Introduction to Classical Music Course Reviews

Introduction to Classical Music is a course offered on Coursera and authored by Craig Wright.

Introduction to Classical Music Course Reviews
Introduction to Classical Music Course Reviews

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the world of classical music, exploring its history, key composers, and significant works. The course is designed for individuals who are new to classical music or wish to deepen their understanding of the genre.

The course covers various aspects of classical music, beginning with an overview of its origins in ancient Greece and Rome. It then progresses through different historical periods, including the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern eras. Each period is examined in terms of its defining characteristics, notable composers, and representative compositions.

Throughout the course, learners are introduced to influential composers such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, and Debussy, among others. The course explores their lives, artistic contributions, and the societal contexts in which they worked. Furthermore, significant works from each period are analyzed, highlighting their unique qualities and cultural significance.

Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the various forms and genres within classical music, such as symphonies, concertos, sonatas, operas, and choral compositions. The course also delves into the evolution of musical instruments and orchestral ensembles, explaining their roles in classical compositions.

By the end of the course, learners will have a solid foundation in classical music history, allowing them to appreciate and engage with this rich musical tradition more effectively. Whether you are a beginner or a music enthusiast, Introduction to Classical Music provides a valuable opportunity to explore and enjoy the world of classical music.

Course Content:

Using a simple and enjoyable teaching style, this course introduces the novice listener to the wonders of classical music, from Bach fugues to Mozart symphonies to Puccini operas.

The Introduction to Classical Music course by Craig Wright on Coursera is divided into 9 weeks, each containing multiple lectures. The course is structured as follows:

Week 1: What Is Music?

Every day around the world, billions of people listen to music of one sort or another, and millions listen to Western classical music. Why do we do it? Because it’s fun? Because it energizes or relaxes us? Because it keeps us current, allows us to understand what’s happening in past and popular culture? The pull of music--especially classical music—has never been explained. The aim of this course is to do just that: To explicate the mysteries and beauties of some of Western cultures greatest musical compositions—among them masterpieces of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, and Puccini. We begin with the elements of music, breaking classical musical into its components of pitch, duration, and sound color, allowing us to better understand how music works. Next, we proceed to the compositions themselves, starting with the Middle Ages and Renaissance, to show how Western music developed in ways unique to the West. Ultimately, we reach the masters, commencing with Bach. What makes his music great? Why does it move us? What should we listen for? And so we proceed down through Western musical history, visiting virtually the people who created it and the places where they did so. By the end, we hope all of us have become more human (enriched our personalities) and had a rollicking good time!

9 videos (Total 55 min), 9 readings, 3 quizzes

9 videos

Course Preview 13m

1.1 - Introduction 5m

1.2 - Popular Music and Classical Music Compared 6m

1.3 - Music and Emotions 4m

1.4 - How Do We Hear Music? Sound Waves and the Ear 6m

1.5 - Music Thrills Us, Music Chills Us 1m

1.6 - Why We Like What We Like? It's Nurture 2m

1.7 - It's Nurture: The Syntax of Western Music 5m

1.8 - Why We Like What We Like? It's Nature 8m

9 readings

Begin Here 10m

Syllabus 10m

Suggested Readings [Update] 10m

Spotify Playlist 10m

Course Certificate 10m

Grading and Logistics 10m

Mentors' Library 10m

Copy of Suggested Readings [Update] 10m

Disclaimer 10m

3 practice exercises

Popular Music and Classical Music Compared 30m

How Do We Hear Music? Sound Waves and the Ear 30m

Why We Like What We Like? It's Nature 30m


Week 2: How Music Works, it's Magic.

What is Music? Is music simply the organization of sounds and silences passing through time? Or is it more? Poet Victor Hugo believes music is "what feelings sound like." In this first module, we’ll take apart Hugo’s seemingly simple statement by spending some time asking how and why music induces strong emotions in people across different cultures. We’ll begin with a look at the inner workings of the human ear to determine how our brains process sound waves. Then, we’ll travel to different parts of the world, comparing and contrasting both traditional and popular Western music with sounds from various regions and cultures. You’ll find that it is both culture and the physics of music that determine why we like the music we like! From there, we’ll be ready to take a look at the basic elements of musical composition; rhythm, melody, texture, etc. We’ll also learn how classical composers used these elements in some of their most famous works and how modern artists are still using them today. Finally, we will see how the elements of musical composition have evolved over time and how they have been translated to a universal language enjoyed and understood by millions.

