2017-2018 Catalog

MUSC 261 Western Music and Culture: 1600-1789

This course surveys the two centuries that gave rise to European art music's most enduring legacies: opera instrumental art music and especially the major-minor tonal system which as the system that informs most music today is arguably Europe's greatest-ever cultural export. The emergence of this tonal system will enable instrumental music to sustain a listener's attention through dramatic forms and without the aid of words; comprehending how these forms behave will be one of our central tasks. In turn the cultivation of instrumental genres will fuel the operatic accomplishments of Classical composers notably Mozart. Our study of vocal and instrumental music will proceed chronologically and focus on individual cities starting with Florence and ending with Vienna. With the only prerequisite in taking this course being the ability to read musical notation students from other disciplines who are eager for music-intensive study are especially welcome. Music majors and minors taking the course will be given assignments tailored to their knowledge and departmental expectations. Freshmen may not enroll in this course.


4 units


Sophomore Status

Core Requirements Met

  • Pre-1800
  • Regional Focus
  • Fine Arts