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Selected Topics in Music Literature for Non-Majors (175-0-2)


Considering Classical Music


Aaron David Himes

Meeting Info

RCMA 1-176: Mon, Wed 3:30PM - 4:50PM

Overview of class

What is 'classical music'? How did the concept(s) of classical music develop in Europe and elsewhere over the last few centuries? What roles does this music play in society today? How does 'classical music' relate to 'other' musics? These questions will underpin an exploration of the values, processes, historical views, and present situations of this simultaneously specific yet ill-defined kind of music. This course will feature listening, readings, discussions, and writing, and is open to students with all levels of musical experience.

Class Materials (Required)

The first two books below should be purchased; used copies of Ross's The Rest is Noise are widely available through online retailers. The third book, Small's Musicking, can be accessed for free as an e-book through the Northwestern University Library, but may be purchased if you wish.

Matthew Riley and Anthony D. Smith, Nation and Classical Music: From Handel to Copland. Boydell Press, 2016. ISBN: 9781783271429 (hardcover); 9781782048572 (e-book).

Alex Ross, The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century. Picador, 2008. ISBN: 9780312427719 (paperback).

Christopher Small, Musicking: The Meanings of Performing and Listening. Wesleyan University Press, 1998. ISBN: 9780819522573 (paperback); 9780819572240 (e-book).

Class Attributes

Literature & Fine Arts Distro Area