18 videos (Total 147 min), 1 reading, 10 quizzes

18 videos

2.1 - Beat, Meter, and Rhythm 9m

2.2 - Introduction to Musical Notation 5m

2.3 - Rhythm: What is It? 10m

2.4 - Hearing the Downbeat, Feeling the Emotion 11m

2.5 - Tempo (and How We Feel About It) 5m

3.1 - What is Melody? 3m

3.2 - Melodic Notation and Scales 9m

3.3 - Major and Minor Scales 6m

3.4 - The Chromatic Scale 4m

3.5 - How We Feel About the Music: Mode and Mood 4m

3.6 - Melodic Structure: The Tonic 2m

3.7 - Modulation: Changing the Tonic (of the Key) 8m

3.8 - Phrase Structure in Music: Beethoven's Ode to Joy 14m

4.1 - Harmony: A Distinctly Western Phenomenon 12m

4.2 - Chord Progressions and Cadences 10m

4.3 - Melody and Harmony Working Together 7m

4.4 - Major and Minor Triads 8m

4.5 - Hearing the Harmony 11m

1 reading

Musical Rhythm, Relaxation, and Creativity 10m

10 practice exercises

Beat, Meter, and Rhythm 30m

Hearing the Downbeat, Feeling the Emotion 30m

Tempo (and How We Feel About It) 30m

Melodic Notation and Scales 30m

The Chromatic Scale 30m

How We Feel About the Music: Mode and Mood 30m

Phrase Structure in Music: Beethoven's Ode to Joy 30m

Harmony: A Distinctly Western Phenomenon 30m

Chord Progressions and Cadences 30m

Major and Minor Triads 30m


Week 3: The Sound of Music

Have you ever wondered what it is that makes music sound sometimes rich and luxurious and sometimes strange and mysterious? Well, you’re in luck because this module, we’ll explore what the nature of simultaneous sounds and textures. We’ll start off with a look at chords, specifically how the three types of triads– tonic, dominant, subdominant– build a foundation upon which a melody can be constructed. Once we understand the rules of musical syntax, we’ll be ready to learn about musical progressions including the three types of cadences.We’ll also look at major and minor triads and how they work. Then, we’ll learn how to hear the bass and focus on the harmony of a song. Finally, I’ll talk you through the four families of musical instruments–brasses, percussions, strings, and woodwinds---and the various musical textures, forms, and styles that they can create. How exciting!

8 videos (Total 142 min), 1 reading, 6 quizzes

8 videos

5.1 - Why Do Instruments Sound Differently, One From Another? 10m

5.2 - Musorgsky Makes a Wagon Move in Music 10m

5.3 - The Four Families of Instruments 18m

5.4 - Building a Symphony Orchestra 12m

6.1 - Musical Texture 13m

6.2 - Musical Form 34m

6.3 - Musical Style 14m

Office Hours I  27m

1 reading

Module 3 YouTube Playlists 10m

6 practice exercises

Why Do Instruments Sound Differently, One From Another? 30m

Musorgsky Marks a Wagon Move in Music 30m

Building a Symphony Orchestra 30m

Musical Texture 30m

Musical Form 30m

Musical Style 30m


Week 4: Music Back in the Day

We will cover a thousand years in musical evolution during this modules lectures! We'll start with the Middle Ages taking a look at its functional chants and dance music, then we’ll move to the period of the Renaissance, and finish off by listening to the ornate melodies of opera heard throughout the early Baroque period. From this, you’ll begin to see how advances in musical notation allowed compositions to become both more specific and more complex. These advances are ultimately responsible for focus being shifted away from the performers and towards the composers themselves.Along the way, we’ll highlight some of these musical inventors and innovators, such as Hildegard of Bingen and Johann Pachelbel. We’ll also have the unique opportunity to see (and in some cases even hear) many of the instruments that were popular during these different time periods. This will be a real treat, made possible with help from Yale instructor, Grant Herreid. Many thanks are owed to him!

