What is music?
Time: 14:00 - 16:10
Location: KS - Keeley Street
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
Course Code: MD703B
Duration: 10 sessions (over 11 weeks)
What is the course about?
Where did music come from, how does it connect to human speech, and how (and why) has it evolved over time? On this course we get to grips with some of the big historical and cultural questions about the origins of music and its development as shaped by societal changes, technological innovations, commerce, and notions of artistic value. We will principally be concerned with Western European music.
What will we cover?
- What we know about the earliest musical instruments and rituals
- Theories about the connection between speech, song and music
- The role of music in Ancient Greece, including practising musicians and musical theory
- The changing status of composers and performers from 1300-2000
- Innovations in instrument design, acoustics, communication and recording, and the impact they’ve had on our experience of music.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Summarise the current position on the origins of music and language
- Recognise the major points of cultural/societal change in our reception and valuing of music
- List some of the key developments and technologies that have affected our construction and understanding of music
- Recognise a range of musical instruments, styles and personalities (composers, theorists, performers) from the time period under discussion.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course is intended to be accessible for anyone with an interest in, and basic knowledge of, western classical music. We will not be concerned so much with score reading or analysis of specific works as broader philosophical questions. We will look at various historical documents during this course, and where basic notation is used it will be explained for those not familiar with it. All texts will be in English, or accompanied by an English translation.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Each class will involve a combination of spoken presentations from the tutor, recorded and live musical examples, and class discussion and activities. These will include tasks for pairs and small groups, whole-class discussions and individual activities. There will be some small tasks to complete between classes (usually brief reading and/or listening tasks), and all materials for these – such as video links and texts – will be shared via Google Classroom.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
All classes, learning materials and online resources are included in the price. Those who wish to continue their learning outside the classes will be offered suggestions for further reading and listening, but this is not compulsory in order to complete the course.
All presentation material and class handouts will also be made accessible in digital format.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
To find out more about music history classes Music history courses in London and online 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.
Dr Katy Hamilton is a freelance researcher, writer and presenter on music. She is fast becoming one of the UK’s most sought-after speakers on music, providing talks for a host of organisations including the Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre, BBC Proms, Ryedale Festival and Oxford Lieder Festival. In addition, she regularly writes programme notes for the Salzburg Festival, North Norfolk Festival and the Philharmonia Orchestra, and is a frequent contributor to BBC Radio 3’s Record Review. Katy worked as Graham Johnson’s research assistant for his monumental Franz Schubert: The Songs and their Poets (Yale University Press, 2014) and is co-editor of Brahms in the Home and the Concert Hall (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and Brahms in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2019). In addition to her research and presentation work, Katy has taught at the Royal College of Music, City Lit, the University of Nottingham and Middlesex University, working with students in performance workshops and music history classes. She has been teaching Music History courses at City Lit since 2015. She is also Public Events Programmer at the Foundling Museum in central London.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.