—Music 343—
History & Literature I

Syllabus 2002

Elmhurst College

Dr. Mark Harbold

Links on this page
Materials you will need
Important URLs
How to Find Me
Links to other Music 343 pages
Course Schedule
Term Paper
Research Resources
Listening Report Sample
Download HistoryIStack (Macintosh only)
Go to Mark Harbold’s Home Page

Course Goals

As we face the hustle and bustle of everyday life and make elaborate plans for our futures, history can seem distant and at times even irrelevant. Someone once said that history is an “old man’s” pursuit, and it makes sense that the longer we live, the more “history” we remember. But even at a young age, a sense of history can emerge quite naturally in our lives. Sooner or later, most of us try to understand what life was like for our parents, aunts, uncles, or grandparents. That’s history! And we enter the realm of music history whenever we talk about the music we loved when we were young.

In the examples above, history arises from a natural impulse to understand ourselves and our families, and that impulse can extend just as naturally to our home state, our nation, our cultural heritage...even our world. This impulse itself is as ancient as humankind. Even a brief look at ancient cultures reveals the importance attached to the elders, shamans, or priests who served as keepers of a people’s history—often in the form of sacred stories and songs—a history that gave the people a sense of identity, meaning, and strength.

In the U.S. today, most keepers of the old stories and songs have lost their religious standing, but they retain the same teaching function they served long ago, borne of a need to “pass the torch” to the next generation. So it is no surprise to find these “keepers of the flame” in today’s academic institutions, from elementary schools to the world of higher education. And courses that require the next generation to wrestle with an understanding of history remain a rite of passage for students in today’s world.

This wrestling remains important. Encounters with the old stories and songs serve several important purposes:

In music history courses, the “old stories and songs” remain the basic object of study—the “primary source” material. These materials do not give up their secrets easily, however. We must wrestle to discover their meanings, an often painstaking process of study and interpretation called “making history.” Further, interpretation of primary sources is more than a matter of opinion or speculation; it is important to “get it right.” Thus, the scholarly method used by musicologists today borrows aspects of the lawyer’s “rules of evidence” and of modern scientific method. We can take nothing for granted unless the eyewitnesses and the evidence are credible, and our ideas and interpretations (hypotheses) must be tested by the scholarly community.

In this course, our primary sources include all musical scores written and/or published in western nations before 1750 as well as any historical documents (books, manuscripts, scrolls, letters, criticism, programs, advertisements, instruments, music dictionaries, works of art, buildings, etc.) that provide firsthand (eyewitness) information about the music and about composers, performers, instruments, performance venues, music education, music business, patrons, and any other aspect of music in society. Of course, it is impossible to study all of these primary sources in one course. Instead, we will work to acquire the basic knowledge and tools needed for the scholarly study of music, as summarized in the course goals listed below.

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Materials you will need

Required Materials:

Strongly Recommended Materials:

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Course Requirements

Encounters 9 @ 3.0% = 27%
Quizzes 6 @ 2.5% = 15%
Paper 1 @ 25.0% = 25%
Unit Exams 2 @ 10.0% = 20%
Final Exam 1 @ 13.0% = 13%

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Encounters with Music History

Nine Encounters engage you in nine clusters of activities (reading, research, discussion, listening, score study, and other creative tasks), each centered around a particular topic. They are graded on promptness and completeness. If all Encounters are completed and handed in on time, you receive an A+ for 27% of your final grade. Late Encounters receive a D (67%) and receive no written feedback. Completed Encounters include thorough answers to questions in the reading, research, and discussion modules, and reports for the listening modules follow the standard listening report format. Incomplete Encounters receive credit for the percentage I judge completed. Click here for more information about Encounters with music history.

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Six quizzes cover the reading and listening assignments from the current encounter. The written portion covers lecture materials and assigned readings in multiple choice format; the listening portion tests your ability to identify important works and hear stylistic features. Listening reports and in-class listening exercises will help you prepare for these quizzes. No make-up quizzes will be given for lateness or unexcused absence.

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The paper, the most comprehensive research project of the term, deals with a piece of music (of your choosing) from two perspectives: one analytical, the other creative and contextual. You will write the contextual portion as if you were an actual participant or audience member at a performance of your chosen piece (before 1750). Click here for more information about the paper.

Unit Exams and Final Exam

Three exams ask you to trace broad outlines and vital developments in an important period in music history. They include essay and short answer questions, with score excerpts and listening examples for stylistic analysis. Make-up exams will not be given.

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Course Policies

Class Participation

Attendance and participation are important. Under normal circumstances, tell me ahead of time if you must miss class. In emergencies, present a note from your doctor, the college health service, or the Dean when you return. You can be absent or late up to three times each without penalty; further lateness or absences will count against your final grade.

Extra Credit

For extra credit, do extra listening and write listening reports on it (identify these reports as extra credit and indicate total listening time). Consistent attendance and participation will also help a borderline grade.

Academic Dishonesty

This course follows guidelines published in the E-Book. Any attempt to submit someone else’s work, words, or ideas as if they were your own is plagiarism, which may result in a “zero” for the assignment, an “F” for the course, or referral to the Dean of Students. Click here to read the E-Book’s Code of Academic Integrity.

Disabilities Policy

Elmhurst College will make reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. If you have a disability that may have some impact on your work in this course, please contact the Director of Advising at 103 Goebel Hall (617-3450).

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Important URLs

Library Music History Page

Course Discussion Board

EC Web-based Email

Music Department Web Page

Mark Harbold’s Web Page

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How to Find Me

If you need assistance of any kind in this course, please contact me. You can see me during office hours or make an appointment.

Office Irion 113
Office Hours MW 1:30-2:30
TTh 2:30-3:30
Email markh@elmhurst.edu
Phone 630.617.3521
Fax 630.617.3738

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Page created 5/30/01 by Mark Harbold—last updated 8/25/02.