13 yrs and up – $175.00, 14 week course – No Prerequisite

Classical Music History is offered in two separate parts one each semester. These are independent courses and do not require taking one or the other first.

Students will listen in class to the works of the masters, spanning the centuries. Through the use of audio, and visual activities and exercises, including reading, the students will experience the historical processes by which musical styles grow, develop, mature, and decline.

Part 1 - Fall Semester

Lesson 1: Medieval Music 1150-1400

Lesson 2: Renaissance Music 1400-1600

Lesson 3: Music and the Church

Lesson 4: Early Baroque Era and the birth of Opera 1600-1630

Lesson 5: Middle and Late Baroque Era 1630-1750

Lesson 6: Johann Sebastian Bach

Lesson 7: The Classical Era; Classical Music in Vienna 1750-1830

Lesson 8: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Lesson 9: Opera in the Classical Period

Lesson 10: The Music of Beethoven

Lesson 11: The Early Romantic Period 1820-1860

Lesson 12: Late Romantic Era 1860-1920

Lesson 13: Johannes Brahms

Lesson 14: Review   

Music History Session 1 – Medieval Music to Johannes Brahms

Lesson 1: Medieval Music 1150-1400


Characteristics of Medieval Music

Ars Antiqua 1150-1300

Leonin: 1150s-1201(?)


Leonin and Perotin: The Beginning of Modern Music

Listen:Medieval Era Playlist

Leonin: Organun Duplum

Leonin: Viderunt Omnes

Perotin: Alleluia Nativitas


The Troubadors

The Trouveres

Guillaume Duke of Aquitaine

Adam De La Halle

Colin Muset


Guillaume Duke of Aquitaine: Pos de chantar m'es pres talenz

Adam de la Halle: La Jeu de Robin et Marian

Adam de la Halle: Motet: “De ma dame vient”

Colin Muset: En may


Ars Nova Period 1300-1400

Francesco Landini

Guillame de Machaut

Philip de Vitry

Philippe de Vitry and the Ars Nova: The Early History of Modern Rhythmic Notation in Music


Landini: Non avra ma' pieta questa mia Donna

Machaut: De Fortune Me Doi Plaindre Et Loer (Ballade 23)

Machaut: La Messe de Nostre Dame – Kyrie

de Vitry: Vos Qui Admiramini

 Lesson 2: Renaissance Music 1400-1600 


The Renaissance Period

Music in the Renaissance

John Dunstable

Guillaume Du Fay

Josquin Des Prez

Jacques Arcadelt

John Downland

William Byrd

Listen:Renaissance Era Playlist

Dunstable: Quam Pulchra Es

Du Fay: Ave Maris Stella

Du Fay: Conditor Alme Siderum

Des Prez: Missa Pange Lingua

Des Prez: Ave Maria, virgo serena

Arcadelt: Il bianco e dolce cigno

Cipriano de Rore:

de Rore: De le belle contrade d'oriente

Downland: Flow My Tears

Byrd: The Sweet and Merry Month of May 

 Lesson 3: Music and the Church


Chant in the Convent and Monastery

Sacred and Choral Music

Liturgical Music

Thomas Tallis

Giovanni Palestrina

Tomas Victoria

Listen:The Church and Music Playlist

Testamentum Eternum

Salve Regina

Tallis: Agnus Dei, from Mass for Four Voices

Tallis: If Ye Love Me

Palestrina: Sicut Cervus

Palestrina: Kyrie, from Missa Papae Marcelli

Victoria: O Magnum Mysterium

Victoria: Ave Maria

Byrd: Ave Verum Corpus 

Lesson 4: Early Baroque Era and the birth of Opera 1600-1630


The Baroque Era – Read sections “The Baroque Era” to “Late Baroque Era

Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)

Jean Baptiste Lully (1632-1687)

Listen:Early Baroque Era Playlist

Monteverdi: Altri canti d'amore

Monteverdi: Beatus Vir

Lully: Marche pour la cérémonie des Turcs

Lully: Armide, LWV 71, “Passacaglia”

Johann Pachelbel: Chaconne in F Minor

The Birth of Opera


Early Opera

The Development of Opera


Claudio Monteverdi:

L'Orfeo, Act 1, Prologue “Dal mi permesso”

L'incornazione di Poppea, “Pur ti miro, pur ti godo” 

 Lesson 5: Middle and Late Baroque Era 1630-1750


Sonata Form

The Harpsichord

The Early Symphony: The concept of the symphony before 1750 - Read Sections to “Concept of the symphony before 1750”

The Early History of the Symphony: Origins and Evolving Structure

Concerto/Concertio Grosso

Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)

Johann Joseph Fux (1660-1741)

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)

Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713)

George Frederic Handel (1685-1759)

Listen:Middle and Late Baroque Era Playlist

Scarlatti: Sonata for Harpsichord in D minor

Fux: Les Passions de l'Ame, "Turcaria" Partita a tre in C major K 331

Vivaldi: The Four Seasons, “Spring”

Vivaldi: Violin Concerto No. 5, “La Tempesta di Mare”

Corelli: Suite in D Minor; 1. Sarabande

Henry Purcell: Gordian Knot Unty'd, Z. 597

Purcell: The Fairy Queen, “If Love's a Sweet Passion”

Handel: Water Music, Suite No. 2

Handel: Sarabande



Oratorio and the Development of Opera


Handel: The Messiah, “Overture”

 Lesson 6: Johann Sebastian Bach 


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

John Eliot Gardiner: Bach's synthesis between his music and the word of God

Angela Hewitt: My battle with Bach


Glenn Gould on Bach (1962)