13 videos (Total 125 min), 2 readings, 6 quizzes

13 videos

7.1 - Introduction to the Middle Ages 4m

7.2 - Gregorian Chant 7m

7.3 - Monasteries and Convents 6m

7.4 - The Chant of Hildegard of Bingen 4m

7.5 - Early Polyphony 7m

7.6 - Polyphony at the Cathedral of Reims: Machaut's Messe de Nostre Dame 8m

7.7 - Dance Music of the Court 12m

8.1 - Introduction to the Renaissance 4m

8.2 - Humanism in Music 5m

8.3 - Musical Instruments and Dances 20m

8.4 - The A Cappella Motet 12m

8.5 - Reformation and the Counter-Reformation 15m

8.6 - The Madrigal 14m

2 readings

Women as Creators and the Historical Barriers to Their Recognition 10m

Module 4 Youtube Playlist 10m

6 practice exercises

Gregorian Chant 30m

The Chant of Hildegard of Bingen 30m

Polyphony at the Cathedral of Reims: Machaut's Messe de Nostre Dame 30m

Musical Instruments and Dances 30m

The A Cappella Motet30mThe Madrigal 30m


Week 5: The Baroque Era

Novelists, poets, painters, mathematicians, and even geologists talk about "fugue-like" structure in their media and disciplines. But what is a fugue and how did we get it? To find out, we enter the world of Baroque music and famed master of the fugue, Johann Sebastian Bach. First, we'll get a chance to "live" during the Baroque period by taking a detailed look inside the life, career, and even home of Bach-- explore where and how Bach and his family lived, discuss Bach’s music, and talk about the techniques of Baroque music as a whole. Next, Bach’s music will then be compared and contrasted with that of his exact contemporary and fellow German, George Frideric Handel. One might say that Bach was an idealist and Handel was a realist when it came to music, so we’ll look at how these personality traits informed each composer’s musical style. Finally, we'll wrap up the module with an introduction to music of the Classical Period, and who better to lead the way than the inimitable Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?

