Music History of the Western World 1: Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque

Author: Tom Rudolph   •   Course Code: OLART-233

Music History of the Western World 1, explores the development of Western European music from its earliest traceable roots during the Antiquity and Middle Ages, through the Renaissance and the Baroque periods. You will experience the music that led to the Classical, Romantic, and Modern eras - music that is, in its own right, sophisticated, diverse, entertaining, solemn, and emotionally rich. Composers studied include Guillaume de Machaut, Josquin des Prez, Claudio Monteverdi, Guillaume Dufay, J.S. Bach, and G.F. Handel. Other relevant information from these periods will be included with a focus on music and its impact on society of the times.

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • Recognize the major composers of each era studied and a few of their principal works
  • Identify the representative musical forms and genres used during this time period
  • Identify the representative musical forms and genres used during this time period
  • Identify some of the technical aspects of music from each era studied such as melody, harmony, rhythm, musical instruments, and performance techniques
  • Associate the key aspects of culture, society, history, and geography that relate to music in Western Europe during the Antiquity, Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque periods

Lesson 1: Music in Ancient Greece, Early Middle Ages, and Chant 

  • Music in Greek Society
  • Ancient Greek Instruments
  • Music in Greek Philosophy
  • Greek Music Theory
  • Antiquity to the Middle Ages
  • Chant in the Monastery and Convent

Lesson 2: Late Chant, Troubadours, and Early Polyphony

  • Music Theory in the Monastery
  • Later Medieval Chant
  • Liturgical Drama
  • Troubadours and Trouvéres
  • Medieval Musical Instruments

Lesson 3: The Development of Polyphony in the Middle Ages

  • Early Polyphony
  • Music in Medieval Paris
  • Music in the Cathedral Close and University
  • Carmina Burana
  • Instruments in the Middle to Late Middle Ages

Lesson 4: Music Theory of the Ars Antiqua and Ars Nova

  • Franco of Cologne
  • Music at the Court of the French Kings
  • Symbolic Scores and the Ars Subtilior
  • Fourteenth-Century Music in Reims

Lesson 5: Music in Florence and Music In England

  • Music in Florence
  • Music at the Cathedral of Florence
  • Music in England

Lesson 6: The Early Renaissance

  • Music at the Court of Burgundy
  • Music of the French Royal Court
  • Music of the Low Countries

Lesson 7: Popular Music in Florence, Music in Paris, and Josquin dex Prez

  • Carnival Song and Lauda, Frotolla and early Madrigal
  • Josquin des Prez
  • Music in Renaissance Paris
  • Renaissance Instruments

Lesson 8: Reformation, Counter-Reformation, and Music England

  • The Protestant-Catholic Confrontation
  • Rome and the Music of Counter-Reformation
  • Early Vocal Music in England
  • Instrumental Music in England

Lesson 9: The Early Baroque Music

  • Characteristics of Early Baroque Music
  • The Birth of Opera
  • The Concerted Style

Lesson 10: Baroque Religious and Instrumental Music 

  • Religious Music in Rome
  • Instrumental Music in Italy
  • Instrumental Music in Germany and Austria

Lesson 11: Henry Purcell and G.F. Handel

  • Vocal Music in Paris
  • Instrumental Music in Paris
  • Henry Purcell
  • George Frideric Handel

Lesson 12: Johann Sebastian Bach

  • Bach’s Instrumental Music in Weimar
  • Bach’s Instrumental Music in Cothen
  • Bach’s Vocal Music in Leipzig

Tom Rudolph

Author & Instructor

Thomas E. Rudolph, Ed.D., is a national leader in the field of music education and technology. He is one of the founding directors of the Technology Institute for Music Educators; adjunct assistant professor of music at the University of the Arts in Pennsylvania; and director of music for the Haverford School District in Haverford, Pennsylvania. He has trained thousands of music professionals at many institutions, including: Berklee College of Music in Boston; Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut; The University of the Arts in Philadelphia; and Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania. His publications include Teaching Music with Technology, The MIDI Sequencer in the Music Classroom, and Technology Strategies for Music Education.


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Software Requirements

Mac Users

  • OS X 10.9 Mavericks or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Windows Users

  • Windows 7 or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Hardware Requirements

  • 2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended)
  • 500 MB hard drive space
  • Speakers or headphones
  • Webcam
  • Internet connection with at least 4 Mbps download speed ( to verify or download the Speedtest by Ookla app from your mobile app store)


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    12 weeks
  • 3-Credit Tuition
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