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Unit Overview


This unit introduces students to the study of Western art music in its musical, historical and cultural settings. It establishes basic concepts and perspectives for musicological enquiry and proceeds to a detailed study of the development of the music of the Renaissance and Baroque periods—the years from c.1450 to 1750—a period that witnessed the flowering of vocal and choral musical genres such as the polyphonic mass, motet, anthem and madrigal and the early development of opera, oratorio, cantata as well as independent instrumental forms such as sonata, concerto and solo keyboard music, and a variety of influential dance forms. This rich period of musical development culminated in the music of two of Western art music's most celebrated composers, namely J. S. Bach and Handel. The unit is designed to provide both analytical and critical perspectives of the musical literature of the period through both broad cultural and contextual study as well as stylistic and structural analysis of representative repertoire. This unit is a compulsory unit in the Music Studies major in the Bachelor of Arts degree. It is also open to students enrolled in other majors and degree pathways who fulfil the prerequisites and who have an interest in music.

6 points
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) demonstrate an initial understanding of the modes of enquiry employed in historical musicology, especially those appropriate to the study of late medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music; (2) understand the basic style characteristics of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, including their development and context within the history of Western art music generally; (3) relate the musical developments of the period to their cultural and social background; and (4) identify the various styles and genres of music from the period.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) essay; (2) listening test; and (3) exam. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr David Symons
Unit rules
any Level 1 Music unit
MUSC1100 Western Art Music (Renaissance and Baroque)
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week
tutorials: 1 hour per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.