Bachelor of Music - History of Music Year 2 Unit Outline

Unit of Study - History of Music

The following applies to Year Two Bachelor of Music students.

Unit Outlines

Unit Name


Unit Code


Unit Duration

Year long unit over 4 terms

Year Level



An overview of periods from 1750 to 20th Century

Module Code


Year Coordinator

Leonie Wobking

Unit Coordinator

Dr Kerwyn Alley

Teaching Staff

Lecturer:  Leonie Wobking    
Sessionals: Greta Grybaitis, Mary Ann Mangion-Needham, Dr Knoop, Robert Styles




Year One

Credit Points

2 per term; 8 per year
Course total = 24

Mode of Delivery

x Face to face
x Online
x Distance/independent learning (un-timetabled)
x Full-time
x Part-time
x External

Delivery/ Contact Hours

Lecture 1 hour
Tutorial n/a
Personal Study recommended - 2 hours


Bachelor of Music

Resource Requirements

  • Software
  • Computing resource requirements
  • Technical Help

Unit Aims

This unit aims to develop a comprehensive knowledge of the Classical era, including the development of the orchestra, opera, symphony, and composers of the period.  Students will develop an understanding and knowledge of the life and compositions written by the various composers that influenced the Classical era, including the orchestral development and climax of the Romantic period to the shift in music in the early 20th Century.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of developments through the musical periods of the Classical and Romantic, and transition to the 20th Century, and display awareness of orchestral developments, aesthetics in music and various composers who influenced these eras.
  2. Compare and analyse music as a true art form through historical developments and communicate effectively in written format.
  3. Research and synthesis literature when comparing composers and written works. 

Teaching Outline

Year 2

Term One

The orchestra within the early Classical period.
The symphony at the hands of Haydn. 
Mozart seen as a tragic figure in music. 
Opera in the classical period.
Composers from the early Classical period, discussion of their life and works:

  • Christoph Willibald Gluck;
  • Franz Joseph Haydn;
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Term Two

Early years and works of Beethoven
Beethoven brought about the onset of the Romantic Period 
‘Aesthetics’ and its meaning both generally and in terms of music. 
Characteristics of Schubert’s music during the classical period. 
Composers from the period, discussion of their life and works:

  • Ludwig Van Beethoven;
  • Franz Peter Schubert. 

Term Three

Romanticism in terms of art and social change as well as music.
Works of Johannes Brahms. 
Musical dramas of Richard Wagner (1813-1883). 
Operatic masters of the Romantic Era. 
Composers from the period, discussion of their life and works.

  • Johann Brahms;
  • Frederic Chopin;
  • Richard Wagner;
  • Felix Mendelssohn;
  • Franz Liszt. 

Term Four

Ways in which the orchestra was enlarged during the Romantic period. 
Changes in the use and emphasis of elements of music from the late Romantic period into the early 20th century. 
Analyse the classical symphony with the symphonic works of the romantic composers.
Composers from the period, discussion of their life and works

  • Giuseppe Verdi;
  • Cesar Franck;
  • Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky;
  • Giocomo Puccini;
  • Gustav Mahler. 


Prescribed and recommended readings:

Required textbook(s)
Online textbooks and guidelines (Moodle)

  • AGME – History of music lecture book
  • AGME – Additional reference books
  • Additional lecture notes uploaded to MOODLE when required
  • Oxford Music Online, a subscription to Grove Music Online includes The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians 2/e, The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, the new Grove Dictionary of Jazz 2/e, The Oxford Companion to Music and The Oxford Dictionary of Music 2/e, plus updated content bibliographies, specially-commissioned articles only available online, and new and revised entries from the forthcoming The Grove Dictionary of American Music.
  • JSTOR Journals and book subscriptions

Reference Materials
Online video is available to assist students with further study and appreciation of historical periods in music. Students can request videos on DVD’s which are given/posted to students in groups, upon completion of viewing students are required to return DVD’s and then they will be supplied the next group of DVD’s.

  • Classical Destinations
  • The Music of Man
  • Leaving Home
  • Great Composers - Bach, Handel, Beethoven, Wagner etc.

