MUSA231-22S2 (C) Semester Two 2022

Western Music of Past Ages

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 18 July 2022
End Date: Sunday, 13 November 2022
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 31 July 2022
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 2 October 2022


This course fosters students' understanding of music in the Western classical tradition, including chamber music, orchestral music, church music, and opera. Students will gain an appreciation of musical style, national identity, and the relationship between music, society, and culture.

This course combines western music history with a focus on the relationship between music and ideas, and especially ideas related to change, radicalism and revolution.  Drawing mainly on case studies from music history between the late 18th and early 20th centuries, we explore topics such as the roots and nature of musical romanticism, nationalism, the cult of the personality, exoticism, and early musical modernism.  In doing so we see how the practices, ideas and values of these case studies have shaped and help inform our attitudes to music in the present day.

MUSA231 is one of a series of courses relating periods of music history to key themes with contemporary relevance.  The others are MUSA237/337 Music in Context: Church, State, Community,  focusing on the relationship between music and institutions of patronage from the 12th to early 18th centuries, and MUSA234/334 Contemporary Music, exploring the roots of the contemporary musical situation in  developments since the first world war.  In all these courses although we will sometimes refer to music theory and notation, it is possible to complete the course and get 100% in the assessments without prior knowledge of this.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students who pass this course will:
  • Be familiar with and be able to describe significant aspects of western art music and its reception between the 17th and early 20th centuries
  • Be able to relate these developments to their economic, social, ideological and/or cultural context
  • Be familiar with methods, approaches and live issues in music historical research
  • Be able to use primary source documents relevant to musicological research
  • Possess skills in using library and information resources related to musicology, including library databases, bibliographic tools, scholarly editions, and electronic resources.
  • Be able to demonstrate good oral and written communication skills, including language appropriate for scholarly communication.
  • Have a professional attitude to research and to the dissemination and public discussion of music history and musical culture
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


MUSA131 or MUSA132, or
60 points at 100 level from the Schedule V of the MusB or Schedule V of the BA.


Timetable 2022

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 09:00 - 10:00 A9 Lecture Theatre
18 Jul - 28 Aug
12 Sep - 23 Oct
Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Friday 13:00 - 14:00 Psychology - Sociology 251 (22/7-12/8, 26/8, 16/9-21/10)
Rehua 429 (19/8)
18 Jul - 28 Aug
12 Sep - 23 Oct

Course Coordinator

Jonathan Le Cocq


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Programme note 25%
Essay 30%
Final Exam (2 hrs) 30%
Tutorial participation 15%

Textbooks / Resources

There is no set text for this course.  Weekly readings will be available on the LEARN site.  Useful background reading is:  Peter Burkholder, Claude Palisca, and Donald Jay Grout, A History of Western Music, 9th edn (New York: Norton, 2014).

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $892.00

International fee $4,313.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Humanities and Creative Arts .

All MUSA231 Occurrences

  • MUSA231-22S2 (C) Semester Two 2022