Music appreciation syllabus

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MUSC 1033

FALL 2013 / SPRING 2015


Catalog Course Description:

The course is “designed to increase the variety and depth of a student’s exposure to music and to enhance understanding and enjoyment of music as an art.” (MSU 2012-2014 Undergraduate Catalog p.199)

Learning Goals:

  1. To become familiar with musical terminology

  2. To become aware of the laws and regulations pertaining to the federal copyright law under US Code Title 17 and amendments thereof added since 1976 relating to the copyright law, digital copying and downloading of music files.

  3. To become familiar with structure and form

  4. To be able to identify selected major works

  5. To investigate unique characteristics and differences of each style period and of major composers

  6. To be able to recognize musical characteristics of an unfamiliar work and to be able to identify the style period in which it was written

Required Text:

Listening to Western Music, 7th edition, (along with online access cards) by Craig Wright, published by Cengage. ISBN 978-1-133-95391-3


(The following parts are listed in the table of contents of the required text.)

Part I

Basic information on rhythm, melody, acoustics, hearing, perception, copyright, forms (binary, ternary, and rondo), instruments of the orchestra, and related terms. Copyright project begun. Exam one.

Part II and Part III

Brief discussion on Medieval and Renaissance music. Majority of the time will be spent in the Baroque period covering vocal and instrumental forms along with stylistic characteristics of the period. Forms will include passacaglia, chaconne, recitative, aria, concerto grosso, cantata, oratorio, French overture, suite, trio sonata, as well as contrapuntal forms and the beginnings of opera. Listening will include works by Monteverdi, Handel, J.S. Bach, and Vivaldi, as well as examples from Mexican Baroque literature. Listening identification will be included on the exam. Exam two.

Part IV

The Classic period. Covered material will include the music of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven as well as general characteristics of the period. Forms and genre , as well as listening ,will include the symphony, minuet and trio, sectional variations, concerto for solo and orchestra, opera and sonata form. Listening identification will be included on the exam. Copyright project completed. Exam three.

Part V

Nineteenth Century Music, the Romantic Era. General characteristics of the period will be introduced as well as the newer forms and genre including the character piece, program symphony, symphonic poem, tone poem, romantic opera, examples of piano literature, and the orchestral song. In class listening will include the works of Schubert, Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Wagner, Verdi, Puccini, Mussorgsky, Borodin, Brahms, Tschiakovsky, Richard Strauss, and Mahler. Listening identification will be included on the exam. Exam four.

Part VI

Modern and post-modern Music. With the many eclectic styles in the 20th and 21st century, this era will be approached historically by style. After an introduction of Impressionism, twentieth century stylistic characteristics will include primitivism, expressionism, futurism or machine music, experimental music, serial technique, neo nationalism, neo romanticism, and neo classicism. The avant garde will include ultra rational, indeterminate, aleatory, as well as quotation music and minimalism. There will be no listening identification for this period.

Final Exam

The final exam will be an extensive comprehensive listening exam where you will hear music which you have never heard in class. You will be required to identify the period in which it was written and provide a reason for your choice. There will also be 10-12 questions covering Part VI.

THECB Core Requirements

Synthesis Exam

At the end of the semester, you will be given a final listening exam containing 10 excerpts from music which you have never heard in class. The excerpts will be taken from music written during the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, and Romantic Periods. Over the course of the semester, the stylistic traits will have already been presented and illustrated with musical examples. You will be expected to learn the identifying characteristics of each period and you will be tested on them after each period is covered.

On this final listening exam, you will need to synthesize both factual knowledge and aural knowledge to specifically identify the period that each work was written and then to support your reason for selecting that particular period by writing a short paragraph explaining what you heard or why you determined which period each listening example belonged. You will be expected to include specific stylistic characteristics of each period covered in class in a coherent manner, accurate, and clear manner.

You will receive two grades for this exam. One grade will be based on the accuracy of your identification and response. The other grade will be based on how well you support your answers according to the Critical Thinking Value Rubric and the Written Communication Value Rubric, both attached to this syllabus.

Copyright Analysis Project

Even though the copyright law has always prohibited unauthorized duplication of copyrighted sound recordings, prior to the advent of the compact disc, the copy was significantly inferior to the original recording. With an increase of 3 db of noise per copy, there was no demand for illegal copies. Those who were interested in the quality of sound, rarely accepted an inferior recording. During the last two decades of the twentieth century however, the advent of digital music made it possible for an individual not only to copy a recording but to make an exact replication of it; copies were indistinguishable from the original. By the late 1980’s, the means to produce counterfeit copies became readily available to consumers. Thus, the demand for cheaper (or free) replicated recordings soared while causing a significant loss of revenue for the rightful copyright owners.

When Ipods and computers enabled an individual to download music, a publisher or recording company gained the capability to track their protected copyrighted work. Not only could downloads be tracked but some counterfeit copies often could also be traced back to the original download. Because of the significant capital lost in counterfeit replications, copyright owners have chosen to aggressively pursue those who steal their work. As a result, Congress, lawyers, and judges have become involved. Institutions such as the University of Texas at Austin and businesses such as Napster have been sued for copyright violations involving unauthorized copying and/or dissemination of copyrighted material. And, closer to home, several decades ago, a young airman from Shepherd likewise was sued for copyright violations.

