History of Western Music


a) To acquire and develop highlevel methodological and conceptual competencies in the field of History of
Western Music;
b) To gain indepth knowledge about the main issues, movements, institutions and musical genres in the
relevant historical period;
c) To acquire the ability to contextualize and problematize musical phenomena from the historical, aesthetic, sociological and cultural points of view;
d) To gain indepth knowledge about the musical and musictheatrical
repertoire in the relevant period;
e) To master the current methodologies of research from an interdisciplinary point of view, and to develop
presentation and communication skills according to academic standards.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Paulo Manuel Rêgo Ferreira de Castro


Weekly - 3

Total - 280

Teaching language



Not applicable


Adorno, T. W. (2006). Philosophy of New Music. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Antokoletz, E. (2014). A History of Twentieth-Century Music in a Theoretic-Analytical Context. New York: Routledge.
Calinescu, M. (1987). Five Faces of Modernity. Durham: Duke University Press.
Compagnon, A. (1990). Les cinq paradoxes de la modernité. Paris: Seuil.
Cook, N. & Pople, A. (Eds.) (2004). The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Music. Cambridge: CUP.
De La Fuente, E. (2011). Twentieth Century Music and the Question of Modernity. New York: Routledge.
Gay, P. (2009). Modernism: The Lure of Heresy from Baudelaire to Beckett and Beyond. London: Vintage.
Morgan, R. P. (Ed.) (1993). Modern Times. Houndmills: Macmillan.
Taruskin, R. (2010). Music in the Early Twentieth Century. Oxford: OUP.

Teaching method

30% theoretical exposition and 70% practical work. Practical work consists mainly of oral presentations of individual work by students, followed by group discussion. An extended reading list is provided.

Evaluation method

Assessment is based on the quality of the oral presentations and the participation in group discussions (30%)(30%), at least one extended essay, whenever possible about a topic of particular relevance to the student’s future dissertation project or research area (70%)(70%)

Subject matter

Tendencies of the historiography of early modernist music: critical analysis of some canonic texts. Critical
discussion of the concepts of modernism, modernity and avantgarde and their application to Western music.
Contextualization of musical phenomena against the background of social and political emancipation and
counteremancipation movements, the imperatives of rupture and innovation, the interrelations among the arts and the discourse of aesthetic autonomy. Analysis of the technical, formal and aesthetic changes characteristic of the modernist era. Detailed approach to some of the central issues of the period under discussion, including: aesthetic discourse, compositional techniques and the structuring of artistic movements; models of musical temporality and the construction of subjectivity; modernist rhetoric and antirhetoric; primitivism, automatism, nationalism and neoclassicism; art music and vernacular idioms; dialogues with the past; urban culture, fashion and technology.


Programs where the course is taught: