Music History Courses in London and Online

City Lit offers an extensive programme of music history courses with a focus on Western classical music, Folk, Jazz, Rock and Pop. There are new topics each year and some are designed to coincide with anniversaries, festivals and events. This year we celebrate 250 years since the birth of Beethoven.

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.

Many of our courses are delivered online. For more information about our live online courses, please see our guide to online learning.

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  1. Exploring classical music: module 1

    Exploring classical music: module 1

    Evening
    Course Date: Thu 1 Oct 2020 (and 2 other dates)
    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 (MD025B) which covers (later) Baroque to classical. Ideal for people with no specialist knowledge. NB: This course has no half-term break.

    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: £169.00
    Concession: £103.00

  2. Introduction to contemporary music

    Course Date: Mon 2 Nov 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Discover key works of contemporary classical music, considering both how they function as an artwork and also the political and social context in which they were written, by exploring the exciting variety of new sounds and forms being created.

    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

  3. Nine lessons and carols: a brief history

    Course Date: Wed 2 Dec 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    What is a Service of nine lessons and carols? Where did it begin and how has it become associated with the chapel and choir of King’s College, Cambridge? Explore the cultural and musical history of this service in our short online course.

    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

  4. Great works: Purcell's Dido and Aeneas

    Course Date: Thu 3 Dec 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Greek mythology, northern European witches, court masques and a boarding school in Chelsea… The story of Purcell’s masterpiece Dido and Aeneas has it all! We’ll investigate the theatrical and musical world of late seventeenth-century England and the curious tale of two lovers divided by fate and sorcery.

    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

  5. Great works: Tallis Fantasia

    Course Date: Thu 3 Dec 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Come and explore Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (also known as the Tallis Fantasia) by Ralph Vaughan Williams, one of the best-known works for string orchestra and previously voted a ‘top five’ work by radio station Classic FM.

    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

  6. Christmas crooners

    Course Date: Mon 7 Dec 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Sparkly jumpers, snow and tinsel, a stool, a mic, and a crooner: join me in exploring the singers, arrangers and repertoire of sentimental but strangely compelling festive schmaltz, just in time to join in ourselves.

    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

  7. Music history book club: The Fabulous Dead

    Course Date: Mon 7 Dec 2020
    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 is a new collection of short stories.

    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

  8. Pop music: a brief history

    Evening
    Course Date: Tue 12 Jan 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    Open up the history of pop music by exploring 20 key songs. This course has a scheduled break: 16th Feb 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: £209.00
    Concession: £127.00

  9. Exploring classical music: module 2

    Evening
    Course Date: Wed 13 Jan 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    Enrich your understanding of music history. This module explores Baroque to Classical and leads to MD030C – Romantic to Modern, next term. Ideal for people with no specialist knowledge. please note this evening course does not have a mid-term break.

    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: £169.00
    Concession: £103.00

  10. A short history of jazz: Louis Armstrong to Miles Davis

    Course Date: Fri 15 Jan 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    Trace the development of this influential music from its origins in New Orleans through to its remarkable, rapid evolution today, learning about the different styles of each era and key musical figures.

    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

  11. Queer music history & LGBT composers: an introduction

    Evening
    Course Date: Mon 22 Feb 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    An introduction to LGBT composers/music makers as well as an introduction to the development of queer musicology. Your tutor will guide you through a review of music throughout history from the standpoint of the LGBTQIA+ community. Covering composers who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, from classical to popular genres, medieval to present day.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £129.00
    Senior fee: £129.00
    Concession: £79.00

  12. Great Jazz composers

    Course Date: Fri 26 Feb 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    Explore five famous Jazz composers and learn to identify key features of their style. This short course will help you refresh and expand your listening.

    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

  13. British folk music: a rough guide

    Evening
    Course Date: Tue 20 Apr 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    Explore the recent history of British folk music and discuss some of the key performing artists on this overview course. This course has a scheduled break week: 8 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: £209.00
    Concession: £127.00

  14. Exploring classical music: module 3

    Evening
    Course Date: Wed 21 Apr 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    Enrich your understanding of music history. This module explores the music of the 19th century to the early 20th century. Ideal for people with no specialist knowledge. Please note this evening course runs without a mid-term break.

    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: £169.00
    Concession: £103.00

  15. Opera studies 1: Verdi in focus

    Course Date: Mon 14 Sep 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Epitomising the public mood, Verdi created operatic hit after hit, working with a selection of tolerant librettists, until his post-retirement blaze of glory. We focus on Nabucco, Rigoletto and Falstaff. This course has a scheduled break week: 26 October 2020.

    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

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