Every day around the world, billions of people listen to music of one sort or another, and millions listen to Western classical music. Why do we do it? Because it’s fun? Because it energizes or relaxes us? Because it keeps us current, allows us to understand what’s happening in past and popular culture? The pull of music–especially classical music—has never been explained. The aim of this course is to do just that: To explicate the mysteries and beauties of some of Western cultures greatest musical compositions—among them masterpieces of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, and Puccini. We begin with the elements of music, breaking classical musical into its components of pitch, duration, and sound color, allowing us to better understand how music works. Next, we proceed to the compositions themselves, starting with the Middle Ages and Renaissance, to show how Western music developed in ways unique to the West. Ultimately, we reach the masters, commencing with Bach. What makes his music great? Why does it move us? What should we listen for? And so we proceed down through Western musical history, visiting virtually the people who created it and the places where they did so. By the end, we hope all of us have become more human (enriched our personalities) and had a rollicking good time!
Course: Week 1
1. Music in Our Lives
2. Rhythm: We’ve All Got It!
3. What is Melody?
4. Harmony: From Bach to Do Wop
5. Tone Color: Welcome to the Orchestra!
6. Texture, Form, and Style
7. Music in the Middle Ages
8. Music in the Renaissance
9. Baroque Music: The Birth of Opera
10. Johann Sebastian Bach: Fugues and More
11. George Frideric Handel: Messiah and More
12. The Classical Period: Mostly Mozart
13. Classical Genre and Form: Mozart and Haydn
14. Three Classical Favorites: Putting the Art in mozART
15. Beethoven to the Heroic Period
16. The Heroic Beethoven and Beyond
17. The Romantic Art Song: Schubert and the Schumanns
18. 19th Century Program Music: Berlioz Goes to Hell
19. Romantic Pianos and Piano Music:
20. Romantic Opera: Verdi and Wagner
21. The Romantic Orchestra: Wagner, Brahms, Mahler
22. Impressionism in Music and Art
23. Don’t be Afraid: It’s only Modernism!
24. Classical Music for Everyone: Postmodernism
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