16 videos (Total 205 min), 1 reading, 10 quizzes

16 videos

9.1 - Introduction to Baroque Art and Music 6m

9.2 - Early Baroque Opera in Italy 11m

9.3 - Early Baroque Opera in London 13m

9.4 - Baroque Instruments and Orchestras 21m

9.5 - A Baroque Favorite: Pachelbel's Canon 5m

9.6 - Vivaldi: The "Spring" Concerto 13m

10.1 - Bach the Young Man and Organist 6m

10.2 - Cothen: Prelude and Fugue 25m

10.3 - Cothen: Brandenberg Concertos 13m

10.4 - Leipzig: The Church Cantata 21m

10. 5 - Bach's Posthumous Reputation 6m

11.1 - Recap of Baroque Music 8m

11. 2 - Handel's Early Life & Arrival in London 5m

11.3 - Royal Connections: Water Music and Fireworks 12m

11.4 - Opera Seria: Julius Caesar 18m

11.5 - Oratorio: Messiah 13m

1 reading

Module 5 Youtube Playlist 10m

10 practice exercises

Early Baroque Opera in Italy 30m

Early Baroque Opera in London 30m

Baroque Instruments and Orchestras 30m

Bach the Young Man and Organist 30m

Cothen: Prelude and Fugue 30m

Cothen: Brandenberg Concertos 30m

Leipzig: The Church Cantata 30m

Royal Connections: Water Music and Fireworks 30m

Opera Seria: Julius Caesar 30m

Oratorio: Messiah 30m


Week 6: The Classical Era

Would you believe that once upon a time, musical compositions were viewed as disposable, one-time-use entertainment? Could you imagine an orchestra attempting to perform a beautiful piece over the sounds of noisy patrons in a casino? How about a violin being drowned out by a dog loudly barking outside of a café? Well, this was the reality before the turn of the 18th century. It wasn’t until around 1800 that people began to appreciate musical compositions, as they do today. This was the same time we started to see large concert halls created specifically for the purpose of listening to concerts. Not long after, music was seen as something to be elevated and studied, in other words it became, “High Art.” This week, we’ll start by listening to music by Haydn and Mozart, getting our grounding, so to speak, in musical form. As we proceed, we'll also see where and how they lived, compare how they wrote and performed their music, and even look at some of the exact instruments they performed on all those years ago.We’ll spend latter part of the module highlighting two figures that stand at the very heart of Western music.The first is Mozart, a well-dressed, confident, eccentric, and ever brilliant innovator. We’ll explore his music through the lens of three artistic masterpieces: a piano concerto, an opera, and the Requiem mass... We’ll delve into the unique features of the music that make it the gold standard for all music for centuries to come. Perhaps the high (or low) point arrives when your instructor is ruthlessness murdered on stage by the feckless Don Giovanni.We’ll then shift over to Beethoven– a passionate, conflicted, and oft-times disheveled genius. His physical appearance may very well have served as the prototype for the stereotypical, “struggling bard,” or “tortured genius.” We’ll study some of his most famous sonatas, including his Moonlight Sonata and then go beyond his music to explore his personal life, including his struggle with deafness and depression.

14 videos (Total 191 min), 2 readings, 8 quizzes

14 videos

12.1 - The Classical Period and Music 10m

12.2 - Introduction to Classical Music Style 10m

12.3 - Vienna: City of Music 6m

12.4 - Franz Joseph Haydn and The Emperor 20m

12.5 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his Music 21m

13.1 - Classical Venues: The Canon and the Musical Museum 6m

13.2 - Genres and Forms 6m

13.3 - Ternary Form: The Mozart Sonata 5m

13.4 - Sonata-Allegro Form: A Mozart Serenade 14m

13.5 - Theme and Variations Form: A Surprise from Haydn 12m

13.6- Rondo Form: Mozart as the Young Turk 6m

14.1 - Piano Concerto in D minor 21m

14.2 - Don Giovanni 20m

14.3 - The Requiem 25m

2 readings

Mozart and the Dangers of Becoming a Child Prodigy 10m

Module 6 Youtube Playlist 10m

8 practice exercises

Introduction to Classical Music Style 30m

Franz Joseph Haydn and the Emperor 30m

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his Music 30m

Genres and Forms 30m

Sonata-Allegro Form: A Mozart Serenade 30m

Piano Concerto in D Minor 30m

Don Giovanni 30m

The Requiem 30m


Week 7: The Bridge From Classical to Romantic

If you could put a soundtrack to the French Revolution, it would surely contain music from Beethoven's "Heroic" period, during which, he “brought sound to symphonies.” We’ll see how Beethoven’s incorporation of new instruments, as well as, his creation of a large orchestra, made his symphonies much louder and "sonically vivid" than those of his predecessors. The point of focus here will be a comparison of the music of Beethoven's "Heroic" period, represented by his Symphony No. 5, with that of his "Late" period, epitomized by his famous Ode to Joy. We'll also consider Beethoven the man, as revealed through primary source accounts of his life at that time. They paint a picture of a disheveled, wild-looking Beethoven, who lived among filth and clutter and was consumed by his work. The ultimate question: in what ways might his life of isolation and his hearing disability affected the nature (style) of the great music he created?As we bid aufwiedersehen to Beethoven, we move on to full-blown musical Romanticism. Romantic music, and indeed all romantic art, was known for its idealistic views on love and nature. Occurring roughly from 1820 to 1900, musical Romanticism saw an evolution of musical style as well as a change of venue (place) for musical performance. In addition to the aristocracy and their royal palaces, a strong middle class arose in Europe during this period. With the music of the ever-lyrical Franz Schubert, we'll step into the parlor of an upper-middle class home, to experience his domestic chamber music and songs. We’ll finish off the module by asking the question: How do we use musical sound to communicate? A look at program music (instrumental music that uses musical gestures to tell a story) will help us figure this out. After a quick auditory review of the workings of program music (we'll follow Vivaldi on a spring day), we'll watch Hector Berlioz go to hell. More accurately, we’ll follow the sequence of musical gestures he employs to re-create a fantastical tale of pursuit, destruction, damnation. Having learned our lesson, we’ll end with a little fun as we try to match themes extracted from various symphonies to the mental images that the composer had in mind. Do you speak the language of program music fluently? Join us and find out!

