What is the course about?
This course will focus on the carols written for the Christian celebration of Christmas and its associated feasts: Advent and Epiphany. We may also consider a few carols from the feast of the Annuciation, which in medieval times were traditionally sung at Christmas. Many of the carol tunes will be known from modern, regularised versions but they will be studied here in their older forms.
What will we cover?
- What is a carol
- various forms of carols
- What makes a Carol a ‘Christmas Carol’
- Technical language of carols: burden, refrain etc…
- Examples of Christmas carols in manuscript and performance.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- recognise key forms of Christmas carols (including ‘traditional’ examples)
- feel confident using some technical language to describe carols
- read lyrics and recognise several common themes.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is suitable for absolute beginners. However, we will look at some music manuscripts and learn to identify key features of music notation (how many voices are singing, etc…) so this course will be most suitable for those who are curious and ambitious to learn.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The single session will comprise combinations of lecture, question-and-answer, guided listening, video and manuscript study. You may wish to do extra reading after this class and suggestions will be made for this.
There will also be Spotify and Youtube playlists for this course if you wish to do extra listening.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You will need to bring a pen/pencil and a folder to keep your notes and handouts organised. You may also wish to purchase some of the music books or recordings discussed in class, links to these materials will be available online after the session.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
To find out more about music history classes and to read our year-long selection of courses, please see the blog post Music history: your guide to the 2019/20 programme which lists our full programme of classes ordered by term, and by day of the week. You may then click on each title to read the full course outline.