Bachelor of Music - History of Music Year 1 Unit Outline

Unit of Study - History of Music


The following applies to Year One Bachelor of Music students.

Unit Outlines

Unit Name

HISTORY OF MUSIC 1: Medieval to Baroque

Unit Code


Unit Description In this unit students will:
  • Study the development of music through Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods
  • Consider historical, societal, political, religious and cultural events and changes that impacted music development
  • Observe and discuss verbally and written historical trends in the development music that have impacted the development of popular music
  • Analyse literature verbally and review authors’ intention and methodology
  • Research peer reviewed literature and relevant material for a chosen topic
  • Synthesise a research paper on a topic of own choice from subjects explored in lectures
Award(s) Bachelor of Music
Unit Duration 1 Semester (12 weeks)
Year Level One, Semester 1
Unit Coordinator (Interim) Caleb Garfinkel.  Position to be recruited.
Teaching Staff Leonie Wobking
Core/Elective Core
Pre/Co-requisites Nil
Credit Points 10 credit points

Mode of Delivery

x Face to face
x E-learning (online)
o Ontensive/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
x Fast track

Student Workload
Delivery/ Contact Hours

No. timetabled hours per week
  • Lecture Theory 2 hour
  • Practical Session - n/a
  • Tutorial - n/a
  • Personal Independent Study - 7 hour
Total hours per week - 9 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)


Unit Aims

History of Music 1 aims to develop a strong knowledge of music development, significant events, composers and written works, through history, social and cultural issues that influenced music and innovations throughout the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods. Students will develop an awareness of the development of music from the beginnings of the historical creation and development of scales, modes, harmony, counterpoint, notation and varying styles that are influences in today’s music, observing the major historical events that impacted the development of popular music. Students will develop research skills, through literature reviews and class discussions and utilise skills to synthesise a major research essay.


Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Demonstrate awareness of cultural, social and technological changes, including religious, political and philosophical influences that shaped and developed early music trends prior to 1900, from the Medieval through Baroque periods.
  2. Display knowledge of the fundamental musical developments through the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods that contributed to the development of modern music, from theory, composition and development considerations.
  3. Develop research skills through undertaking literature reviews and a dissertation on the influence of historical periods on musical works, composers, and instrument development through the pre-1900s musical periods.
  4. Critically analyse musical works from relevant musical composers, identifying stylistic attributes that discern works of certain periods, and attribute their influence to the development of music.
  5. Formulate opinions and observations based on critical reading and research and engage in class discussions.


Teaching Outline

Year 1

  • Gregorian chant.
  • Plainchant into Organum into Polyphony.
  • Sacred and secular music.
  • Vocal music opposed to instrumental music.
  • Music from Medieval and Renaissance period.
Composers of the period:
  • Hildegard von Bingen
  • Phillip de Vitry
  • Guillaume de Machaut
  • Francesco Landini
  • John Dunstable
  • High Renaissance period with particular reference to musical instruments. 
  • Madrigal and ensemble and keyboard music during the late Renaissance.
  • Chronological history of notation and nomenclature. 
  • Modes and their use in both the past and the present. 
  • The meaning of counterpoint and its significance in music. 
Composers of the period:
  • Guillaume Dufay;
  • Johannes Ockeghem;
  • Josquin Desprez;
  • Orlando de Lassus;
  • William Byrd;
  • Orlando Gibbons.   
Pre-Baroque Period
  • Oratorio and its emergence across Europe.
  • Composers of Opera in Europe. 
  • Music in the lead up to the Baroque period. 
  • Early development of the Concerto. 
  • The Chorale Prelude and Cantata beginning in the pre-baroque period. 
Composers of the period: 
  • Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina;
  • Claudio Monteverdi;
  • Jean Baptiste Lully;
  • Henry Purcell;
  • Alessandro Scarlatti.
Baroque Period
  • The Growth of Oratorio during the Baroque period
  • Contrast the works of Bach and Handel
  • The organ during the Baroque period
  • The Growth of Oratorio during the Baroque period.
  • Contrast the works of Bach and Handel.
  • The organ during the Baroque period.
  • The Baroque orchestra and examples of various works.
  • Various musical forms prominent in the late Baroque period.
Composers of the period: 
  • Arcangelo Corelli;
  • Antonio Vivaldi;
  • George Philipp Telemann;
  • Johann Sebastian Bach;
  • George Frederick Handel.


