 8 hours
Resource Requirements• Computing resource requirements
• External Technical Help
Resources Provided• Online streaming video and additional referencing videos
• Library resources (see prescribed or recommended texts below)
(e-readings list, listening list).

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this History of Music 201 unit, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the cultural, social and technological changes, in the Classical and Romantic periods.
  2. Display knowledge of the fundamental musical developments through the Classical and Romantic periods.
  3. Demonstrate a grasp of the techniques, forms and performance styles of music of the period c. 1750 – 1900.
  4. Critically analyse musical works from relevant musical composers, identifying stylistic attributes that discern works of certain periods, and contextualise these works within the broader scope of music history
  5. Present a scholarly essay that displays critical thinking, appropriate tertiary-level use of language and grammar, and a comprehensive applied understanding of the nominated citation system (APA author-date style: Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed).

Teaching Outline

Year 2
• Week 1
The pre-classical era; Sturm und Drang; Style gallant; the basic tenets of classical music; the importance of the orchestra and the piano; patronage; opera.

Composers: C.P.E. Bach, Gluck, Clementi. J.C. Bach.

• Week 2
What is Classicism? The Classical Style; sonata allegro form; Da capo aria and the changes in opera; The Enlightenment and the triumph of rationalism.

Composers: Hummel, Haydn, Mozart, Billings.

• Week 3
Opera; the Symphony; The Manheim School; the string quartet; revolution in France and America – the gradual change of authority and patronage; the concerto.

Composers: Haydn (again); Mozart; Pleyel; Salieri; C. Stamitz.

• Week 4
More symphony; the string quartet; the oratorio; the pianoforte and fortepiano; opera again; The beginnings of romanticism; the beginnings of the virtuoso culture;

Composers: Haydn (again!); Beethoven; Spohr; Hummel; Rossini; Schubert; Paganini.

• Week 5 What is romanticism? Difference by country; the triumph of the anti-rational; the rise of the piano; technological change across society; the cult of the virtuoso; the concerto;

Composers: Weber, Schubert, Beethoven; Chopin; Mendelssohn (Felix AND Fanny); Glinka; Liszt.

• Week 6 Sonata form (continued); the triumph of melody; the symphonic poem; programmatic music; the supernatural; politics and censorship; opera; larger forms.

Composers, Berlioz, Schumann (Robert AND Clare); Liszt (again); Bruckner; Bizet.

• Week 7 Song cycles; The Russians; Wagner and opera; the beginnings of nationalism; Bigger orchestras and concertos; the string quartet.

Composers: Wagner; Rimsky-Korsakov, Smetana, Borodin; Tchaikovsky; Fauré.

• Week 8 Melody over form; Technology and the industrial age; the concerto; Form strikes back; nationalism becomes integral; opera and song; more symphonic poem.

Composers: Elgar, Sibelius, Mahler, Schoenberg; R. Strauss, Bizet; Beach; Rachmaninov; Brahms; Verdi.

Elective work
Students will be able to access one of the groups of lectures that address the essay topics below. Each group will have four (4) pre-recorded lectures that address the specific questions in the essay.

1. The String Quartet:
During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the string quartet became an important chamber music ensemble for composers. This module explores the origins of the ensemble, and the evidence for the contention that it was somewhat of a “laboratory” for composers to try out new ideas.

2. Opera:
Throughout the late 18th and all of the 19th century, opera underwent a shift in its style and meaning that took it a long way from the “gentleman’s entertainment” that it had been during the Baroque. This module looks at the operas of Mozart, Weber, Meyerbeer, Rossini, Wagner, Verdi, Strauss and Debussy.

3. The Romantic ideal.:
This module discusses the basic tenets of 19th century romanticism in various European countries? How did these traits manifest themselves in the works of three of these composers? Weber, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, R. Strauss. Refer your comments to works presented in the lectures.

Student Assessment

Assessment Type When Assessed Weighting
Learning Outcomes Assessed
Assessment 1

Quiz number 1 – Classical music
The quiz will cover technical terms, historical data and a listening component drawn from the lecture content of weeks 1-3 and from the relevant listening list, which will be available on Moodle.

The quiz consists of 10 short-answer questions on technical terms and includes a listening component (maximum 50 words per question). In the listening tasks students will be asked to identify the title, composer and date of the piece and answer a specific question on each listening example.
(Equivalent to a maximum of 600 words).
Quizzes will be posted online and must be completed and submitted on the due date within 24 hours of the posting.

Week 420%1, 2, 3
Assessment 2
Quiz number 2 – Romantic music
The quiz will cover technical terms, historical data and a listening component drawn from the lecture content of weeks 4-8 and from the relevant listening list, which will be available on Moodle.

