What is the course about?
Are you intimidated by contemporary classical music? Do you struggle to understand it or to conceive of why others might enjoy it? This course will introduce learners to some key classical works written in the 20th and 21st centuries, considering both how they function as an artwork and also the political and social context in which they were written. We will consider music by composers including Ligeti, Shostakovich, Reich, Górecki and more.
What will we cover?
- Some key movements in classical music in the 20th and 21st centuries
- Some important works written in this time period
- The links between music and key contemporary events
- Tips on how to listen to contemporary music
- Some technical changes in the way new music is composed.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Describe major movements in classical music during this period
- Explain key aspects of some major works
- Explain the context in which pieces were written and how they were affected by socio-political events
- Listen actively and with confidence to a range of new music making use of some technical terms.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is suitable for all levels. No prior knowledge of music is assumed.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will be taught using a range of techniques including short lectures, slide shows and discussions, practical demonstrations on the piano and guided listening sessions. Courses use a variety of materials including YouTube clips. Links to these are given on handouts so that further exploration may take place between classes if you wish. Occasional short preparation tasks, such as listening to a piece of music or reading about a person or style, may be set from time to time.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No. However, you may wish to buy some of the music or books recommended in class.
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.