Syllabus Arlene Caney MUS 103 10 wk

Syllabus Arlene Caney MUS 103 10 wk

Associate Professor, Arlene Caney, Music Department        

Office # M2-12  

Office hours TR ,     and by appointment. (Please knock during office hours if the door is closed).

Phone  (215-751) 8495  E-mail:


Course DescriptionMUS 103 Introduction to Music 3-0-3 This course introduces students to the art and science of listening to music with engagement and understanding, presuming no prior musical knowledge or experience. Students will learn how to listen to music actively and critically, with emphasis on instrumentation, musical form, function, performance practices, cultural influences, and aesthetics. Examples from Western and world music will be used to engage students in discussion and study. Fulfills the American/Global Diversity, Interpretive Studies requirements.

Course Objectives and Learning Outcomes:

“Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

1. Define the basic elements of music (pitch, melody, harmony, rhythm, meter, tone color, dynamics, tempo, consonance, dissonance, texture and form) in order to write a review of an unfamiliar composition, later in the semester, discussing how these elements are applied.”  

2. Students will be able to recognize music examples from sub-Sahara Africa, India, and Japan through gained familiarity with the instrumental and vocal timbres, rhythmic and tonal structures, and the basic musical forms unique to each culture.

3. Through acquired familiarity with musical elements unique to each major Western historical period—Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and “Modern”—students will be able to listen to an unfamiliar piece of Western concert music and place it into its historical context.

4. Students will possess the necessary knowledge and vocabulary to discuss and defend aesthetic judgments about new and unfamiliar music to which they may be exposed


 You do not have to buy  book for this course.  You may download the free online book: Introduction to Music Appreciation by Hansen, Whitehouse and Silverman.  There will be readings assigned to you from this book.

Listening Materials:

Various videos and recordings will be assigned during the semester.  A link to each will be provided.

It is important for students to listen to the musical examples and videos since music is a memory, and you want to listen to examples more than once.

Additional videos

Exploring the World of Music

You will be assigned videos from this series to watch, write about and discuss,  especially when the elements of music are covered. These videos present the elements of world as well as western music and contain great information about music and musical practices.

Most musical examples used in this course are embedded in your lectures and assignments.

Writing for this course  All writing is to be done in the third person.  This is a style that is used in College and professional documents.  It is also to be submitted in 12 point font. and double-spaced.  Here is a link to writing in the third person.


Online Etiquette



There will be weekly graded written assignments as well as graded discussions.  Some weeks will also include graded quizzes.  Each graded assignment will include the total amount of points that one can receive.



C= 70-79%


F= 59% and below

If you do not post to the discussions for two weeks of the course you will be dropped.


Grading Rubrics

All writing will be graded using the following rubric:

It is graded as follows: 1-= F 50% or less, 2= D 65%, 3= C 75%, 4= B 85%, 5=A- 90%, 6=A+ 100%


All discussions will be graded using the following rubric: It is graded as follows:

F= not handed-in 0%, 0=60%=D, 1=75%=C, 2=85%=B, 3=100% A+


Student  Accommodation Procedures

Statement on Disability: Students must be first evaluated by the counselor in the Disability center and give me a copy of the accommodation form during the first week of the semester.


  • Do not plagiarize!   Plagiarism means using someone else's words or
      ideas as though they were your own.  It is the most serious
      academic offense and is grounds for an F. ••



If you have a problem with the Canvas system, there are three ways to get technical help:
  • Use the Help link on the Canvas screen to submit a help request
  • Call the Information Technology Help line 215-496-6000
  • Send an email to



Unit I Voices, Instruments, Elements of Music, Music and Society

Weeks 1 Introduction. What is music? How does it fit into the other humanities and social sciences? The Human Voice as an Instrument (including timbre, dynamics, pitch and range). You Tube examples of vocal cords. Soprano, Contralto, Countertenor, Tenor, Baritone and Bass vocal ranges.  The castrato voice.  You Tube examples of various vocal ranges.

First writing assignment: Write about a favorite style of music and an artist or group who exemplify this style.  Write in the third person. This assignment is to be about one page (350 words), typewritten and double spaced.  Your essay should have an opening paragraph, identify and describe a style, choose and describe  an  artist or group to explain the style and the musical qualities of the performers  Then it will include one work by that artist or group and a description of that work which includes a discussion of the words, instruments, voices and what makes it memorable. In the concluding paragraph It is to include a link to a video example of that work from You Tube.  This is an assignment to check your writing style and begin to teach you how to write about music. It is a required writing assignment. This assignment is due by             , 2018

Instruments of the Western Orchestra and their history.  How and why are instruments divided into categories?  Students will be taught to identify and categorize divisions of instruments and explain how instruments channel vibrations to produce sound. Chart of Western orchestral instruments (Strings, Woodwinds, Brass, Percussion). Oldest instruments (Sachs examples). 

Role of the Conductor (includes a discussion of timbre, dynamics, pitch and range).  Video: The role of the conductor and orchestral divisions.  Video: Timbre

Week 2

Divisions of World Instruments.  Chordophones, Aerophones, Membranophones, Idiophones. Discussion: Comparison of world and western instrument divisions (class discussion).

Elements of Music: Melody (Definitions, components, range and contour, text underlay, form in melody).

Week 3 Harmony (includes texture). Triads.  Active and rest chords. Examples of Western and world melody and harmony. Rhythm (Definition and components including an exploration of simple and compound meter and tempo names). Metrenome.  Unusual aspects of Rhythm including syncopation, polyrhythm and polymeter).   Examples from Western and world culture. Quiz 1.4th week of class.

Week 4.  Form (definitions, components including simple forms, specific forms).  Students will explore binary, ternary, theme and variation, rondo, narrative and sonata form.  Examples from Western and world cultures.

Music and society.  Functions of music (How does music fit into a society and when is it used?). Performance practice (What is included in an actual performance, and what can it tell the audience? about that country or culture).

Unit II: Periods, Forms, Composers and Instruments of Western Music

Weeks 5.  Periods and forms of Western Music. Introduction:General Overview of every period including important forms, composers and instruments. Antiquity, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Contemporary

Short introduction to the music of Ancient Greece followed by the music of the Medieval and Renaissance Periods.

Vocabulary  Monophonic, polyphonic, homophonic textures. Responsorial, antiphonal. Sacred versus secular music. Changing  role of the composer in Western society. 

Week 6 Baroque Period

Week 7 Classical definitions and Classical period

Week 8  Romantic and Contemporary periods


Unit III World Music:  Sub-Saharan Africa, India, Japan

Selected examples of the music and dance of India, sub-Saharan Africa and Japan Multi-Cultural Fusion through music

Weeks 9 Music of Sub-Saharan Africa.  Music of South India

Vocabulary: Poly rhythm, two note harmony, music for celebration, religion and communication

Week 10 Music of North India, Music and Drama of Japan

Week 11: Final Quizzes and Concert Paper due.




Any student who is absent for the equivalent of two weeks of class may be withdrawn from the course.  Please email me or use office hours with additional questions or clarification of material.


You are evaluated by the total percentage of points accumulated during the semester.



C= 70-79%


F= 59% and below


No student may take a test or hand-in a paper more than once. 

Course Summary:

Date Details Due