17 videos (Total 195 min), 2 readings, 10 quizzes

17 videos

15.1 - Mozart and Beethoven Compared 8m

15.2 - Beethoven and the Romantic Genius 6m

15.3 - Beethoven's Early Years 7m

15.4 - Growing Deafness and Disability 6m

15.5 - The "Moonlight" Sonata 22m

16.1 - The Three Periods of Beethoven 5m

16.2 - Symphony No.3, the "Eroica" 9m

16.3 - Symphony No.5 18m

16.4 - Beethoven's Gift to Music: SOUND 10m

16.5 - Beethoven Toward the End 7m

16.6 - The Late Period and "Ode to Joy" 4m

17.1 - Introduction to Romantic Music 7m

17.2 - Domestic Music-Making of the Middle Class 3m

17.3 - Sketch of the Life and Music of Franz Schubert 9m

17.4 - Schubert's Erlkönig 12m

17.5 - Robert and Clara Schumann 22m

Office Hours II 31m

2 readings

Beethoven’s Deafness: Was it a Dis-ability or an Enabler? 10m

Module 7 Youtube Playlist 10m

10 practice exercises

Beethoven and the Romantic Genius 30m

Beethoven's Early Years 30m

Growing Deafness and Disability 30m

The "Moonlight" Sonata 30m

Symphony No.3, the "Eroica" 30m

Symphony No.5 30m

Late Period and "Ode to Joy" 30m

Sketch of the Life and Music of Franz Schubert 30m

Schubert's Erlkönig 30m

Robert and Clara Schumann 30m


Week 8: The Romantic Era

Module 8 will begin with a tour of Yale’s extraordinary keyboard collection; perhaps the finest of its kind in the world. We’ll see fully functioning instruments of all shapes and sizes, some dating back to the time of Mozart and before! We’ll learn the preferred brands and styles of some of the finest pianists of all time, Haydn, Beethoven, Liszt, Chopin, and Schubert to name a few. We’ll even get to hear some of these instruments played by musical educator and concert pianist Robert Blocker. His performances will help us hear exactly how advances in technology changed the sound and capabilities of pianos during this time period. Our next session this module covers a rather polarizing topic: Opera. Many people find the Opera too artificial, too long, and sometimes just plain boring; others enjoy nothing more than this glamorous art form. We’ll spend some time making a case for the power and beauty, indeed the magic, of Opera. Maybe, we’ll be able persuade some naysayers along the way. Because it is impossible to encompass all of Romantic opera in an hour, we'll concentrate on the masterpieces of Verdi and the groundbreaking music dramas of Wagner. Perhaps the only figure who can reasonably by compared to Beethoven in terms of musical originality and innovation, Wagner changed the face of 19th century music. We’ll explore Wagner by briefly analyzing his Ring Cycle. This innovative cycle of librettos, based on Norse mythology, contains some of the most iconic and recognizable music from the period. Wagner's use of "leitmotifs” made detailed storytelling possible, with the music even conveying the subconscious thought of singers on stage, a truly revolutionary feat. His work would go on to serve as inspiration for writers and film makers such as Tolkien, Lewis, Lucas, and Martin, not to mention countless composers. In the final lesson of this module, we’ll expand our focus to look at the orchestra as a whole during the Romantic period. Just 60 years after Mozart led his thirty-five-player orchestra, it was not uncommon to see Wagner and Mahler conducting ensembles with well over 100 members. In addition to increased numbers, the instruments themselves changed. Technological advances, transformed previously one dimensional instruments, such as the French horn, into versatile tools, capable of projecting a completely chromatic melody. This newfound versatility allowed composers like Brahms and Mahler to experiment with and forever redefine orchestral instrumentation.

