Utrecht, Netherlands

Early Music

online course
when 17 August 2020 - 28 August 2020
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 4 EC
fee EUR 500

Please note that this is an online course.

Early Music is a term often applied to music until c. 1750. This course focuses on the period between c. 800 and c. 1600. It is designed to introduce the world of early music within its cultural, religious, social, political, and historical context. You will learn about developments in genre, musical thinking, and modes of transmission by studying and, importantly, listening to various examples. This year’s theme of the world-famous Festival Oude Muziek (Early Music Festival) is “Let’s Talk - Ars Rhetorica”. This course connects with the festival and you will visit several concerts relating to the course materials.

Since music is sound and since that sound disappears once a performance ends, studying music is a complicated pursuit. When a sound presence has not been recorded, the music exists only in memory. The sound of early music disappeared behind the horizons of living memory long ago. Moreover, the written sources we have are scarce and can be difficult to interpret: many manuscripts in which the music was copied have been destroyed or fragmented over time and most music may never have been written down to begin with. Nevertheless, there is also much we do know about early music.

Through this course, you will become familiar with developments in musical notation, which are important not only for our current access to the music, but which also inspired new compositional techniques and opportunities. You will get to know musicians, composers, and poets and gain insights into their world. You will discuss differences between oral and written transmission of music. You will learn about music theory, often based on that by the Ancient Greeks, and see how changes in thinking about the world also caused shifts in musical thinking. You will become familiar with both secular and religious genres. All of this will be accompanied by the listening to examples of musical works throughout the course.

Course leader

Dr. Frieda van der Heijden

Target group

This course is designed for those who are interested in Early Music.

Course aim

To familiarize yourself with Early Music by studying its context, the developments in genre, musical thinking and modes of transmission.

Fee info

EUR 500: Course + course materials
The course fee includes the concerts that will be visited during the Festival Oude Muziek (Early Music Festival).
EUR 350: Housing fee (optional)

Register for this course
on course website