Music history

Music History Courses in London and Online

City Lit offers an extensive programme of online music history and music appreciation courses with a focus on Western classical music, Folk, Jazz, Rock and Pop. There are new topics each year across a growing range of music styles and traditions.

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 our 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.

Our staff are all professional musicians who teach, write, broadcast, lecture and perform widely. In recent years they have worked with BBC Radio 3, Gramophone magazine, Birkbeck (University of London), The Open University, Oxford and Cambridge University Press, Early Music, The Orchestra of the age of Enlightenment, The Wigmore Hall and the Aldeburgh Festival.

Many of our students learn for pleasure but some also come to enhance their careers: recent examples include board members of music charities, marketing and administration professionals from orchestras and gap-year students considering university entrance.

Feel free to browse our programme and do email us at music@citylit.ac.uk with any questions.

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  1. Stravinsky in the 20th century
    Course Date: Thu 22 Apr 2021

    Location on this date: Online

    From The Rite of Spring to Oedipus Rex Stravinsky challenged audiences and the musical establishment alike for most of the 20th century. In this anniversary year come and explore the music of that musical chameleon Stravinsky! Scheduled break week: 3rd June 2021.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £209.00 Senior fee £167.00 Concession £127.00
  2. Exploring classical music: module 2
    Course Date: Thu 22 Apr 2021

    Location on this date: Online

    Enrich your understanding of music history. This module explores Baroque to Classical and leads to MD020C – Romantic to Modern, next term. Ideal for people with no specialist knowledge. please note has a scheduled mid-term break: 03 June 2021.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £103.00
    Rating:
    93% of 100
  3. Exploring classical music: module 1
    Course Date: Fri 23 Apr 2021

    Location on this date: Online

    Enrich your understanding of music history. This module explores selected topics in Medieval to (early) Baroque music, and leads on to next term's course (MD654B) which covers (later) Baroque to classical. Ideal for people with no specialist knowledge. Scheduled break week: 4th June 2021.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £103.00
    Rating:
    98% of 100
  4. Robert Schumann in focus
    Course Date: Tue 27 Apr 2021

    Location on this date: Online

    We follow the turbulent career of failed pianist and idiosyncratic composer, Robert Schumann – from his early piano and vocal compositions to later orchestral and chamber works, and even a full-scale opera. *please note the new, later start-date of this course. This course now has no scheduled break week.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £209.00 Senior fee £167.00 Concession £127.00
  5. The long 19th century III: national pride and new directions
    Course Date: Thu 29 Apr 2021

    Location on this date: Online

    In this last part of the course, we turn to the nationalists of Germany, Russia, Italy, Scandinavia and Spain, and the importance of folk music. And, as the century ends, we come to those composers seeking to break the boundaries of tonality itself. *please note the new, later start-date of this course. This course now has no scheduled break week.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £209.00 Senior fee £167.00 Concession £127.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  6. The Beatles: a history through their music
    Course Date: Fri 30 Apr 2021

    Location on this date: Online

    The Beatles are the most culturally significant and popular pop band in history. Through analysis of their music and a history of the 1960s we will see how four lads from Liverpool came to define the sound of a decade.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £109.00 Senior fee £87.00 Concession £66.00
    Rating:
    93% of 100
  7. Bob Dylan: an introduction to his music
    Course Date: Fri 11 Jun 2021

    Location on this date: Online

    Explore the impact that Bob Dylan has had on popular music with a special focus on the 1960s. Through analysis of his songs and a history of the 1960s we will see how his influence extends beyond the American folk music revival.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £109.00 Senior fee £87.00 Concession £66.00
    Rating:
    90% of 100
  8. Dido and Aeneas: from Virgil to Purcell
    Course Date: Wed 23 Jun 2021

    Location on this date: Online

    Explore Purcell’s ever-popular opera from Virgil’s original tale to Nahum Tate’s English libretto, and discover key features of Purcell’s musical language.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £29.00 Concession £18.00
  9. Agrippina: from Roman history to Handel opera
    Course Date: Thu 24 Jun 2021

    Location on this date: Online

    Explore Handel’s first major operatic success – Agrippina – and the historical background to this legendary operatic figure.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £29.00 Concession £18.00
  10. Music history book club
    Course Date: Mon 5 Jul 2021 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date: Online

    The music history book club meets towards the end of each term to discuss novels and biographies with musical themes and references relevant to the music history programme. This term’s book: An Equal Music (Vikram Seth).

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £15.00 Concession £12.00
  11. Great works: Vivaldi's Four Seasons
    Course Date: Thu 8 Jul 2021

    Location on this date: Online

    Explore Vivaldi’s most famous concertos and discover the stories behind these works whilst learning to recognize key features of the baroque style.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £39.00 Senior fee £31.00 Concession £24.00
  12. A brief history of improvisation in classical music
    Evening
    Course Date: Thu 8 Jul 2021

    Location on this date: Online

    This course explores the practice of improvisation in classical music, spanning the Baroque period to contemporary music. You'll explore music of composers including Bach, Mozaty, Liszt and Clara Schumann and discover how improvisation features in contemporary classical music-making.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £79.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £48.00
  13. Great artists: Pauline Viardot
    Course Date: Mon 12 Jul 2021

    Location on this date: Online

    Celebrated mezzo-soprano Pauline Viardot was born in 1821 into a singing dynasty. Many composers wrote for her. She composed herself, becoming central to music in France, and leaving a remarkable and enduring legacy.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £23.00 Concession £18.00
  14. Introduction to the music of Igor Stravinsky
    Course Date: Wed 14 Jul 2021

    Location on this date: Online

    Get to know Stravinsky’s music through a course that explores his life, the times he lived in and the aesthetic movements he was part of.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £79.00 Senior fee £63.00 Concession £48.00
  15. Great works: Stravinsky's Apollo
    Course Date: Fri 16 Jul 2021

    Location on this date: Online

    Stravinsky’s music was choreographed first by Adolph Bolm, and then by the 24-year-old George Balanchine, in 1928. We explore the music, the dance, and the originality of the work’s neoclassical inspiration.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £39.00 Senior fee £31.00 Concession £24.00

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