Music Appreciation

Course Number: MUS 105
Transcript Title: Music Appreciation
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: January 22, 2016
Total Credits: 3
Lecture Hours: 30
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: No
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), audit
Repeats available for credit: 0

Prerequisite / Concurrent

WR 115 or equivalent placement test scores

Course Description

Provides an introduction to understanding symphonic music in the vocal and instrumental genres from the ancient period through the contemporary music of our time. Class will be presented using a multi-media format. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 115 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion students should be able to:

  1. Appreciate the western music tradition, and enjoy a life enriched by the exposure to and the understanding of personal and cultural achievement.
  2. Experience musical works "dynamically", that is, to appreciate simultaneously the uniqueness of a work, its origins and precedent, its potential as an influence and inspiration on other works, and its relationship to a particular cultural moment.
  3. Generalize course content to other music not covered in the course so that one can understand and value a broad spectrum of musical expression.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)
2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)
3. Apply the knowledge, skills and abilities to enter and succeed in a defined profession or advanced academic program. (Professional Competence)
4. Appreciate cultural diversity and constructively address issues that arise out of cultural differences in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)
5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Methods used to evaluate student progress and the criteria for assigning a course grade should be made clear by the instructor at the beginning of the course. The individual instructor will determine the method of assessment. Assessment methods may include:

  • Qualitative and/or quantitative examinations
  • Homework assignments
  • Listening assignments
  • Concert reports
  • Research project
  • Class participation

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  1. Basic Fundamentals of Listening
    • Melody è conjunct, disjunct, rising, falling, wave-like
    • Rhythm è beat, meter, syncopation, simple, compound, polyrhythm
    • Harmony è consonance, dissonance, diatonic, chromatic, chord, interval, tonality
    • Texture è monophonic, polyphonic, homophonic, heterophonic, contrapuntal devices
    • Form è binary, ternary, variation, sonata-allegro, rondo, strophic, through-composed, motive, phrase, ostinato
    • Tempo and dynamics
    • Tone color è soprano, alto, tenor, bass, instruments of orchestra
  2. Music of the Middle Ages
    • Sacred music è monophonic chant, mass, organum, motet
    • Secular music è troubadour, trouvere, minniesinger, meistersinger, bard, estampe
    • Ars Nova è polyphony, early instrumental music
  3. Music of the Renaissance
    • Arts in the Renaissance è instruments of the renaissance
    • Sacred music è motet, mass, reformation, counter-reformation
    • Secular music è court life, chanson, madrigal, instrumental dance
  4. Music of the Baroque
    • The Baroque Spirit è religious, secular, monody, harmonic structures, style, women, rise of virtuoso, doctrine of affections, internationalism
    • Vocal music è opera, cantata, oratorio, motet, madrigal
    • Instrumental music è baroque instruments, concerto, suite, overture, fugue, sonata
  5. Age of Enlightenment
    • Rococo è Age of Sensibility, changing opera and musical styles
    • Development of forms
  6. Eighteenth Century Classicism
    • The arts è patronage system, concert life
    • Chamber music- string ensembles, serenades, divertimenti
    • Symphony è classical orchestra
    • Concerto
    • Sonata
    • Vocal music è opera, choral forms, solo song
    • Transitional period
  7. Nineteenth Century Music
    • The Romantic Movement è arts, society, style traits
    • Art Song è German lied, song structure (strophic, through-composed), song cycle
    • Piano and its literature è lyric piano piece, sonata
    • Program music è symphony, tone poem, nationalism
    • Romantic Symphony
    • Romantic Concerto
    • Music in America
    • Choral Music
    • Opera
    • Ballet
  8. Twentieth Century Music
    • Impressionism and Post-impressionism
    • Expressionism
    • Primitivism
    • Serialism
    • Neo-classisim
    • Aleatoric
    • Third-stream
    • Electronic
    • Modernism
    • Minimalism


The following skills are to be achieved to successfully meet the minimum requirement ("C" or "Pass") for the course:

  • Describe the basic elements of listening: melody, rhythm, harmony, texture, form, tone color and their related terms.
  • Recognize musical style periods from recorded or live performance examples.
  • Recognize musical textures from recorded or live performance examples.
  • Identify and discuss important composers, their musical contribution and how it relates to the social period of their time.
  • Apply understanding of music to critically evaluate a symphonic work.