Collin College

Faculty Syllabus – Fall 2008


Course Number: MUSI1306.BX3
Course Title: Music Appreciation
Course Description: Understanding music through the study of cultural periods, major composers, and musical elements.  For non-music majors only.  Music majors must take MUSI 1307.  3 Credit hours.
Course Credit Hours: 3 Credit hours: Lecture Hours: 3 Lab Hours: 0

College Repeat Policy:  A student may repeat this course only once after receiving a grade, including “W”.

Course Delivery Method: Blackboard 

Instructor’s Information:

Instructor’s Name:  Dr. Rebecca Ringer

Office Number: In case of emergencies, call the Fine Arts Office: 972-881-5107

Office Hours: Live Chat by appointment – give 24 hours notice

Contact Information: Phone: 972.881.5107; Email: and through Blackboard; In case of emergencies, call the Fine Arts Office: 972-881-5107

Class Information:

Class Meeting Times:  Online

Class Meeting Location: N/A


Wright, Craig.  Listening to Music with accompanying 6-CD-set.  Belmont, Ca.: Thomson Schirmer, 2008. Fifth Edition. 

ISBN: Here is the link to purchase your textbook.  The book comes bundled with the appropriate CDs and ThompsonNow.  Do NOT purchase the book through the bookstore because you do not need a clicker.


See Web page for details regarding computer needs.


Student Learning Outcomes:  This course conducts a broad overview of music that includes the study of Western art music – the six major eras, composers, their works and musical styles.  This class is designed to give the student the vocabulary and critical listening skills needed to develop an eclectic taste in music.  Students are expected to do the reading assignments in the text, listen to the designated pieces, complete all written assignments, and participate in active discussions about the music. 

After completing the course, students will be able to:

·         identify the style period of a piece of Western art music after hearing it

·         articulate and discuss the traits of any of the major eras of Western art music

·         identify particular instruments playing in an orchestral or chamber piece


Course Requirements:

·         Do all of the required reading and listening preparatory work

·         Complete all written assignments

·         Complete all exams

·         Attend one Western Classical Art music concert or recital

·         Write Concert Critique

·         Log on to Blackboard twice a week for news and class information

·         Complete part of your class participation requirement by posting twice each week on the discussion board 

·         Contact me immediately if you are having problems or if you have questions

Method of Evaluation:

There will be a total of 9 Assignments + a Concert Essay during the course of the semester.  Each assignment, with the exception of Assignment 1 and Concert Essay, is worth 80 points.  Assignment 1 and the Concert Essay will be worth 100 points.

In addition to completing assignments, you are required to post twice on the discussion board (details following the Schedule) each week there is an assignment due for a total of 20 points (Postings are not required the week Assignment 1 is due but this week is a “practice week” and may be a good time to practice your posting skills!).  The postings for credit (20 points) will begin Week 3.  Therefore, the weeks there is an assignment due, you will have the opportunity to earn 100 points: 80 (assignment) + 20 (discussion posting).  During weeks that there is no assignment due and the week that the Concert Essay is due, you may post on the discussion board to keep the conversation going but not for credit.

1000 possible points are available.

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90-100% = A, 80-89% = B, 70-79% = C, 60-69% = D, 0-59% = F.

You must attend one live concert that programs Western Classical Art music at some point during the course of the current semester and write a concert critique that is at least 3 pages in length. 


Last day to withdraw:  See Semester Calendar ( 


Religious Holy Days: please refer to the current Collin Student Handbook

ADA Statement: It is the policy of Collin County Community College to provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals who are students with disabilities. This College will adhere to all applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations and guidelines with respect to providing reasonable accommodations as required to afford equal educational opportunity. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the ACCESS office, SCC-G200 or 972.881.5898; PRC F118 or 972-377-1758 (V/TTD: 972.881.5950) in a timely manner to arrange for appropriate accommodations.

Academic Ethics: The College District may initiate disciplinary proceedings against a student accused of scholastic dishonesty. Scholastic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, statements, acts, or omissions related to applications for enrollment or the award of a degree, and/or the submission as one’s own work material that is not one’s own. Scholastic dishonesty may involve, but is not limited to, one or more of the following acts: cheating, plagiarism, collusion, use of annotated texts or teacher’s editions, and/or falsifying academic records.

Plagiarism is the use of an author’s words or ideas as if they were one’s own without giving credit to the source, including, but not limited to, failure to acknowledge a direct quotation.

