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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. Introduction to electronic music

    Evening
    Course Date: Wed 2 Dec 2020
    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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Introduction to musicals

    Course Date: Mon 11 Jan 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    From Showboat to Hamilton, this course surveys some key examples from the history of the modern musical and examines the way different styles of music, dance and words work on stage.

    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

  5. Opera studies 2: baritones and mezzos

    Course Date: Mon 11 Jan 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    Operatic baritones and mezzo-sopranos can be cast as ‘nice’ or ‘nasty’. By exploring the development of these voices and typical rôles, we can appreciate their versatility in creating central or supporting characters. This course has a scheduled break week: 15th February 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

  6. 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

  7. Music for Elizabeth I

    Course Date: Tue 12 Jan 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    Study the cultural history, plots and politics of music in Elizabethan England. Explore key genres and composers. This course has a scheduled break week: 16th February 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

  8. Schubert in focus

    Course Date: Tue 12 Jan 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    From the famous song cycles of Winterreise and Die schöne Müllerin to chamber music for strings and piano, Franz Schubert’s music has captivated audiences and musicians for centuries. We investigate the inner workings of Schubert’s music, and explore not only what makes it so rich and distinctive, but why its reception was hampered at the time of the composer’s death in 1828. This course has a scheduled break week: 16 February 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

  9. Listening to the 20th century: module 2

    Course Date: Wed 13 Jan 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    Using Alex Ross’s The Rest is Noise as a guide this course investigates art music in the second half of the twentieth century. This module covers the music of the Cold War culture wars, American experimental music, Minimalism and the use of technology. Tutor: Edward Henderson [external website]

    Break week: 14th February.

    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

  10. The saxophone story

    Evening
    Course Date: Thu 14 Jan 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    How did a musical joke became arguably one of the most distinctive and expressive of all instruments? We will focus on this strand within the history of jazz but not exclusively. Tutor: Albi Gravener.

    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

  11. Exploring classical music: module 1

    Exploring classical music: module 1

    Course Date: Thu 14 Jan 2021 (and 3 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 (MD020B) which covers (later) Baroque to classical. Ideal for people with no specialist knowledge. Scheduled break week: 18 Feb 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

  12. The long 19th century II: Salons and symphonies

    Course Date: Thu 14 Jan 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    We continue our journey through the music of the 1800s with Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz, Brahms, Mendelssohn and Donizetti, and the world of performance in private homes and ever grander public spaces. Tutor: Dr Katy Hamilton [external website]

    This course has a scheduled break week: 12th February.

    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

  13. Exploring classical music: module 2

    Evening
    Course Date: Thu 14 Jan 2021 (and 2 other dates)
    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 has a scheduled mid-term break: 18th Feb 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: £169.00
    Concession: £103.00

  14. 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

  15. Gardens in opera and ballet

    Course Date: Fri 15 Jan 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    A charming formal garden; a magic bower; a dark and mysterious corner: garden settings feature in many operas and ballets, adding their atmosphere to the plot. We explore the symbolism and power of garden settings.

    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

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