Music Literature and History

I.     Course Prefix/Number: MUS 236

       Course Name: Music Literature and History

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course examines development of music in the western world from its origins to the present. Content includes styles, literature and musical concepts in each of the commonly accepted music periods, with focus on hearing music of each style.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Identify the various stylistic periods covered.
  2. Critically evaluate representative works of music played in class.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Music of the Ancient World
    1. Greek Heritage
    2. Early Christian Church
  2. Gregorian Chant in the Middle Ages
    1. Classes, Forms and Types of Gregorian Chant
    2. Medieval Instrumental
  3. Polyphony and Music of Thirteenth Century
    1. Organum
    2. Rhythmic Modes
    3. Motet
  4. French and Italian Music of the Fourteenth Century
    1. General Background
    2. Ars Nova in France
    3. Musica Ficta
  5. Medieval to Renaissance
    1. English Music to End of Fifteenth Century
    2. Evolution of Musical Styles in Late Middle Ages
    3. Bergundian School
  6. Renaissance
    1. General Background
    2. Netherlands Composers
    3. Josquin
    4. Franco-Flemish Composers
    5. Rise of National Styles
    6. Madrigal
  7. Late Renaissance
    1. Reformation
    2. Counter-Reformation
    3. Venetian School
  8. Early Baroque
    1. General Background
    2. Early Baroque Opera
    3. Instrumental Music
  9. Late Baroque
    1. Vocal Music
    2. Opera/Oratorio/Cantata
    3. Instrumental Music
    4. Keyboard Music
  10. Early Eighteenth Century
    1. Instrumental Music
    2. Johann Sebastian Bach
    3. Handel
  11. Classical Style
    1. General Background
    2. Instrumental Music: Sonata/Symphony/Church Music
  12. Late Eighteenth Century
    1. Haydn
    2. Mozart
    3. Vienna Period
  13. Beethoven
    1. First Style Period
    2. Second Style Period
    3. Third Style Period
  14. Romanticism
    1. Vocal Music
    2. Instrumental Music: Piano/Chamber Music
    3. German Romantic Opera
  15. Post Romanticism
    1. Nationalism: Old and New
    2. Richard Strauss
  16. Contemporary
    1. Neo-Classicism and Related Movements
    2. Schoenberg
    3. After Webern
    4. American Musical Theater
    5. Jazz in America
    6. Electronic Revolution (Computer Age)

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Instruction includes lectures, class discussions, and identifying music examples played in class. Class demonstrations, guest lecturers when feasible.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Students will be required to identify examples played in class of the different styles and literature from each period of music.

Students will be required to do written assignments illustrating the principal styles, forms, and techniques of vocal and instrumental music.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Representative textbooks, such as:

  1. Grout, Palisca et al., A History of Western Music, W.W. Norton.
  2. Palisca, et al., Norton Anthology of Western Music, W.W. Norton.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

  1. Written exams
  2. Quizzes
  3. Written Assignments
  4. Final Project
  5. The following is an example of a student’s grades during the semester:
    1. Four examinations - 90 on each
    2. Two quizzes - 88 on each (88 average)
    3. Grade of paper - B (85)
    4. Three written assignments - 88 on each (88 average)
    5. Grade of Final exam - 90
      85 - Grade of paper
      90 - Final exam
      535 = 89 Average
    6. A = 90 - 100
      B = 80 - 89
      C = 70 - 79
      D = 60 - 69
      F = Below 60

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.