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Course Learning Outcomes

By listening to music, learning about the historical development of music, learning about its composers, participating in in-class discussions, attending concerts, and by acquiring a vocabulary and knowledge of music terms and concepts, students will be capable of identifying practically any piece of classical music by time period and genre. Students will also possess a much greater understanding of musical forms, genres and styles.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Place the composers, the main genres (i.e., kinds of music), and the musical styles you have encountered into their proper historical niches.
  2. Describe the elements of style and technique which differentiate (1) one musical age from another, and (2) one composer’s work from that of another.
  3. Explain how a musical composition can be more than just a series of pleasing sounds arranged for our passing pleasure. Why can it be a deeply edifying expression of serious—and sometimes complicated—ideas?


I want your experience in MUSIC 101 to be one that is enriching, valuable, and successful. To increase your chances of success in this course it is highly recommended, although not required, that you be at a 10th-grade reading and writing level in English. Because you are now taking this college-level course, I will be looking for deeper levels of thinking and application of what you are learning.

Course Materials

  1. Textbook: Joseph Kerman, Listen: Brief, 6th Edition (Bedford-St. Martin’s, 2007).
  2. CD Recordings that accompany Joseph Kerman’s Listen.

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Instructor-Graded Assignments

During this course I will ask you to submit seven written assignments. These appear at the ends of Lessons 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, and 9, and 11. These generally require you to write short essays or brief definitions covering some of the basic concepts presented in the lesson. Please answer these questions completely, in sufficient detail to fully account for your understanding of the subject matter.  You will submit your completed paper electronically through BrainHoney. To make sure that I can open and read your paper, please save it as an .RTF (rich text format) file. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Type your paper in a word-processing program (such as Microsoft Word).
  2. When you save the file, click the Save as type: drop-down list.
  3. Select Rich Text Format (*.rtf).
  4. Use the course number, your first and last name, and the assignment name for the filename. For example, “MUSIC101_StevenJohnson_LookingBack.rtf.”
  5. Click Save.
  6. Submit the lesson’s .RTF file through the appropriate assignment in BrainHoney for grading.

Course Structure

In this course we will confine ourselves to the study of western art music. We will not, therefore, study the folk and popular traditions of any time, nor will we treat the music of other (i.e., non-western) cultures. I exclude such traditions not because they are not valid subjects for study, but because I worry that they will dilute our focus on a subject that is already complex enough. Our plan, then, is to treat in chronological order the six major eras of western art music: the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern periods. The following is an overview of what is to come:

How to Proceed with Lessons

As you complete each lesson, following this sequence will help you get the most from the material:


This course includes five quizzes. Each assignment includes 15 multiple-choice questions of the kind you will encounter on the exams.

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Each of these two exams contains about 100 questions, the last 20 of which are “listening” questions. The listening questions require you to respond to recorded excerpts. You may be asked to identify a piece, or composer, or genre, or some stylistic trait within the piece. The excerpts will not necessarily begin at the beginning of the piece, so please listen to the entire work carefully. All listening excerpts will come from the pieces included on your CDs.

Note: The final exam is not comprehensive; it covers the last three historical periods (the Classical, Romantic, and Modern eras). Both the midcourse exam and the final exam are weighted equally.

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Your course grade consists of your scores from:

Weighting (in percentages) of individual exams, quizzes, assignments:

Assignment Weighting


40% of total grade





5 quizzes

30% of total grade

Lesson 3


Lesson 6


Lesson 8


Lesson 10


Lesson 11


6 Instructor-graded Assignments

30% of total grade

Lesson 1


Lesson 2


Lesson 4


Lesson 5


Lesson 7


Lesson 9


Lesson 11


Grade Scale





































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Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.


Five computer-graded assignments and seven written assignments, may be resubmitted once for a fee

Resubmit an assignment for a fee.


1 proctored, multiple-choice, computer-graded midcourse exam.

1 proctored, multiple-choice, computer-graded final exam; may retake once for a fee.

All assignments must be submitted and graded before requesting the final exam. Students must pass the final exam to pass the course.

Retake an exam for a fee.

Getting Help

Please use the help menu in this course to contact Independent Study or your instructor. You can find a list of free tutors available to BYU Independent Study students on the Free Tutoring Services website.

Note: The Harold B. Lee Library website provides a number of online resources and librarians are available via phone, chat, and email to answer questions about library-related issues.

Inappropriate Use of Course Content

All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, media, lecture content, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of BYU Independent Study. To do so is a violation of the Brigham Young University Honor Code.

Copyright © 2016 Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.

Published by the
Department of Independent Study
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
120 MORC
Provo, Utah 84602-1514