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. Introduction to contemporary classical music
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 1 Nov 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Discover key works of contemporary classical music, considering how they function as artworks and also the political and social context in which they were written.



    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:
    100% of 100
  2. Topics in Ancient Greek music
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 11 Nov 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Explore the history of music before Gregorian chant and discover how historians reconstruct ancient Greek songs and instruments from surviving evidence.



    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 £109.00 Concession £66.00
  3. Christmas crooners
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 6 Dec 2021

    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 £29.00 Concession £18.00
  4. Introduction to electronic music
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 7 Dec 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    The course is an overview of the history of electronic music in the 20th and 21st centuries and the concepts, technology and aesthetic ideologies that underpin the developments that took place.



    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 £39.00 Concession £24.00
  5. Medieval Christmas Carols
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 8 Dec 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Discover the rich heritage of medieval Christmas carols. Learn about traditional forms of the carol and the history behind selected examples.



    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
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  6. Great works: Walton's Symphony No 1
    Course start date:  Thu 9 Dec 2021

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    Explore Walton's Symphony no 1 on this popular, short course.



    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £29.00 Concession £18.00
  7. Great works: Mozart's Clarinet Quintet
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 9 Dec 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Explore this much-loved work by Mozart and learn about the performer and the instrument it was originally written for.



    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 £39.00 Concession £24.00
  8. Music history book club
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 13 Dec 2021

    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 an important exploration of forgotten composers.



    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 £19.00 Concession £12.00
  9. Great works: The Nutcracker
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 13 Dec 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Reluctantly created by the hit duo of Tchaikovsky and Petipa in 1892, The Nutcracker has become a perennial Christmas favourite worldwide. Let’s explore the plot, characters, music and choreography; prepare to be enchanted!



    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. Great works: Saint-Saëns's Carnival of the animals
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 14 Dec 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Explore Saint-Saëns's Carnival of the animals, the comical musical microcosm of zoology.



    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
  11. Opera studies 1: passion, power and politics
    Last Few Places, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 20 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Inspired by the V&A exhibition of the same name in 2017, we explore opera in context by studying seven key premières and cities, ranging from the Italian Renaissance to 1930s Russia. This course has a scheduled break week: 25th October 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
  12. Monteverdi and the musical Baroque
    Course start date:  Tue 21 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    From Orfeo to the Vespers, Monteverdi injected into his music new expressive ideas helping to create the Baroque style. Spend the term delving into the life and work of this Baroque master born 450 years ago. No previous musical



    knowledge necessary. This course has a scheduled break week on 26 October 2021.



    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee £209.00 Senior fee £167.00 Concession £127.00
  13. Exploring classical music: module 1
    Last Few Places
    Course start date:  Tue 21 Sep 2021 (and 2 other dates)

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street (other locations are available)

    Do you want to know more about classical music? Explore selected topics and key works in Medieval to (early) Baroque music on this highly informative 10 week course. Ideal for people with no specialist knowledge. This course has a break week on 26th October 2021.



    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £103.00
    Rating:
    98% of 100
  14. The long 19th century I: Romantics, poets and virtuosos
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 21 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Discover the roots of Romanticism and its musical pioneers, from Beethoven and Schubert to Meyerbeer and Paganini, as we explore the rich interaction of poetry, art and composition in the early 1800s. This course has a scheduled break week: 26 October 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
    Rating:
    93% of 100
  15. Handel in Italy: cantatas, sacred music and opera
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 22 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Explore Handel’s ‘Grand Tour’ of Italy and learn about the works he composed during these formative years.



    Break week: 27 October 2021



    Tutor: Patrick Allies [external website].



    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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