24 videos (Total 214 min), 1 reading, 13 quizzes

24 videos

18.1 - How Do We Communicate in Sound? 5m

18.2 - Musical Signifiers and the Language of Sound 6m

18.3 - Berlioz and His Symphonie Fantastque 11m

18.4 - Symphonie Fantastque, "March to the Scaffold" 4m

18.5 - Symphonie Fantastque, "Witches Sabbath" 10m

18.6 - Do You Speak Fluent Program Music? 6m

19.1 - Fixed Pitch Keyboard Instruments: A Quick Review 8m

19.2 - The Pianos of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert 13m

19.3 - The Pianos of Chopin and Liszt 9m

19.4 - From Wagner's Piano to the Steinway of America 10m

19.5 - Frédéric Chopin and the Nocturne 6m

19.6 - Franz Liszt and the Etude 13m

20.1 - Introduction to the 19th Century Opera 4m

20.2 - Bel canto Opera 6m

20.3 - Verdi's Operas and his Dramaturgy 5m

20.4 - Verdi's La traviata 22m

20.5 - Introduction to Richard Wagner 7m

20.6 - Wagner's Ring Cycle 7m

20.7 - Wagner's Die Walküre 10m

21.1 - Introduction to the Romantic Orchestra 8m

21.2 - Musical Instruments and the Industrial Revolution 6m

21.3 - Musical Time Slows Down: The Grand Symphonic Gesture 7m

21.4 - Bigger Orchestra, Bigger Concert Halls 4m

21.5 - The Gustav Mahler Sample 15m

1 reading

Module 8 Youtube Playlist 10m

13 practice exercises

Musical Signifiers and the Language of Sound 30m

Berlioz and His Symphonie Fantastque 30m

Recap Quiz 30m

Symphonie Fantastque, "Witches Sabbath" 30m

Fixed Pitch Keyboard Instruments: A Quick Review 30m

From Wagner's Piano to the Steinway of America 30m

Franz Liszt and the Etude 30m

Introduction to the 19th Century Opera 30m

Verdi's La triviata 30m

Wagner's Die Walküre 30m

Introduction to Romantic Orchestra 30m

Musical Instruments and the Industrial Revolution 30m

The Gustav Mahler Sample 30m


Week 9: Music to the Present

When you think of Impressionism, you probably think of paintings, likely the beautiful canvases of Claude Monet. But the emotionally evocative, non-realistic style of Impressionism pervaded all aspects of art. For music, another Claude, this time Debussy, typified the Impressionist movement. After learning about the sometimes outrageous lives of some of history’s famous composers, it may shock you to hear that Debussy led a rather banal existence, with no depression, psychosis or family tragedy to speak of. But from an ordinary life can come extraordinary music! We’ll look at three pieces, one each from his early, middle, and late career, to see how Debussy's style shifted away from more goal-oriented Romanticism to the “live in the moment” style that came to define Impressionism. After a brief guitar lesson taught with the help of the talented Solomon Silber, we’ll continue on to the Modernist period. As is well known to all by now, musical style is constantly changing. Sometimes the change is subtle, like the shift from Classical to Romantic music. At other times, however, change crashes like a Tsunami against previous traditions. This is what we experience as we engage the bracing sounds of Modernism. Beginning in the early 20th century, composers such as Igor Stravinsky and Arnold Schoenberg abandoned traditional melody and scale. Simply put, audiences were, at times, less than receptive to this change. We’ll listen to samples of the music that provoked audience hostility, and discuss what seems to make this music so inaccessible, at times downright unpleasant, for most listeners.We will close this week, and our course, with Postmodernism and Minimalism. We’ll see how composers like Aaron Copland brought orchestral music back to the people by paring it down to its most basic terms. We’ll then hear how artists such as Philip Glass and John Adams, took this idea and ran with it, composing captivating trance-like movements around the simplest of ideas.

