Music (MUSI) 268

Classical Music: A Historical Introduction (Revision 2)

MUSI 268 course cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online (with eTextbook)

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: None

Precluded Course: HUMN 269. MUSI 268 is a cross-listed course—a course listed under 2 different disciplines—with HUMN 268. MUSI 268 may not be taken for credit by students who have obtained credit for HUMN 268 or HUMN 269.

Centre: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

MUSI 268 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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Welcome to MUSIC 268: Classical Music: A Historical Introduction. The principal aim of this course is to review the fundamental elements of Western art music. We begin by obtaining a good grasp of the key elements of music, and it is equally important to become comfortable with the meaning and use of the musical vocabulary introduced.


This course is divided into the following fifteen units.

  • Unit: 1 The Elements and Origins of Music
  • Unit: 2 Medieval Music
  • Unit: 3 Music in the Renaissance Era
  • Unit: 4 Baroque Era I: Early and Middle Baroque
  • Unit: 5 Baroque Era II: Late Baroque
  • Unit: 6 The Classical Period I: Style and Composers
  • Unit: 7 The Classical Period II: Forms, Genres, and the Transition to Romanticism
  • Unit: 8 Early Romantic Music
  • Unit: 9 Opera in the Nineteenth Century
  • Unit: 10 Musical Nationalism
  • Unit: 11 Late Romanticism
  • Unit: 12 The Modernist Revolution I: Verismo, Impressionism, Exoticism/Expressionism, Neo-Classicism, and Serialism
  • Unit: 13 The Modernist Revolution II: Eastern Europe, Russia, England and the USA
  • Unit: 14 Postmodernism in Late Twentieth-Century Music
  • Unit: 15 After Postmodernism: A Return to Nature and Religion


To receive credit for MUSI 268, you must complete and submit the following five components. In order to pass the course, you must achieve a course composite mark of at least D (50 percent), and obtain a minimum of 50 per cent on the final examination. The recommended weighting of the five components of that composite mark are as follows.

Activity   Total
15 posts to the unit discussion boards Due: At the end of each unit 15%
15 completed self-tests Due: At the end of each unit 15%
Written assignment 1: short essay Due: After Unit 7 20%
Written assignment 2: long essay Due: After Unit 15 25%
Final examination 25%
Total 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

Wright, Craig. Listening to Western Music, 7th edition. Boston, MA: Thomson Schirmer, 2014.

A print version of the eText may be available for purchase from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided on the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.

Other Resources

The online course materials include the following:

Music 268: Classical Music: A Historical Introduction. Course Information. Athabasca University, 2014.

Music 268: Classical Music: A Historical Introduction. Study Guide. Athabasca University, 2014.

Student Manual. Athabasca, AB: Athabasca University.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the MUSI 286 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least C- (60 percent) on the challenge examination. The two parts of the exam must be written on the same day.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, July 23, 2014.

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