Medieval and Early Modern Music

Subject MUSI10031 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 1 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2 one-hour lectures and 1 one-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours


Offered as breadth with prerequisites: AMEB Grade 4 or equivalent, or permission of the coordinator



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability will impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Dr Melanie Plesch


Contact Centre
T: 13 MELB (6352)

Melbourne Conservatorium of Music
VCA and Music Student Centre


Subject Overview:

A study of music and the practice of music in Europe in the middle ages and early modern period until the mid-eighteenth century. Students will examine selected areas of music such as religious chant, medieval love songs, cathedral polyphony, early opera, instrumental ensemble music, and baroque church music. Students should develop a range of approaches to understanding music history, research methods basic to the scholarly study of music of this period and an awareness of the latest research in the area.

Through an innovative class project that combines performance, research and collaborative work, you will engage directly with these repertoires. Lectures, tutorials and the class project are closely intertwined to help you develop an understanding of the main processes of music history during the period covered in this subject. The insight you derive from this subject will enhance your capacity to perform and enjoy this music.


On completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • Understand music from the Middle Ages to the end of the Classical period in its cultural context.
  • Discriminate both aurally and conceptually between the main music genres and styles from the Middle Ages to the end of the Classical period.
  • Undertake basic scholarly work using music-specific bibliographic tools.
  • Discuss music coherently using an appropriate technical vocabulary
  • Work constructively yet rigorously with peers

A performance- and research-based group project, to be delivered in week 11 (30%); 2000-word essay due mid-semester (30%), end-of-semester listening-based examination (30%), attendance and positive participation in lectures and tutorials (10%). All assessment components must be attempted in order to pass the subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Burkholder, P. and C. Palisca, eds. Norton Anthology of Western Music. 5th ed. New York: Norton, 2006. Vol. 1

Burkholder, P., D. Grout and C. Palisca, A History of Western Music, 8th edition. New York: Norton, 2009.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students should have developed:

  • a capacity for independent critical thought
  • an openness to new ideas
  • knowledge, skills and practices which provide a basis for independent critical inquiry and research-based writing.
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Music
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Graduate Diploma and Certificate Elective subjects
Related Breadth Track(s): Studies in western music

Download PDF version.