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Unit of study_

MCGY2612: Music in the Classical and Romantic Eras

Semester 1, 2021 [Normal day] - Remote

This unit will survey the main lines of musical development between 1750 and 1890, with primary focus on the composition of music, and how this relates to the social and aesthetic currents of the time. The overview given in the lecture series will be reinforced by detailed focus on individual works in the tutorials from both historical and analytical perspectives. Topics will include the emergence and codification of classical form and syntax; style and genre in the works of the first Viennese School; Beethoven's 'heroic' and 'late' styles; national opera traditions; symphonic poem and music drama; nationalism and exoticism; and the conflict between progress and tradition.

Unit details and rules

Unit code MCGY2612
Academic unit
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge

The ability to read musical notation and basic knowledge of music theory.

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator David Larkin,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Take-home short release) Type D final exam Final exam
Written examination
25% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Small test Mini quizzes
Online test
15% Multiple weeks 15 mins each
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Tutorial assignment
Written assessment
15% Week 05 800 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment Essay
Written assessment
30% Week 08 1700-2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Participation Tutorial participation
15% Weekly Weekly involvement
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO3 LO2
Type D final exam = Type D final exam ?

Assessment summary

Essay: Students will be required to write one essay of between 1,700 and 2,000 words during the semester. The due date will depend on the the essay question chosen (for further information, see Canvas). Students may wish to discuss the choice of essay question and the resources needed with their tutors.

Tutorial assignment: Students will be required to find two academic texts relating to a musical work of their own choosing and then to write an 800-word reflection on how these texts have enhanced their understanding and appreciation of the work by Week 4.

Tutorial participation: Students are expected to have listened to the set work with the score before each tutorial, and to contribute actively to tutorial discussion by preparing answers to the Tutorial Questions on the set work (these will be made available on the unit website at least a week in advance of class).

Final exam: There will be a final two-hour exam for this unit in June. The exam will consist of several questions, each requiring a short essay to answer. Analysis of one of the set-works will be required (from a short-list provided beforehand).

Mini quizzes: Every second week a short online quiz will be made available to students, testing their knowledge of the contents covered in the previous two weeks (lectures, tutorials, assigned readings from textbook). Aural and/or visual recognition of set works may also be tested.

Further information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The questions on the mini-quizzes are mostly factual rather than evaluative in nature.

The tutorial participation mark will be based on a student’s attendance and involvement in class discussion over the course of the semester. The emphasis will be on the quality rather than necessarily the quantity of comments.

The final exam will be graded according to the quantity, relevance and accuracy of the information supplied, with the quality of written expression of lesser importance.

The essay and tutorial assignment will be marked according to the SCM academic grade descriptors, which are as follows:

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Demonstrates high level of initiative in research and reading; sophisticated critical analysis of evidence; high level engagement with theoretical issues, innovative use of reading/research material and impressive command of underlying debates and assumptions; properly documented and written with style, originality and precision.


75 - 84

Demonstrates initiative in research and wide, appropriate reading; complex understanding of question and ability to critically review material in relation to underlying assumptions and values; analyses material in relation to empirical and theoretical contexts; properly documented; clear, well-developed structure and argument with some signs of literary style.


65 - 74

Evidence of broader understanding than pass level; offers synthesis with some critical evaluation of material; coherent argument using a range of relevant evidence; some evidence of independent thought, good referencing. A high credit (70-74) shows some evidence of ability to problematise and think conceptually.


50 - 64

Written work meets basic requirements in terms of reading/research; relevant material; tendency to descriptive summary rather than critical argument; makes a reasonable attempt to avoid paraphrasing; reasonably coherent structure; often has weaknesses in particular areas, especially in terms of narrow or underdeveloped treatment of question; acceptable documentation.


0 - 49

Work may fail for any or all of the following reasons: Unacceptable paraphrasing; irrelevance of content; poor spelling; poor presentation; grammar or structure so sloppy it cannot be understood; failure to demonstrate understanding of content; insufficient or overlong word length.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Towards the classical style Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 02 Haydn: servitude and mastery Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 03 Mozart: classical perfection Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 04 Operatic currents in the late eighteenth century Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 05 Beethoven: the heroic style and alternatives Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 06 At the boundaries: late Beethoven and Schubert Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 07 Romantic ideas: music, nature and the other arts Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 08 Paris 1824-1848: fantasy and spectacle Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 09 Bel canto and the Italian stage Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 11 The New Germans: symphonic poem and music drama Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 12 Nationalist and exotic voices Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 13 Tradition, religion and musical holy wars Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6

Attendance and class requirements

(1) Students are required to be in attendance at the correct time and place of any formal or informal examinations. Non-attendance on any grounds insufficient to claim special consideration will result in the forfeiture of marks associated with the assessment. Participation in a minimum number of assessment items may be included in the requirements specified for a unit of study.

(2) Students are expected to attend a minimum of 90% of timetabled activities for a unit of study, unless granted exemption by the Dean, Head of School or faculty member most concerned. The Dean, Head of School or faculty member most concerned may determine that a student fails a unit of study because of inadequate attendance. Alternatively, at their discretion, they may set additional assessment items where attendance is lower than 90%.

(3) In addition to the rule above, full (100%) and punctual attendance is a requirement in all activities where students have a role as active participants in the class or activity. Active participation includes situations where the student’s contribution is to perform, rehearse or direct rehearsals in a small or large ensemble, or to give seminar and tutorial papers or presentations or undertake assessment tasks. Active participation also includes all one-to-one studio teaching and supervision. Except in cases of illness or misadventure, failure to attend activities or classes where a student is an active participant will be seen as failure to meet the requirements of the unit of study.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

The set text for this unit of study is:

Burkholder, J. Peter, Donald J Grout and Claude V. Palisca. A History of Western Music. 10th edition. New York: Norton, 2019 (the 9th edition (2014) is also acceptable)

The sections from this text assigned for weekly reading are indicated on Canvas

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. describe the main lines of musical development between 1750 and 1890
  • LO2. recognise and analyse a number of highly significant musical works from the classical and romantic eras
  • LO3. show awareness of various critical paradigms which have openly or covertly shaped music historiography and criticism
  • LO4. trace links between music and the other arts, philosophy and the history of ideas
  • LO5. display your awareness of best practices in scholarly research and conventions governing academic writing
  • LO6. engage respectfully but critically with the views of others

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Four of the tutorial set works have changed since the unit was last offered. The assessment has been forced to change owing to pandemic-induced restrictions on classes and exams. No other substantive changes have been made since this unit was last offered.

More information can be found on Canvas


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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