Prescribed and recommended readings:

Library Resources
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.

A subscription to JSTOR Journals and books
A subscription to video tutorials

Recommended Reading List
Coles, W. (1997). The Form of Music. London: Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.
Crocker, R.L. (1986). A History of Musical Style. New York: Dover Publications.
Gammond, P. (1995). The Encyclopaedia of Classical Music: An Essential Guide to the World's Finest Music. Salamander Books.
Grout, D.J. & Palisca, C.V. (1996). A History of Western Music. 5th ed. New York: WW Norton & Company, Inc.
Kamien, R. & Kamien, A. (1988). Music: An Appreciation. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Menuhin, Y. & Davis, C.W. (1979). The Music of Man. Toronto: Methuen.
Scholes, P.A. & Ward, J.O. (1970). The Oxford Companion to Music. Vol. 9. London: Oxford University Press.
Schonberg, H.C. (1997). The Lives of the Great Composers. New York: WW Norton & Company.

Reference Materials
Levy, K., et al. Plainchant. Oxford University Press. Web. 22 Sep. 2014.
Lockwood, L.. Renaissance. Oxford University Press. Web. 22 Sep. 2014.
Marini, S.. Sacred music. Oxford University Press. Web. 22 Sep. 2014. .
Mill, R. et al. Orchestral music. Oxford University Press. Web. 22 Sep. 2014.
O’Meara, C.P. Place. Oxford University Press. Web. 22 Sep. 2014.
Smith, J., et al. Choral music. Oxford University Press. Web. 22 Sep. 2014.
Spitzer, J., and Zaslaw, N. Orchestra. Oxford University Press. Web. 22 Sep. 2014.


Student assessment 

Assessment Type

When assessed

(% of total unit marks)

Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1: Weekly Engagement
Length: Min 500 words over unit
Participate in weekly forum discussions online/in lectures.

Week 1 - ongoing


1, 2, 4, 5

Assessment 2: Literature Review
Length: 500 words min.

Write a literature review analysing a given article, as assigned in class.

Week 4


1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Assessment 3: Literature Review
Length: 500 words min.

Write a literature review analysing a given article, as assigned in class.

Week 8


1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Assessment 4: Major Essay
Type: Essay
Length: 2000 words

Produce an essay demonstrating the developments, causes, impacts and outcomes of one of the major developments in music studied this semester. Base your research on a notable composer and works from that period, and comment on its’ influence. Suggested topics:
  • Medieval sacred music
  • Rise of Medieval secular music
  • Developments through Renaissance period
  • Contribution of Baroque to Western music and society.

Week 12


1, 2, 3, 4



Course Outcomes


Course Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should be able to:

Unit Learning Outcomes


1 A broad knowledge of the applied, theoretical and historical  basis of the discipline

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

1, 2, 3, 4

2 A depth of disciplinary knowledge in a professionally applicable specialisation

3, 4, 5

1, 4

3 An understanding of the processes of musical scholarship and research

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

1, 2, 3, 4

4 The ability to work both independently and collaboratively in diverse and complex musical settings

3, 4, 5

1, 2, 3, 4

5 Effective written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills

3, 4, 5

1, 2, 3, 4

6 Critical thinking and analytical skills appropriate  to a range of contexts including further study 3, 4, 5 1, 2, 3, 4
7 The ability to apply specific musical skills to a wide range of professional contexts 3, 4, 5 1, 2, 3, 4
8 The capacity to apply technological and creative solutions to contemporary musical practices    
9 The ability to incorporate knowledge from the business and legal fields to a portfolio career in the music profession.




Graduate Attributes


Graduate Attribute

Successful completion of this unit will contribute to the attainment of the following graduate attributes:

Unit Learning Outcomes

Course Learning Outcomes


1 Deep disciplinary knowledge 1, 2, 3, 4 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 1, 2, 3, 4
2 The ability to apply knowledge and skills in innovative ways 3, 4, 5 4, 5, 6, 7 2, 3, 4
3 A commitment to lifelong learning 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 2, 3, 4
4 Effective communication skills for diverse contexts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 3, 5, 6, 7 1, 2, 3, 4
5 The capacity to work independently and collaboratively 3, 4, 5 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 1, 2, 3, 4