Great Composers: Johann Sebastian Bach

Listen:J.S. Bach Playlist

Chorale Prelude on 'Wachet auf, rüft uns die Stimme', BWV 645

Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major BWV 1050, “Allegro”

Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, “Allegro-Adagio”

The Well Tempered Clavier I, Prelude & Fugue in C minor, BWV 847

The Well Tempered Clavier II: Prelude and Fugue No.12 in F Minor

St. Matthew's Passion, Aria A - “Erbarme dich”

St. John's Passion “Ich folge dir gleichfalls”

St. John's Passion: “Zerfliesse, Mein Herze”

 Lesson 7: The Classical Era; Classical Music in Vienna 1750-1830


The Music of the Classical Era

 Sections “Early Classical Era” to “Other Composers of the Mature Classical Era”

 Classical and Neoclassical Architecture and the Classical Style

 Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788)

 CPE Bach: Like Father Like Son

 Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

Listen:Early Classical Era Playlist

C.P.E. Bach: Symphony No.1 in D major, H.663 Wq.183

Bach: Flute Concerto in D minor

Haydn: Symphony No. 94 “Suprise” - 2nd Mvt. Andante

Haydn: Symphony No. 45 “Farewell” - 4th Mvt. Finale

 Haydn: Piano Concerto in D Major, 1st Mvt.

 Haydn: String Quartet in C Major, Op. 76, No. 3 “Emperor” 2nd Mvt. Poco Adagio, Cantabile

 Lesson 8: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Mozart: Works, Musical Styles, and Innovations

Listen:Mozart Playlist

Symphony No. 40 in G minor, “Molto Allegro”

Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor, “Romanze”

Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major, “Andante”

String Quartet No. 19 in C Major, “Adagio-Allegro”

Rondo Alla Turca

Clarinet Concerto in A Major, “Adagio”

Requiem, Agnus Dei

Requiem, Dies Irae

 Lesson 9: Opera in the Classical Period


Opera Seria

Opera Buffa

Opera Comique

Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787)

Listen:Opera in the Classical Era Playlist

Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice, “Dance of the Blessed Spirits”

Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice, “Che faro senza Euridice”


Examining Mozart's Operas

Mozart's Operas: Functions, Genres, Archetypes


The Marriage of Figaro, “Overture”

The Magic Flute, “Queen of the Night”

Cosi Fan Tutte, “Soave sia il vento”

The Marriage of Figaro, “Canzonetta sull'Aria”

Don Giovanni, “Act 1 Finale”

 Lesson 10: The Music of Beethoven

Read:Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven: Similarities and Differences

Listen:Beethoven Playlist

Symphony No. 1 in C Major, “Adagio molto - Allegro con brio” (1800) 

Symphony No. 3 in E Flat Major, “Eroica”, “Marcia funebre: Adagio assai” (1804) 

Symphony No. 5 in C minor (1808)

Symphony No. 6 in F Major, “Pastoral” “Allegro ma non troppo” (1808) 

Symphony No. 9 in D minor, “Choral”, “Presto”

Piano Sonata No. 14, “Moonlight” (1801)

String Quartet No. 3 in D Major (1799)

String Quartet No. 127 in E Flat Major, “Maestoso; Allegro” (1824)

Violin Concerto in D Major, “Allegro ma non troppo” (1806)

Fidelio, “Prisoner's Chorus” (1814)

Missa Solemnis (1823): “Kyrie”and “Sanctus”

 Lesson 11: The Early Romantic Period 1820-1860


Beethoven's influence on the Romantics

– Read sections “The Romantic Period” to “Choral and Chamber Music”

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


Fryderyk Chopin (1810-1849)

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)

Robert Schumann (1810-1856)

Listen:Early Romantic Era Playlist

Schubert: Symphony No. 8, “Unfinished”, “Allegro Moderato”

Schubert: Symphony No. 9: Great C major; Mvt. 1 “Andante – Allegro non ma troppo”

Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique; Mvt. 5 “Songe d'une nuit du Sabbat”

Chopin: Sonata in B flat Minor, Mvt. 1, “Grave; Doppio movimento”

Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 “Italian Symphony”, “Allegro vivace”

Mendelssohn: Elijah, “And Then Shall Your Light Break Forth”

Schumann: Fantasie Op. 17 in C Major

 Lesson 12: Late Romantic Era 1860-1920


Franz Liszt (1811-1886)

Johann Strauss Jr (1825-1899)

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

First Impressions

 Listen:Late Romantic Era Playlist

Liszt: Three Concert Etudes, S. 144 “Un Sospiro”

Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2

Strauss: The Blue Danube Waltz

Strauss: The Tritsch Tratsch Polka

Dvorak: Symphony No. 9, “New World Symphony”, “Allegro con fuoco”

Dvorak: Symphony No. 7 in D minor, “Scherzo, Vicave – poco meno mosso”

Dvorak: Slavonic Dance No. 1

Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B Flat minor; Allegro Non Tropo E Molto Maestoso

Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake, Act I: Waltz

Tchaikovsky: Serenade in C Major for Strings

 Lesson 13: Johannes Brahms

Read:Johannes Brahms (1833–1897)

Symphony Guide: Brahms' Fourth


Keeper of the Classical Flame: Johannes Brahms

Listen:Brahms Playlist

Symphony No. 1, “Un poco sostenuto”

Symphony No. 4 “Allegro enerico e passionato”

Tragic Overture, Op. 81

Hungarian Dance No. 5 in G minor

Waltz No. 15 for Violin

A German Requiem, “Dann alles Fleisch, es ist wie Gras”

Violin Concerto in D Major, “Allegro non troppo”

Lesson 14: Review

Review musical themes from Medieval to Romantic era.

Discuss changes in styles, sounds, and functions.

Discuss the influence of the great composers on each other and future generations.