Course Learning Objectives

This course offers an intense survey of art music from roughly 1930 to the present with emphasis on music after 1945.  Topics will include issues of modernism and postmodernism, music and the visual arts, technology, aesthetics, and the role of the artist.  This course meets the “Writing Intensive” requirements of the college and as such will have a significant writing component.  Course objectives include:

  • identify and become familiar with the major compositional trends and composers of the 20th and 21st centuries
  • explore changing attitudes about the relationship between composer and audience in the 20th and 21st centuries
  • develop critical listening skills appropriate for “New” music
  • understand some of the challenges related to performing music composed since 1945
  • develop an accurate and precise citation style following the guidelines set out by the Chicago Manual of Style
  • develop a vocabulary for writing and speaking meaningfully about “New” music
  • critically read and evaluate writings about music

Intended for music majors, this course requires the ability to read music. Completion of MSH 200 and Theory 1 are required before enrolling in this course. Non-majors must seek the instructor’s approval. This course meets the requirements for a Writing Intensive course.  As such, regular written work will be required, revision is expected, and frequent in-class and low-stakes writing assignments will be assigned.

Students in writing-intensive course sections will:

  • Understand, summarize, synthesize, and critique course material using informal and formal writing.
  • Employ writing as an essential tool for learning course material.
  • Formulate and support a central argument or claim in their formal writing assignments, effectively integrating and organizing evidence to support their claims.
  • Practice writing for different purposes, audiences, and in various media.
  • Compose multiple drafts to revise and improve writing.
  • Apply feedback from faculty and/or peers during the revision process.
  • Follow the writing conventions of the discipline and its related professions.
  • Cite sources according to the preferred style guidelines of a particular discipline.
  • Follow the conventions of English grammar and mechanics in their writing.


A History of Western Music 9th ed. by Peter J. Burkholder (Norton)

Norton Anthology of Western Music Vol. 3, 7th ed. by Peter J. Burkholder (Norton)

These texts may be bundled with MP3 DVDs or you may listen to the music via the publisher’s website.  These books are used in all four of the history courses.

Ross, Alex. The Rest is Noise. Picador, 2007.   A Pulitzer finalist and all-around accessible introduction to music of the twentieth century. Highly recommended (and inexpensive) though not required.

All texts are also on reserve in the library. Any additional readings or musical scores will be posted on our course site.

Use of Technology and Blackboard Information

CUNY Academic Commons: We will be using a WordPress site for much of the class activities. We will go over how to access the site and its topography during the first week of class

Lehman E-mail:  all Lehman students are assigned a college e-mail account and students are expected to check it regularly for important university, college, department, and course announcements. Visit to access your account.

If you have any questions about your Lehman email address or your password, or if you have any problems accessing the site please call the computer helpdesk at 718-960-1111.

Lehman One Access: This new portal will remember all of your various Lehman log-ins and passwords so that you can access all of your Lehman accounts from one website. Highly recommended.

Grading Policy

Final grade will be broken down as follows:


(50% of total grade)

Collaborative Project

(15% of total grade)


(35% of total grade)

Weekly Journal: 20%

Concert Blog: 30%


Concert of New Music

Date:  May 10


Quizzes online and in class: 15%

Final Exam:  20%


Missed Exams: Only in cases of illness or extreme extenuating circumstances shall missed exams be averaged in with other term work.  With respect to the former, a doctor’s certificate must be presented.  In most instances the signing physician will be contacted to verify the validity of the certificate and the seriousness of the illness.   Only missed final exams may be deferred or rewritten.

Under no circumstances will “extra work” be considered.

Submission of Work and Late Papers: this course has very few firm deadlines.  Don’t be misled into believing there are no deadlines! You are responsible for keeping up with the work, posting regularly, and maintaining an active digital and physical presence in the class. We can’t show up a day late for a gig—same goes for this course.

Attendance Policy

Attendance and participation are important for this class.  When you commit to this course, you make a commitment to yourself and to the rest of the class community that you will attend and participate in every meeting. You will arrive on time with your book of scores (or access to electronic versions you can work with).

My commitment is to offer class sessions that are worth attending (you should let me know if I’m not doing this!) and that help you meet the learning goals and skills for the course.

A decision to take this course is a decision to:

  • read from the textbook weekly
  • listen to the assigned music weekly
  • keep up to date with assignments and start them early
  • come to class with questions or problems to solve
  • participate with your classmates in our musical community
  • seek help as soon as you feel you are falling behind or not understanding something

Classroom Specific Policies

Be aware of all policies, procedures and deadlines which are in effect during your attendance at Lehman College. Show respect for others by turning off phones. Computer / phone / tablet use in class will be strongly and actively discouraged except when used for classroom projects.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism Policy

While honest scholarship is time-consuming and often requires hard work, it is also the primary process by which students learn to think for themselves. Faculty members must teach respect for methods of inquiry within the various disciplines and make assignments that will encourage honest scholarship; students in turn must uphold a standard of honesty within the College, thereby affirming the value and integrity of their Lehman degree. Lehman’s complete statement on Academic Integrity may be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin and students are expected to be familiar with it.

Any instance of academic dishonesty will be dealt with according to University policy.  Students are responsible for reading and understanding information the University provides concerning plagiarism.  Work submitted that fails to meet standards of academic honesty will be awarded zero with no opportunity for re-writes or re-submission.  A second offence will result in an F in the course and possible sanctions from the college.

Accommodating Disabilities

Lehman College is committed to providing access to all programs and curricula to all students. Students with disabilities who may need classroom accommodations are encouraged to register with the Office of Student Disability Services. For more information, please contact the Office of Student Disability Services, Shuster Hall, Room 238, phone number,718-960-8441.

The Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) and the Science Learning Center (SLC)

The Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) provides appointment based and drop-in tutoring in the humanities, social sciences, and writing, as well as general writing and academic skills workshops. To obtain more information about the ACE, please visit their website , or please call the ACE at 718-960-8175.