Reading List

  • The Music of Man – Yehudi Menuhin and Curtis W. Davis
  • Leaving Home (A conducted tour of twentieth – century music with Simon Rattle ) – Michael Hall
  • The Encyclopaedia of Classical Music – Peter Gammond
  • History of Western Music.  Grout.
  • A History of Musical Style.  Richard Crocker.
  • The Lives of the Great Composers.  Harold Schonberg.
  • The Form of Music.  William Coles.
  • Oxford Companion to Music.  P. Scholes
  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music History by Michael Miller
  • Twentieth-century Music by Robert P. Morgan

Denise Von Glahn and Michael Broyles. "Art music." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 22 Sep. 2014. <>.
John Strawn and Alan Shockley. "Computers and music." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 22 Sep. 2014. <>.

Peter Manning, et al. "Computers and music." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 22 Sep. 2014. <>.

Kyle Devine. "Electronic instruments." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 22 Sep. 2014. <>.

Richard Orton and Hugh Davies. "Theremin." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 22 Sep. 2014. <>.

Student assessment

Assessment Type

When assessed

(% of total unit marks)

Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1
Type: Assignment
Word length: 2500
Topic: Classical Period
Present a comprehensive essay discussing the following scenarios. 
Scenario 1
Explanation of Haydn’s use of instrumentation, and form in the Classical Symphony, include why Haydn is considered the master of this style.
Scenario 2
Evaluation on differences of Mozart and one other prominent composer from the classical period, and the development of opera and how these differences effected compositional changes and development realised in music today.

Term 1
Week 9


1, 2, 3

Assessment 2
Type: Assignment
Word length: 2500
Topic: Transition of Classical Period to Romantic Period
Students are to research and present a comprehensive essay communicating how Beethoven initiated the move from Classical structures to aesthetics used in the Romantic period.  Confer the inclusion of colour, tone, texture, and form as realised in the Romantic Period.  Provide an analysis of one example of Schubert’s Romantic music which demonstrates your findings. 

Term 2
Week 9


1, 2, 3

Assessment 3
Type: Assignment
Word length: 2500
Topic: Romantic Period
Students are to research and evaluate the Romantic period.  Write an extensive essay on Romanticism of two composers incorporating and expanding on their most influential development as listed below.  

  • Johann Brahms; New approaches to harmony and melody and symphony
  • Frederic Chopin; Piano works
  • Richard Wagner; Romantic drama/opera
  •     Felix Mendelssohn; Tone poem
  •     Franz Liszt. Creative experimentation in expanding symphonies.

Term 3
Week 9


1, 2, 3

Assessment 4
Type: Assignment
Word length: 2500
Topic: Transition of Romantic Period to 20th century
Research and present a comprehensive essay on how the orchestra was enlarged to today’s orchestra. Discuss the resulting “shift in music” and the affect that this had on audiences. Include the following:

  • Mahler’s (1860-1911) transformation of the classical symphony.
  • Analysis of Tchaikovsky’s use of instruments in formation and extension of the orchestra, chromatic harmonies, and how his music impacted society with his shift of focus for one of his symphonies.
  • Compare and contrast the use of orchestra by Verdi and Puccini to the traditional classical style.

Term 4
Week 9


1, 2, 3


Graduate Attributes

Successfully completing this unit will contribute to the recognition of attainment of the following graduate attributes.

A. Research, critical thinking and inquiry

Learning Outcomes

A1. adjust knowledge to new circumstances to problem solve creatively and with imagination in public performance/professional practice


A2. research, analyse, evaluate, think critically, organize evidence clearly and logically in a range of circumstances, including written work, performance and professional practice


B. Knowledge and Skills


B1. knowledge of music technologies required in performance/professional practice


B2. advanced knowledge of music theory, aural, and performance/professional practice in either solo or group settings


C. Communication


C1. communicate effectively to a variety of audiences using oral,  written, audio and visual applications to extend learning, (including while directing ensemble groups, instrumental tutoring,  and other professional practice), and utilising  assessment, negotiation and understanding


C2. ability to contribute to teams and resolve conflicts whilst supervising group tasks, performing or other professional practice


D. Independent Learning


D1. independent learning in a self-directed manner while being able to reflect on and evaluate work practices and performance to achieve goals


E. Creative and Professional Understanding


E1. demonstrate professional understanding and respect for standards of current music knowledge, pedagogy, performance/professional practice.

1, 2, 3

E2. open to innovative concepts, procedures and philosophies in performance/professional practice and application of creativity.

1, 2, 3