Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2022
Units: 4
Hours: 4 lecture, 1 laboratory per week (60 total per quarter)
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area I: Humanities
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • A successful student will explain how music is a reflection of the historical, sociological, religious, and political circumstances that surround it.
  • A successful student will demonstrate a basic knowledge of the structural building blocks of music.
  • A successful student will be able to hear differences in the different musical styles in Western music.


A study of Western music and its place in civilization. Selected listening and readings from the masterpieces of music of Europe and the Western Hemisphere with an emphasis on methods of comprehension, listening techniques, the elements of music, primary musical forms, and a wide range of concert repertoire. Includes a study of how social, political, philosophical, and other artistic developments outside of music influenced compositional thinking and how these were integrated into the different periods of Western musical history. A variety of media consisting of slides, videos, recordings, and lecture will be used. Live performance used when possible.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Identify the basic elements of Western music, e.g., pitch, rhythm, harmony, style and form.
  2. Discuss musical instruments and their functions.
  3. Distinguish between various types of music in the Western world.
  4. Attend one live concert making observations of and listening for musical styles, characteristics and forms discussed in class.
  5. Write objectively and intelligently about significant musical experiences.
  6. Describe similarities and differences between classical music forms and other diverse forms of pop music such as rock, reggae, etc.
  7. Understand the different effects that social, political, philosophical, and religious thinking had on artistic expression with particular emphasis on music.
  8. Write and critique an assigned music video and/or film.

Course Content

  1. Study of fundamentals
    1. Elements: melody, rhythm, dynamics, instrument color, texture, form, style, harmony
    2. Description of music instruments
    3. Emotional effect of music
    4. Purpose of music and its place in culture
  2. Study of Western music to the present time
    1. Composers of Europe and America
    2. Forms and styles in Western music
    3. Opera, oratorio, symphony orchestra, chamber orchestra, chorus, wind ensemble, chamber music ensembles
  3. Identification of non-musical trends, artistic styles, or concepts that had a major effect on Western music development
    1. Absolute Monarchy
    2. 18th century Enlightenment
    3. 19th century literature
    4. Impressionism in painting vis a vis late 19th century music
    5. Expressionism in painting vis a vis early 20th century music
  4. Live concert experience if possible

Lab Content

Weekly lab exercises consisting of group activities such as listening, video critique, distinguishing different instruments from the orchestra. These cover and supplement assigned reading and lecture topics.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

1. When taught in-person: a smart classroom for sound and video.
2. When taught online: on-going access to computer with email software and capabilities; email address; JavaScript-enabled internet browsing software.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Participation in weekly discussion forums
Weekly quizzes, midterm, final
Supervised lab work/video critique/instruments of the orchestra

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

Weekly online lecture and weekly textbook reading and guided listening examples
Student participation in online learning community via discussions
Weekly quizzes based on online lecture, textbook and listening examples
Written midterm and final

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Kerman, Joseph. Listen. 2019.

When taught online: Supplemental lectures, handouts, tests, and assignments delivered via Canvas; feedback on tests and assignments delivered via Canvas; class discussion may be delivered in chat rooms, listservs, and newsgroups.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

  1. Weekly reading assignments from text, online curriculum, lab manual, and outside sources, ranging from 40-60 pages per week
  2. Weekly online lecture covering subject matter from text assignment with extended topic information
  3. In-class writing assignments based on assigned topics from lecture