What is the course about?
Through study of scores and listening to recordings develop your understanding of the stylistic hallmarks of musical styles and periods in Western classical music. Learn the key features of Baroque, Classical, Romantic and 20th Century musical periods and develop confidence in differentiating between styles and key composers (which forms an important strand of the Grade 6+ theory exams).
This course will focus on vocal textures. Works studied in this course will include selected movements from:
Gombert – Lugebat David Absolon
Dowland – Flow my tears
Bach - Erbarme dich, mein Gott & chorale (O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden)
Vivaldi – Stabat Mater
Monteverdi – Lamento d'Arianna
Purcell – Dido’s lament
Mozart – Dove sono
Plus several settings of Mignons Gesang „Kennst du das Land?“ (Goethe).
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- Rhythmic and melodic characteristics from the different style periods
- Understanding musical textures and how they evolved over music history
- Understanding tonality and its context within different style periods: especially in terms of structure (eg. Sonata form)
- Background social and cultural context for changes and developments in musical styles
- Developments in instrumentation and the effect on other elements of music, e.g. dynamics, expression.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Identify the style period of a piece of music from key features in the score
- Identify the style period of a piece of music through aural analysis
- Have more confidence differentiating the different elements of music (rhythm, phrasing, tonality, dynamics, etc.)
- Have a broader understanding of instruments in historical contexts
- Have greater confidence with style identification questions in ABRSM theory and aural exams.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
Suitable for anyone with knowledge of music theory at Grade 5 standard or higher. You will need to be able to read music fluently (treble and bass clef) and have some confidence with the structure of major and minor scales and chords (e.g. do you know what is meant by chord I and chord V in G major?).
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
This is an online course:
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.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Please bring a pencil and eraser for annotating the scores provided by the tutor, and some manuscript paper.
Many scores will be sourced from IMSLP.org and links will be posted on google classroom. So you may work with your own laptop/tablet if you prefer or use the printed handouts in class.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
This course is an excellent introduction to score reading for anyone studying music theory at higher levels (Grade 5 and above. You may wish to progress to higher-level Music Theory classes, Studies in counterpoint, Composition Techniques etc. You may also be interested in City Lit's Music history courses, or one of our wide variety of practical courses in singing or playing an instrument.
For more details about musicianship and music theory please visit our blog: Musicianship and music theory at City lit which lists our full sequence of musicianship and music theory classes.