Musicology Department


M652 Renaissance Music

Course Announcement – spring 2011

MUS-M 652-11255·Renaissance Music (3 cr)

Mo We 1:00-2:15 PM • Room: MA 007 · Prof. Giovanni Zanovello (



Course description: In this class we will explore the repertoire, history, and musical practices of Western Europe, ca. 1380-1600. We will study many masterpieces that often became models in the following centuries. More broadly, we will approach performance and compositional practices as well as a role of music in society that differs sometimes remarkably from practices today. The class is organized as a pro-seminar: the class time will involve a moderate amount of lecturing, in addition to class discussion and musical listening. Class attendance is mandatory.

Pre-Requisites: MUS-M 541 and T 508, or equivalents by examination

Course goals: develop a higher familiarity with a number of compositions, 1400-1600; gain a better understanding of the social, economic, and aesthetic background of musical composition and production in early-modern Europe; improve knowledge of the issues related to the performance of early music; investigate issues of authenticity and our relationship with the music of the past; develop communication and research skills.

Topics will include: Music in the late 14th and early 15th century: England, the Low Countries, and France; music, devotion, and liturgy: motet, cyclic Mass, and Vespers; developments in the mid 15th century; instrumental music and music theory; the late 15 and early 16th century: virtuoso compositions and new aesthetics; continental musical genres at the turn of the 16th century; the early 16th century: Catholic and Protestant music; national song styles; instrumental practices; England; the late 16th century: Tudor England, music theory, the Counter-Reformation in Southern Europe.

Assignments and grading (subject to change): weekly blog assignments, presentations, listening exam, midterm exam, optional research project, final exam, class participation.


  • Atlas, Allan W. Renaissance Music: Music in Western Europe, 1400-1600. New York: Norton, 1998.
  • Atlas, Allan W. Anthology of Renaissance Music: Music in Western Europe, 1400-1600. New York: W.W. Norton, 1998
  • Tomlinson, Gary, ed. The Renaissance. Vol. 3 of Strunk's Source Readings in Music History, gen. ed. Leo Treitler (New York: Norton, 1998)
  • Further material posted in OnCourse and on reserve at the Music Library