Cheating is the willful giving or receiving of information in an unauthorized manner during an examination, illicitly obtaining examination questions in advance, copying computer or Internet files, using someone else’s work for the assignments as if it were one’s own, or any other dishonest means of attempting to fulfill the requirements of a course.

Collusion is intentionally aiding or attempting to aid another in an act of scholastic dishonesty, including but not limited to, providing a paper or project to another student; providing an inappropriate level of assistance; communicating answers to a classmate during an examination; removing tests or answer sheets from a test site, and allowing a classmate to copy answers. Collusion also includes working together on assignments.  Do your own individual work.


If you are caught cheating in this course (this includes but is not limited to copying information off internet sites and turning in the work as your own – EVEN ONE SENTENCE, copying work from classmates and not doing your own work, copying text from program notes or books and turning it in as your own, NOT citing sources that you use for assignments other than our textbook, turning in your notes “by mistake” that are straight from an internet source instead of turning in your “real” paper, copying from the internet and then stating that you “didn’t know” that was considered plagiarism, etc.), your name will be submitted to the Dean of Students.  If you are found guilty of plagiarism by the Dean of Students you will receive an F in the course.  By being enrolled in this class, you agree to the terms of this syllabus and agree to the terms of the Scholastic Dishonesty policy stated here.  Know that I submit all of your written assignments to






**Due dates will not change for any reason**


LTMListening to Music, Fifth Edition, Craig Wright (your textbook)


            You are required to listen to all of the music that is contained within the chapter(s) assigned each week.  The pages that contain the Listening Guides  give you valuable information including composer’s name, title of piece, where to find the piece on the CDs, and may include, if necessary, text translation, genre, year piece was performed, movement of piece, and helpful guides to rhythm, melody, harmony, color, texture and form.  All of this information will help you listen to this music actively instead of passively. 



Assignments – This column gives you the assignment-number and the due date.  Assignments are due at midnight on the date due.  ALWAYS SEND ANSWERS/ESSAYS TO ME IN THE BODY OF YOUR EMAIL (not as an attachment – no attachments will ever be opened) to Never send answers/essays through Blackboard.  Grades for assignments are generally posted by Friday at midnight of each week.  Assignments are accepted late with a 20-point-per-day deduction.



Beginning Date




August 25

Elements of Music (2-67) Middle Ages/Renaissance (76-93)


·        Also, familiarize yourself with the basics of active listening and listen to all of the examples in the Part I of your textbook.  Find some of the earliest known music in Part II.  This is a week for you to become familiar with the vocabulary and concepts that we will use throughout the semester.  Use the discussion board for questions and comments.


September 1

Early Baroque (110-129)

 Assignment 1 due Sunday, September 7 at midnight. 




September 8



Late Baroque (142-158)

 Assignment 2 due Sunday, September 14 at midnight – this assignment is worth 80 points – your participation on the discussion board is worth 20 points


September 15

The Classical Period up to Beethoven (172-229)



September 22

Ludwig van Beethoven (230-249)

Assignment 3 due Sunday, September 28 at midnight


September 29

Romanticism:  The Art Song (252-274)

Assignment 4 due Sunday, October 5 at midnight


October 6

Romanticism:  Program Music and Piano Music (275-294)

Assignment 5 due October 12 at midnight


October 13

19th Century Opera (295-316)



October 20

The end of the 19th century: Music and Nationalism and Late Romantic Orchestral Music (317-336)

Assignment 6 due Sunday, October 26 at midnight


October 27

The 20th Century:  Impressionism and Exoticism (338-364)

Assignment 7 due Sunday, November 2 at midnight


November 3

Modernism in Music:  Stravinsky and Schoenberg (365-382)

Assignment 8 due Sunday, November 9 at midnight


November 10

Modernism to Postmodernism (383-414)



November 17

Blues and Early Jazz (418-430)

Assignment 9 due Sunday, November 23 at midnight.


November 24 (Thanksgiving week)

Postwar Jazz, Tin Pan Alley, the Broadway Musical, and Rock (431-447)



December 1


. Concert Essay Due Sunday, December 7 at midnight.


December 8

Final Exam Week

Happy Holidays!



Assignment 1


Experience Essay


Due:  Week 2, Sunday, at midnight.  Email this assignment and all of your assignments in the body of your email to:  I will not open attachments, and I do not grade assignments sent my Blackboard email. 