Although the chance of being caught is small, the penalties under federal law are substantial and you need to be aware that those who violate federal law are subject to criminal as well as civil prosecution when downloads are illegally circulated.

On the other hand, there are those who feel strongly that, once they purchase anything, they are entitled to use it or share it as they see fit. Even though music does not kill, one only needs to think of firearms and how they are regulated to see the flaw in assuming that one has the complete right to do whatever they choose with anything they purchase.

To make matters more confusing, we do observe musicians today who give away their music through free MP3’s and videos on in the hopes of future ticket sales to live concerts.  High school choirs and bands freely sell recordings of their concerts without paying royalties to the copyright owners. And there are those who hold up a cell phone and record a concert with usually no consequences.

As far as I know, none of us have passed the bar exam and have no right to issue legal advice but because this is a serious social responsibility that goes beyond ethics, I would like to hear your opinion, both pro and con, expressed in class.

The class will be divided into 6 or more groups which will meet outside of class to select a topic to research, to decide who will research what aspect, to discuss their views as a group. Your group will then be required to publish a two page type-written report for the class (providing copies for everyone in the class) or to present a10-15 minute oral report to the class. Topics will include the following

  1. A summary of US Code, Title 17, sections 101, 107, 108

  2. A summary of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

  3. A summary of your opinion regarding the necessity for the protection of property rights for copyright owners – (why is it important for musicians and non-musicians?)

  4. A summary of what does and does not constitute “fair use”

  5. A summary of your opinion on whether there are differences in the need for copyright protection based on different genres of music and/or on artists

  6. A summary of the penalty for civil and criminal prosecution

  7. A summary of the opinion of who wins and who loses with copyright

With prior approval, your group may also suggest additional topics of your own for research (such as the impact of recent case law). I will meet with each group once outside of class if your group will reserve a study area in a classroom in the Fain Fine Arts Building or library or in Christ Academy when completed.

Grading for this project will be based on the Team Work Value Rubric and the Oral Communication Value Rubric or the Written Communication Value Rubric attached to this syllabus. Two grades will be necessary in this assessment: my grading of your work and your combined grading of each other. In each case, the Rubrics will be followed.


Attendance (3 or less absences) 30 points

Four assigned Listening Exercises in the Text 40 points

Exams (best three out of four exams) 300 points

Final Critical Listening Exam 130 points

Social Responsibility, Teamwork, Communication Skills Project 50x2= 100 points

600 points total

A= 90-100% (540-600 points); B=80-89% (480-539 points); C=70-79% (420-479 points);

D=60-69% (360-419 points); F= 0-59% (0-418 points)

Basis for faculty initiated drop with a grade of F (or final grade of F without being dropped):

Dishonest work:” submitting any work for a grade which is not the student’s own---including, but not limited to, plagiarism and using unauthorized “reference” material during exams [incl. copying off of a neighbor’s exam]. The use or view of cell phones or electronic devices during an exam will be considered “dishonest.” Other than this statement, no warning will be issued.

Absences in excess of 9 mwf classes (3 weeks of class!).

A student dropped by a faculty member for the reasons defined above has the right to an appeal to the Student Conduct Committee through the Dean of Student’s Office.


Privacy Statement

Federal Privacy laws prohibit faculty from releasing information about a student’s academic progress to other students or to those outside the university. In this class, no information regarding your grades, exams, or confidential matters can be released to friends or relatives. Friends may not pick up your exams and exam grades cannot be posted unless you provide a confidential 4 digit code on the first exam.

Special Needs Statement

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information that needs sharing, or if you need special accommodations in the event that the building must be evacuated, please register with the Disability Support Services and make an appointment with the professor as soon as possible.

Academic Dishonesty

Submitting any work which is not the student’s own, including but not limited to plagiarism; using or permitting others to use unauthorized material during exams; copying, providing, receiving or using exam questions from other students during exams; or viewing any electronic device during exams will be grounds for an F in the course.

Conduct Statement

A student may be dropped from the course and/or assigned an F in this course if their classroom behavior, including talking, is disruptive.

Academic Changes

The instructor reserves the right to adjust or cancel assignments as the course progresses.

In that I am not too swift in responding to voice mail, thank you for leaving messages only by email and avoiding voice mail altogether.


Gary Lewis

397-4185 (office)

767-8965 (home)

Not to be used on student syllabus but on submission for acceptance into core

Academic Freedom

It should be noted that I am contractually entitled to academic freedom in the area which relates to my training and expertise. My training is entirely in applied music, i.e. performance, however as I am an associate professor in music, the University considers that my area of expertise is music. In this capacity, I am entitled to teach and to grade in assigned music classes without interference. Further, and specifically, I am not qualified as an attorney and cannot make legal decisions or provide legal advice. Additionally, although I will follow through with my syllabus requirements, I am not qualified to make decisions in grading written or oral communication or in grading social responsibility. I will use what I believe is common sense, however if challenged by a student in grading content outside of my field, I will not have the expertise or be able to defend my grade and, after consultation with colleagues, I will adjust the grade accordingly.

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