The quiz consists of 10 short-answer questions and includes a listening component (maximum 75 words per question) In the listening component, students will be asked to identify the title, composers and date of the piece and answer a work-specific question on each listening example.
(Equivalent to maximum of 600 words).
Quizzes will be posted online and must be completed and submitted on the due date within 24 hours of the posting.

Week 820%1, 2, 3
Assessment 3 Essay
Type: Research Essay
Word Length: 1800

An essay written on one of the topics listed below, drawn from one of the elective topics presented in weeks 9-12. The essay must answer the question posed and could demonstrate the developments, causes, impacts and outcomes of the subject under discussion. Students must consult the following sources, and acknowledge these sources in the AGME citation style.
• At least THREE scholarly monographs
• At least THREE chapters from an edited book
• At least TWO articles from a scholarly journal
• At least TWO scores and TWO recordings

Topic 1.
Why did the string quartet become such a common chamber ensemble for composers to write for after Haydn first “invented” the form? Be sure to analyse and discuss musical examples of works by different composers.

Topic 2.
What are the structural differences and formal procedures of the classical opera? How did Mozart change some of these forms?

Topic 3.
What are the main pre-conceptions of Romanticism? How is this shown across multiple artistic disciplines? Discuss the work in the essay of leading theorists and artistic philosophers of the time.

Week 1260%3, 4, 5


All essays are to be cited in APA author-date style (Chicago 17th ed.)


A good summary can be found here:


Prescribed Library Resources

The following are available through Moodle:

1. A subscription to Oxford Music Online and to Grove Music Online which includes:

  • The Grove Dictionary of American Music (2nd ed.).
  • The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (2nd ed.).
  • The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2nd ed.).
  • The New Grove Dictionary of Opera.
  • The Oxford Companion to Music.
  • The Oxford Dictionary of Music (2nd ed.).

Plus updated content bibliographies, specially-commissioned articles only available online.

2. A subscription to JSTOR journals and books.


Recommended Reading List

Burkholder, J. Peter. 2014. The Norton Anthology of Western Music. New York: W. W. Norton and Company.

Dahlhaus, Carl. 1989. Nineteenth-Century Music. Oakland, Ca.: University of California Press.

Downs, Philip. 1992. Classical Music: The Era of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. New York: W. W. Norton and Company.

Kerman, Vivian, and Kerman, Joseph. 2016. Listen. New York: W. W. Norton and Company.

Plantinga, Leon. 1984. Romantic Music: A History of Musical Style in Nineteenth-Century Europe. New York: W. W. Norton and Company.

Rosen, Charles. 1997. The Classical Style (expanded ed.). New York: W. W. Norton and Company.

Rosen, Charles. 1988 (rev. ed.) Sonata Forms. New York: W. W. Norton and Company.

Samson, Jim. (ed.) 2002. The Cambridge History of Nineteenth-Century Music. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.


Reference Materials

Sonata Form:










String Quartet:


The orchestra:




Stürm und Drang:












The Norton Anthologies

 Course Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should be able to demonstrate:
Unit Learning OutcomesAssessments
1A broad knowledge of the applied, theoretical and historical basis of the discipline1, 2, 3, 41, 2, 3, 4
2A depth of disciplinary knowledge in a professionally applicable specialisation3, 4, 51, 4
3An understanding of the processes of musical scholarship and research1, 2, 3, 4, 51, 2, 3, 4
4The ability to work both independently and collaboratively in diverse and complex musical settings3, 4, 51, 2, 3, 4
5Effective written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills3, 4, 51, 2, 3, 4
6Critical thinking and analytical skills appropriate to a range of contexts including further study4, 51, 2, 3, 4
7The ability to apply specific musical skills to a wide range of professional contexts3, 4, 51, 2, 3, 4
8The capacity to apply technological and creative solutions to contemporary musical practices
9The ability to incorporate knowledge from the business and legal fields to a portfolio career in the music profession

 Graduate Attribute
Successful completion of this unit will contribute to the attainment of the following graduate attributes:
Unit Learning OutcomesCourse Learning OutcomesAssessments
1Deep disciplinary knowledge1, 2, 3, 41, 2, 3, 4, 71, 2, 3, 4
2The ability to apply knowledge and skills in innovative ways3, 4, 54, 5, 6, 72, 3, 4
3A commitment to lifelong learning1, 2, 3, 4, 51, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 72, 3, 4
4Effective communication skills for diverse contexts1, 2, 3, 4, 53, 5, 6, 71, 2, 3, 4
5The capacity to work independently and collaboratively3, 4, 53, 4, 5, 6, 71, 2, 3, 4