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Listening in Context II

Course Code: MUSC 1221
Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Department: Music
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: Winter
course overview

Continuation of the development of skills for active listening to music, with emphasis on the elements of music as they appear in selected historical, geographical, and cultural contexts. Music will be discussed in relation to the arts, belief systems, politics, society, economics, and technology. This course will focus on Western art music from the rise of Modernism to present, the music of various world cultures, as well as popular music, including jazz, rock, film music and contemporary developments. Students will occasionally work with scores, but listening skills will be emphasized.

Course Content

  1. 20th/21st century developments in Western art music (including neo-tonal, atonal, aleatoric, electronic, etc.):
    • Early Modernism in the works of Debussy, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Bartók, and Ives
    • Music in Mid Century, including composers such as Cage, Varèse, and Copland
    • Into the 21st Century, including composers such as Glass and Adams
  2. Canadian music:
    • Colonialism, internationalism, and nationalism as represented in the works of composers such as Willan, Champagne, Weinzweig, Somers, and Coulthard
    • Innovation in the works of composers such as Schafer, Truax, and Louie
  3. Music of various representative world cultures such as the following:
    • native North American, including Canadian west coast and/or Inuit
    • South American, including Peruvian and/or Brazilian
    • European folk music, including Celtic, Balkan, and/or Klezmer
    • Middle Eastern, including Persian, Islamic and/or Jewish
    • Far Eastern, including Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and/or Javanese
    • North African and/or Sub-Saharan
  4. Jazz Styles and Forms:
    • styles such as ragtime, vocal blues, Dixieland, big-band swing, bebop, cool jazz, free jazz, and jazz-rock fusion
    • composers/arrangers and/or improvisers/performers such as Scott Joplin, Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson, Charlie Parker, and Miles Davis
    • forms such as 12-bar blues and 32-bar song form
  5. Popular Styles:
    • styles and/or genres such as Tin Pan Alley, musical theater, country and western, rhythm and  blues, rock-and-roll, Gospel, Motown, close harmony, folk-rock, acid-rock, reggae, Latin,  Afro-Cuban, Latin, pop, punk, heavy metal, rap, hip hop, alternative, bhangra and film music
    • composers and/or performers such as Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Little Richard, Elvis Presley,  The Beatles, Beach Boys, Aretha Franklin, The Supremes, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Bob  Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Carlos Santana, Iron Maiden, Sex Pistols, John Williams, and Tan Dun

Methods of Instruction

The lecture time will be spent in the analysis and discussion of and learning the musical materials that form the content of this course. In addition, pertinent information with respect to the cultural, social, and political background will be introduced at appropriate times. As much time as possible will be devoted to listening during the lecture, but all lectures will prescribe listening assignments of the music studied in class and other similar compositions.

Means of Assessment

Listening/written test on 20th/21st Century Western art music 20%
Listening/written test on World Music 20%
Listening/written test on Jazz 20%
Listening/written test on Popular Music 20%
Short projects (minimum of four) 20%
Total  100%

Learning Outcomes

The successful students should be able to recognize aurally: 

  1. Styles, genres and forms in Western art music 
  2. Specific compositions and their composers
  3. The elements of music in selected compositions as they relate to their specific historical, geographical, and cultural contexts
  4. Broad aspects of style in various types of jazz, popular, and world music

course prerequisites

MUSC 1121  or permission of the instructor                              

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.