The History of Western Music - III

Course summary

  • Fri 21 Apr 2017 to Fri 30 Jun 2017
  • 10:00am-12:00pm 10 meetings
  • Ewert House, Ewert Place, Oxford, OX2 7DD
  • From £195.00
  • 10 CATS points
  • Course code O16P537MSW
  • +44 (0)1865 280892
  • In progress - closed to new applications

The History of Western Music - III


An introduction to Western Art Music will provide a snapshot of a specific period in history where new sounds and textures were emerging. 

We shall listen to and discuss many examples, whilst placing them in their social and historical context. Music of minor composers will be used to illustrate a particular point. Major composers may be omitted altogether if not pertinent to the developments being discussed. This term we will explore the late classical, romantic and early modern periods.

Although the course follows on from The History of Western Music I & II, it may be taken by itself. No previous knowledge is needed, just an interest in listening to music and finding out more

Programme details

Term Starts:   21st April     

Half Term: 2nd June

Week 1:          Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ Symphony

Week 2:          Late Beethoven

Week 3:          Beethoven’s French and Italian contemporaries; Schubert

Week 4:          Weber and early German Romantic opera

Week 5:          Berlioz and Liszt

Week 6:          Russian Nationalists and others

Week 7:          Wagner

Week 8:          Satie, Debussy, Messiaen

Week 9:          Mahler and The Second Viennese School

Week 10:        Western Music in the mid 20th century


Background Reading:

Cook, N Music: A Very Short Introduction

Jacobs, A A Short History of Western Music

Sadie, S & Latham, A (eds) The Cambridge Music Guide

Strunk, O Source Readings in Music History Vol. 6: The Nineteenth Century

Strunk, O Source Readings in Music History Vol. 7: The Twentieth Century

Recommended reading

All weekly class students may become borrowing members of the Rewley House Continuing Education Library for the duration of their course. Prospective students whose courses have not yet started are welcome to use the Library for reference. More information can be found on the Library website.

There is a Guide for Weekly Class students which will give you further information. 

Availability of titles on the reading list (below) can be checked on SOLO, the library catalogue.

Recommended Reading List


To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online. If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to do so.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)


Course Fee: £195.00
Take this course for CATS Points: £10.00


If you are in receipt of a state benefit you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

If you do not qualify for the concessionary fee but are experiencing financial hardship, you may still be eligible for financial assistance.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Peter Copley


Peter Copley D.Phil, MA, B.mus is a composer, cellist and pianist. He is a visiting lecturer at OUDCE, the University of Sussex and for the Open University, where he has been a Research Associate for the music faculty.

Course aims

To provide a comprehensive introduction to the development of Western Art Music  from the late classical period to the start of the twentieth century.

Course Objectives:

1. To provide a structured overview of the main musical developments of the period.

2. To place these developments in the context of historical events of the period.

3. To arrive at an assessment of the contributions made by individual composers and their influence on the development of Western music.

Teaching methods

Teaching methods will consist of lectures and class discussions, both of which will include pre- recorded musical examples and some live musical performance by the tutor. As well as discussion and analysis of the music, certain key texts of the period will also be read and discussed.

Teaching outcomes

As a result of attending the course, students will have acquired:

1. A broad knowledge late classical, romantic and early twentieth century composers and their music.

2. An understanding of the ways in which art music developed during this period.

3. The ability to put  art music in the context of historical developments during this period.

Assessment methods

• an essay (maximum 1000 words)
• a written summary of material used for an individual oral presentation
• a review of a relevant performance (live or recorded)
• a course log or journal

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form with any piece of work that is part of the assessment criteria. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form.

Level and demands

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)