MUS 121 Music in Society
MUS 121 Music in Society
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MUS 121 Music in Society

MUS 121 Music in Society

Course Title:  MUS 121: Music in Society

Course Description

Explores the language of music through an introduction to basic elements, forms and styles across time. Acquaints students with composers' lives and influential creative individualities, discovering representative works and milestones in western society. Develops techniques for listening analytically and critically. Reviews historical development and significance of art music within the context of evolving societal structures.  Lecture 3 hours. 3 credits.

General Course Purpose

Understand and recognize the role of art music within the context of society throughout Western history. Enhance knowledge of significant musicians and musical works. Identify various components within a composition or performance that influence the overall listening experience.

Course Prerequisites/Corequisites 


Course Objectives

Upon completing the course, the student will be able to:


  • Effectively communicate music observations through written and/or oral communication

Critical Thinking

  • Identify and explain how various elements of a composition (melody, harmony, rhythm, pitch, timbre and texture) contribute to personal perception

  • Evaluate a music performance (live, audio, or video) by analyzing various components/evidence that influenced viewpoint

Cultural and Social Understanding

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the role of music in society

  • Recognize/describe how music influences individuals and/or society

  • Recognize/describe how individual and societal factors influence music creation

Personal Development

  • Augment listening skills through assignments/assessments designed to listen analytically and critically to music

  • Demonstrate the development of receptivity to music from different historical periods

  • Cultivate personal goals related to music listening, participation, or performance attendance

Elements of Music

  • Demonstrate a knowledge of the basic elements of music, e.g., unity and variety, pitch, dynamics, timbre, duration and texture

Building Blocks of Sound

  • Identify types of notes and note names on a score

  • Identify notes on a keyboard

  • Identify instruments from the basic instrument groups (strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion, keyboard) as well as vocal timbres

Structures of Music

  • Demonstrate understanding of basic forms and structures of music, e.g.,binary and ternary forms, sonata form, theme and variations

  • Recognize the form of a given piece of music

Historical Periods and Composers

  • Demonstrate knowledge of distinguishing aspects of music history periods

  • Identify various composers and their works 

  • Recognize historical-social context of each music history period

Major Topics to be Included

Personal Development

Elements of Music

Building Blocks of Sound

Structures of Music

Historical Periods and Composers

Applicable School(s)
All Virginia Community Colleges
Course Content Summaries
List of Attachment(s)