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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jonathan W Bernard
MUSIC 527
Seattle Campus

History of Theory

Renaissance, baroque, early classic.

Class description

This, the second of three chronologically arranged courses in the history of theory, covers approximately the years 1600-1800. Topics of principal interest are: (1) the history of dissonance treatment; (2) the rise of figured bass as a tool for composition, performance, and instruction; (3) the shift from modes to keys; (4) the rise of species counterpoint; (5) the development of theories of harmony; (6) the beginnings of the theory of form.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

This course is taught as a seminar, with general participation by all members expected. Much of class time will be devoted to discussing the assigned reading (see below).

Recommended preparation

The history of theory courses (Music 526, 527, 528) may be taken separately and/or out of order; none is prerequisite to the others. For 527, some 400-level study of tonal music is recommended but not required (consult with instructor if in doubt as to preparation).

Class assignments and grading

Largely reading of excerpts from 17th- and 18th-century treatises on theory and composition, in translation. Students will have rotating responsibility for summarizing the assigned reading for the week, opening it to general discussion. In addition, two substantial analytical assignments will be made, with due dates evenly spaced during the quarter.

(1) class participation; (2) summaries of assigned reading; (3) the two analytical assignments; (4) a final essay/project, to be announced toward the end of the quarter.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Jonathan W Bernard
Date: 11/20/2008