Purpose: (1) For the student to describe and reflect on some personal experience that relates directly to music (an experience at a concert or other musical performance; an experience with a song, etc.).  (2) For the professor to gain an impression of the backgrounds and interests of the class members.


Length: Two pages, typed in a 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced with 1” margins. (Type your assignment this way and then cut and paste the assignment into the body of your email).


Title: Be creative – this does not mean that your title is “Be Creative” – it means that you decide a creative title that fits the general point of your essay.


Directions: Pick a particular experience from your life that relates to music, imagine the moment in which it occurred, and reflect on the nature of the experience and why it is important or personally relevant to you.  Try to convey that experience as vividly as possible in your own words, as if you wanted the reader to be able to share in it vicariously.


Note: This is not intended to be a formal or technical essay, and you are not required to use any of the vocabulary encountered in the first few days of this course.  Rather, it is to be an imaginative, personal communication that offers you an opportunity to reflect on the role music has played in your life’s experiences to date.  Even though it is an informal assignment, please spell-check and proofread your paper.


Class Participation (20 points per week)


Each week there is an assignment due, you are required to respond to a piece or several pieces of music by writing a paragraph and posting this paragraph on the discussion board.  Your post must be in your own words.  Do not copy information out of the book or Internet sites.  Your post must be from YOU and YOUR reaction to the piece of music.  It may deal with the piece of music technically (some of the issues that you will read about in the first few chapters) or your post may be an emotional response to the music.


In addition, you must RESPOND to a post that I make about the readings/listenings or to a post that one of your colleagues makes about the music.  Your response must be 2-3 sentences in length and must be in your own words.  If you use outside sources, cite these sources in your post.


This part of the class will take the place of discussions we would have had if this had been a “live” class.  This gives you a chance to interact with your colleagues, the subject matter, and me.


Therefore, to receive full credit (100 points) during the weeks that assignments are due, you must post twice – once to initiate a conversation about a piece of music and a second time to respond to one of my posts or a post from one of your colleagues.  These two posts must be made by SATURDAY AT 5PM each week to count toward your 20 points for the week.  Try to make your posts toward the beginning of the week so that others have a chance to respond.  If everyone posts at 4:59 p.m. on Saturday, then the point is missed for this part of your grade.  The point is to have a dialogue throughout the week about the music you are studying.


Points earned for posts will be added to your weekly assignment points – I will break them down in an email for you each week.  Each assignment is worth 80 points and the posts are worth 20 points – therefore, each week there is an assignment, you may receive a total of 100 points.



Concert Essay


You are required to attend one live concert this semester and write one concert essay (3 pages).  Papers are due Sunday, December 7.  No late papers will be accepted for any reason.  You may, however turn in your papers early.


You must let me know the concert you plan to attend and receive approval.  This concert must feature Western Art music (not including jazz or popular music) that dates from 1400-present.  You may attend concerts at schools in the area (mostly these concerts are free) or at various halls in Fort Worth or Dallas.  The concert you attend must happen during the semester you are enrolled in this class.  Concerts about which you may write include symphony concerts, choral concerts, early music ensemble concerts, contemporary music concerts, student recitals, faculty recitals, etc.



This assignment is designed to develop your ability to listen critically to music in a live performance environment and to communicate information in a coherent and engaging manner. 



You should have an engaging title that captures the character of the performance.  The content of your essay may include but not be limited to the following:  the music itself (who performed, what did they perform, what can you tell me about the music that was programmed . . .).  Assess the effectiveness of the programming.  How did the selections relate to one another? Describe the stylistic characteristics of each selection – or choose one or two pieces to write about in detail – be creative!  Your discussion of the music is the most important part of this paper – do not pad your paper with unnecessary descriptions or composer-biography.  Compare and contrast the opening and concluding numbers.  How did they relate to the overall programming? If you use any information from the program notes or any other source, make sure you cite it.  If you plagiarize, copy or cheat in any way your paper will be turned in to the Dean of Students.  If you are found guilty of cheating, you will receive an F as your grade and an F in this course.  Your paper will, as usual, be submitted to



At least 3 pages but no more than 4 pages – you will still send paper to me in the body of your email and not as an attachment.



