Western Music: Napoleon to 9/11

MUSC 102/3.0

The history of Western art music from 1750 to the present. The course focuses on musical styles, genres, and composers, as well as historical and social contextual considerations.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of MUSC 102, students will be able to:

  • Recognize and define musical concepts and elements in Western music through quizzes and active learning activities.
  • Compare and contrast musical elements and intentions through active learning activities.
  • Identify persons, events, and themes critical to the development of Western music through quizzes and individual work.
  • Describe the aesthetic interrelationships between the arts (music, art, architecture, dance).
  • Articulate the social, cultural, and historical influences that shaped the musical genres covered in the course through individual and group work.


The Baroque and Classical Styles

  • Renaissance and Baroque Aesthetics
  • Mozart and Haydn

The Nineteenth-Century

  • Beethoven
  • Conservative Romanticism
  • High Romanticism

The Twentieth-Century

  • Modernism
  • The Avant-garde
  • The Rise of Jazz and Rock
  • Minimalism and Ambience

The Twenty-First-Century

  • New Genres for Music: Film Soundtracks and Video Games
  • The Digital Age


This is an introduction to Western art music from approximately 1750 to the present day. We will touch upon some of the more prominent genres, styles, and composers of Western art music, also known as “classical music”, and articulate the ways in which music has interacted both with society and the other arts, such as drama and literature. We will also explore the way in which music impacts and is impacted by the social and political world so by the end ofthis course you will able to articulate the ways inwhich, for example, Beethoven’s music owed as much to Napoleon and his impact on society as it did toBeethoven’s own musical aesthetic.
MUSC 102 is an online course, students of all levels of musical ability are welcome and previous musical experience is not necessary, though it will benefit those students without any experience to introduce themselves to some of the basics of music theory and notation.


Quizzes (5)25%
E-portfolio assignment20%
Forum Discussions (2)10%
Group music analysis20%
Final online exam25%


I have a PhD in musicology from the University of Toronto for my work on English folk song and theories of aesthetics in the early twentieth-century. I have taught at the University of Toronto and Ryerson University.  Although I do a lot of “academic” music, I am also a practicing guitarist with a background in classical, jazz, and folk music. I live in Toronto and balance my academic life with a career as a freelance writer specializing in corporate and technical communications.

Time Commitment

Students can expect to spend approximately 9-10 hours a week (108-120 hours per term) in study/reading and online activity for MUSC 102.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.


Moodle is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into Moodle to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the Moodle site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a good-quality computer (Windows XP/Vista/7, Pentium III, or Mac OS X 10.5, G4 or G5 processor, 256 MB RAM) with a high-speed internet connection, soundcard, speakers, and microphone, and up-to-date versions of free software (Explorer/Firefox, Java, Flash, Adobe Reader). See also Preparing For Your Course.


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Dates and Deadlines section.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for 2014-15 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Canadian students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $605.31; for a 6.0-unit course, $1210.62. See also Tuition and Payment.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.