City Lit Blog

Music history: your guide to our programme

Story added 16th Jun 2020

 

Music history: at City Lit

 

What is a music history course?

Music history courses are designed to help you explore new music and/or to find out more about the music you already enjoy. Here are some of the ways in which we do this:

  • Study the chronology of key musical works and trends, discussion of historical periods
  • Explore the biography of a composer or artist
  • Study of documents related to musical works: when was the manuscript finished? How is it described in theatre programmes and original advertisements…
  • Mapping the structure of musical works: how many movements does it have and why?
  • Situation of a work within a musical tradition: does it display characteristics similar to others written at a similar time and does it have any new, innovative qualities? Does it influence any other composers?
  • Analysis of performance conditions: who was this work written for, was there a specific performer in mind? Who performs it now and how does their interpretation differ?
  • Analysis of opera plots and characters
  • Guided listening: the tutor will help you to identify key moments as you listen to a recording or watch a video clip together

 

Do I need to be able to read music to study music history?

For most courses you don’t need to be able to read music, but we do hope you will be interested to look at some musical scores and identify a few key features from time-to-time. Occasionally we might look at facsimile scores (copies of an original manuscript). Usually when we look at scores we are seeking basic information rather than detailed analysis: how many instruments/singers are in this movement? Has the composer requested any specific performance directions?

  • Please note that we offer score-reading classes in our music theory section for those who can read music to a grade 5+ level.

 

Is there any homework?

We don’t set formal homework assignments but we do encourage study and listening between classes. Occasionally you may be asked to read a short article in preparation for a forthcoming class. Many tutors use online resources to share links, articles and pictures for further study.

 

Break weeks

Our ten-week courses have a scheduled break week. Please check the full course outline (by clicking on each title) for exact details as dates can vary between courses.

 

I am a complete beginner in classical music, what do you recommend?

We have courses specially designed to introduce you to classical music and to help you get a clear overview of the topic. The emphasis here is on understanding the timeline of key works, and helping you find ones you enjoy.

*if any of the links in this blog post say ‘page not found’ it means there is no instance of this course programmed into the website for the near future. Just contact the music office and we’ll let you know when the next course is expected to take place.

 

Online courses

All courses with an asterisk* in the list below are online courses:

  • Online sessions will be held via video-conference (Google Meets) and comprise combinations of lecture, discussion, quizzes, guided listening, video and score study
  • Course materials (handouts, scores, links to online videos) will be shared via Google Classroom
  • You will be encouraged to do extra reading outside class
  • You will need a good internet connection and a computer with microphone & webcam. If using a tablet it will need a screen large enough for you to comfortably view the class handouts

 

Short courses for Summer term (July – August)

 

Tuesday

Friday

 

Autumn term 2020 (Sept-Dec)

All courses with an asterisk* in the list below are online courses

Monday

 

Tuesday

 

Wednesday

 

Thursday

 

Friday

 

Winter term 2021 (Jan-Mar)

courses will be linked to our main main website as soon as they are available to book

Monday

  • MD026 Introduction to musicals, 11/01/2021, 5 sessions, 10:30, Pauline Greene
  • MD997 Opera studies 2: baritones and mezzos, 11/01/2021, 10 sessions, 13:20, Pauline Greene
  • MD624 Introduction to chamber music, 22/02/2021, 5 sessions, 10:30, Pauline Greene
  • *MD659 Queer music history & LGBT composers: an introduction, 22/02/2021, 6 sessions, 18:30, Ross Thomas

 

Tuesday

  • MD036B, Schubert: a brief history, 12/01/2021, 5 sessions, 11:00, Katy Hamilton
  • MD021B Exploring classical music: module 2, 12/01/2021, 10 sessions, 13:30, Karen Betley
  • MD023, Music for Elizabeth I, 12/01/2021, 10 sessions, 15:20, Karen Betley
  • MD662 Pop music: a brief history, 12/01/2021, 10 sessions, 18:20, Toby Manning
  • MD036D Rachmaninoff: a brief history, 23/02/2021, 5 sessions, 11:00, Katy Hamilton

 

Wednesday

  • MD612B, Listening to the 20th century: module 2, 13/01/2021, 10 sessions 10:30, Edward Henderson
  • MD816 Handel London operas 2, 13/01/2021, 10 sessions, 14:00, Edward Breen
  • * MD030B Exploring classical music: module 2, 13/01/2021, 10 sessions, 18:00 [Tutor TBC]

 

Thursday

  • MD604 Mozart and the piano concerto, 14/01/2021, 10 sessions, 10:30, Karen Betley
  • MD703B The long 19th century II: Salons and symphonies, 14/01/2021, 10 sessions, 14:00, Katy Hamilton

 

Friday

  • * MD651 A short history of jazz: Louis Armstrong to Miles Davis, 15/01/2021, 5 sessions, 15:30, Sara Dhillon
  • * MD658 Great Jazz composers, 26/02/2021, 5 sessions, 15:30, Sara Dhillon

 

Spring/Summer term 2021 (Apr-Jun)

courses will be linked to our main main website as soon as they are available to book

 

Monday

  • MD615B Music history book club: Music Ho, 12/04/2020, 1 session, 11.00, Edward Breen
  • MD506 Great string quartets, 19/04/2021, 10 sessions, 10:30, Pauline Greene
  • MD999 Opera studies 3: operas in production, 19/04/2021, 10 sessions, 13:20, Pauline Greene

 

Tuesday

  • MD036C Hungarian composers, 20/04/2021, 10 sessions, 10:50, Katy Hamilton
  • MD021C Exploring classical music: module 3, 20/04/2021, 10 sessions, 13:30, Karen Betley
  • MD024 Fin-de-siècle Vienna, 20/04/2021, 10 sessions, 15:20, Karen Betley
  • MD809 British folk music: a rough guide, 20/04/2021, 10 sessions, 18:20, Toby Manning

 

Wednesday

  • MD612 British music since 1900, 21/04/2021, 10 sessions, 10:30, Edward Henderson
  • MD610B A history of piano music 1860-1950, 21/04/2021, 10 sessions, 14:00, Maria Razumovskaya
  • * MD030C Exploring classical music: module 3, 21/04/2021, 10 sessions, 18:00, [Tutor TBC]

 

Thursday

  • MD041B Great works: Dvorák's Symphony No 8, 15/04/2021, 1 session, 14:00, Katy Hamilton
  • MD1002 Stravinsky in the 20th century, 22/04/2021, 10 sessions, 10:30, Karen Betley
  • MD703C The long 19th century III: national pride and new directions, 22/04/2021,10 sessions, 14:00, Katy Hamilton

 

Friday

  • MD622A The Beatles: a history through their music, 30/04/2021, 5 sessions, 15:45, David Harrison
  • MD622B Bob Dylan: an introduction to his music, 11/06/2021, 5 sessions, 15:45, David Harrison

 

Short summer courses 2021 (July-Aug)

courses will be linked to our main main website as soon as they are available to book

  • MD615C Music history book club: An Equal Music, 05/07/2020, 1 session, 11.00, Edward Breen