Your grade will be based on:

q  q       q       Content - especially your ability to write about the music and to show your critical/historical thought about music as you discuss the pieces in terms of style, form, texture, color, harmony, melody, and rhythm. 

q  q       q       Mechanics – proof-read your work – spell-check – make sure each sentence and paragraph makes sense.  Your ability to communicate your ideas should not be hindered by carelessness – pay attention to these details so that the reader may enjoy your ideas without being distracted.

q  q       q       Organization

q  q       q       Clarity and quality of thought

q  q       q       Title – the title should not be “Concert Essay,” or “Symphony Concert,” etc.  It should capture your primary impression of the event and the music you heard.

q  q       q       Ability to follow guidelines set up for paper including length, font, margins, etc.


Please avoid the deadly “blow by blow” running account of the concert.  Give an overall account of the event with detailed information about the music and informed opinions.  Please avoid vague, space-filled comments such as “It was nice,” or “the performers wore black” or “The chairs in the recital hall were purple.”


A wonderful opportunity to hear top-notch performers for free or for a minimal fee is at the University of North Texas.  UNT has a new performing arts hall that is absolutely beautiful.  Concerts happen there nearly every evening and on the weekends.  You may find a calendar of events at and the number of the box office is also on this site.  Also, there are wonderful concerts scheduled at Collin County (including the noon recital series!) and other schools in the area.  The first few sentences of your paper give me the details of the concert you attended:  place, time, venue, performers, etc.


Email concert essays to me in the body of your email (not as an attachment) to with the subject line, CONCERT ESSAY.


In addition to the information found above, you may refer to the following information when preparing to write your Concert Essay.  One way to think of this assignment is to think of it as a “Concert Review” – like one you would read in the New York Times from a critic who is going to a concert to actually critique it:

Some of these questions may be inappropriate for the particular performance you attend – but this will give you a starting point. 

A good example of a concert review is one found in a newspaper.  The following is a good example of a Music Review found in the New York Times.  You may see these kinds of reviews by visiting and click on “arts.”  Start reading the Arts section of your newspaper (local – or one online) and read a concert review EVERY DAY.  Get used to how these are written so that you can get the format and style of the writing in your mind.

Music Review | New York Philharmonic

Beethoven, Brash but Contained Top of Form Bottom of Form


Published: September 21, 2007

After a throat-clearing opening night of Dvorak on Tuesday, the New York Philharmonic began its subscription season on Wednesday at Avery Fisher Hall with Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and an odd little postmortem conspiracy between Luigi Boccherini, who died in 1805, and Luciano Berio, dead just these four years.

Skip to next paragraphBoccherini’s “Nocturnal Retreat From Madrid” so fascinated him that he wrote four versions of it, and Berio superimposed a fifth. The listener stands on a city sidewalk, awaits an approaching marching band and follows its progress into the night. In 1780 we have a precursor of, or maybe an inspiration for, later composers like Debussy (“Fêtes”) and Ives (any number of pieces).

Berio gives rococo daintiness the big-band treatment. He widens the soft-loud dynamics of snare and bass drums, makes phrases higher and shriller by octaves, and yet manages to imply a cloudy patina gathered over three centuries. The result is not a palimpsest, because the original surface is still the more legible one. Berio’s buzzes, drones and repeated notes are like a half-transparent film spread over the music.

Lisa Batiashvili, the soloist in Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, crossed and recrossed the line we think of as separating Eastern European Romantic violin playing (big sound, surges of impetuosity) and a more Western reverence for containment and equilibrium. Ms. Batiashvili used her profound physical abilities to invest every tone and every phrase with the maximum of beauty it could bear.

She is given to long cadenzas as self-referential displays. One also noted the occasional lunge beyond the music’s natural momentum. But this is, after all, Beethoven’s most opulent and lyrical composition; its major- minor shifts in the first and last movements never fail to thrill the most jaded ear. Ms. Batiashvili is a splendid, deeply musical young player. She makes the term “controlled impetuosity” almost grammatical. More Classical violinists would kill for that sound, I suspect.

Tchaikovsky is not known for rawness. Indeed his critics (and I am not one) find his Russian-inspired music almost too beautiful for Russia’s good. The “Little Russian” Symphony, his second, ended this program, conducted by Lorin Maazel. Folk music is everywhere in its four movements, also a sense of humor less evident in the breast-beating of the later pieces. Textures are tough, starkly brassy, uncharacteristically dirt-under-the-fingernails. The finale is downright impolite.

To my ears the Philharmonic, brilliant as ever, was devoting its energies and enthusiasms more to the performance of music than to the music itself. Big tuttis, impeccable horn solos and wind ensemble playing were splendidly realized, but I found them oddly lifeless. One was reminded of tourists and their cameras, so absorbed by the photographing of the scene that they don’t see the scene at all.