21 videos (Total 261 min), 2 readings, 7 quizzes

21 videos

22.1 - Introduction to Impressionism 10m

22.2 - Claude Debussy's "Claire de lune" 11m

22.3 - Debussy's "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun" 9m

22.4 - Debussy's "Violes" (Sails) for Piano 9m

22.5 - Impressionism and Exoticism 5m

22.6 - Spanish Exoticism and the Spanish Tradition 15m

22.7 - From Post Impressionism to Modernism 6m

23.1 - Introduction to Modernism 7m

23.2 - Stravinsky and His Early Ballets Russes 7m

23.3 - Stravinsky and The Rite of Spring 16m

23.4 - Schoenberg and Atonal Music 11m

23.5 - Schoenberg and the Twelve-tone Music 8m

23.6 - The Challenge of (and Antidote to) Modernism 8m

24.1 - Simplifying Modernism: Aaron Copland 6m

24.2 - "A Gift to be Simple" and Appalachian Spring 19m

24.3 - Postmodernism 3m

24.4 - When Less is More: Minimalism in Art and Music 8m

24.5 - Beyond Minimalism: John Adams 9m

24.6 - The Ultimate Mystery of Music 8m

Office Hours III 39m

From the TA! 35m

2 readings

Module 9 Youtube Playlist 10m

Additional Recommended Courses and Videos 10m

7 practice exercises

Claude Debussy’s “Claire de Lune" 30m

Debussy's "Violes" (Sails) for Piano 30m

Stravinsky and His Early Ballets Russes 30m

Stravinsky and The Rite of Spring 30m

Schoenberg and the Twelve-tone Music 30m

Postmodernism & Minimalism 30m

Beyond Minimalism: John Adams 30m




As a former learner of the Introduction to Classical Music course by Craig Wright on Coursera, I would like to provide my evaluation of the course.

First and foremost, I found the course to be highly informative and engaging. Craig Wright's extensive knowledge and passion for classical music were evident throughout the course. His lectures were well-structured, providing a comprehensive overview of the history, composers, and significant works of classical music. I appreciated his ability to present complex concepts in a clear and accessible manner, making the content approachable for learners with varying levels of musical background.

The course materials, including video lectures, readings, and supplementary resources, were of excellent quality. The readings provided additional depth and context to the topics covered in the lectures, while the video lectures were engaging and visually appealing. I particularly enjoyed the inclusion of musical examples, which enhanced my understanding and appreciation of the discussed compositions.

One aspect I appreciated was the emphasis on musical analysis and listening skills. The course not only introduced me to the major composers and their works but also taught me how to critically listen and analyze classical music. This allowed me to develop a deeper understanding of the compositional techniques, forms, and structures used in classical compositions.

The course also fostered a sense of community through online discussions and peer interactions. The discussion forums provided an opportunity to connect with fellow learners, share insights, and engage in meaningful conversations about classical music. The feedback and guidance from both the instructor and peers enriched the learning experience.

One suggestion for improvement would be to incorporate more interactive elements, such as quizzes or assignments, to reinforce the knowledge gained and provide opportunities for self-assessment. While the course provided quizzes at certain intervals, additional interactive activities could further enhance the learning process.

Overall, the Introduction to Classical Music course by Craig Wright on Coursera exceeded my expectations. It provided a solid foundation in classical music, enabling me to appreciate and understand the genre more deeply. Craig Wright's expertise, combined with the well-structured course materials, made the learning experience enjoyable and enriching. I would highly recommend this course to anyone interested in exploring classical music, regardless of their prior musical knowledge.

At the time, the course has an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars based on over 3,725 ratings.

What you'll learn:

After completing the Introduction to Classical Music course authored by Craig Wright on Coursera, learners acquire several skills. These skills include:

  1. Historical Understanding: Learners develop a solid understanding of the history of classical music, spanning from ancient Greece and Rome to the modern era. They gain knowledge of the different periods, composers, and cultural contexts that influenced the development of classical music over time.

  2. Composers and Works: Participants become familiar with renowned classical composers and their significant works. They gain the ability to identify composers from different periods and recognize their compositional styles and contributions to the genre.

  3. Musical Analysis: Learners develop analytical skills to interpret and appreciate classical music. They learn how to identify musical structures, forms, and techniques employed by composers in their compositions. This enables them to delve deeper into the nuances of classical music and understand its complexities.

  4. Genre and Style Recognition: Students gain proficiency in recognizing different genres and styles within classical music, such as symphonies, concertos, operas, and sonatas. They can differentiate between various musical genres and appreciate their unique characteristics.

  5. Cultural and Contextual Knowledge: The course provides learners with insights into the societal, historical, and cultural contexts in which classical music was created. They gain a broader understanding of how music reflects and responds to the cultural movements and influences of its time.

  6. Enhanced Listening Skills: Participants improve their listening skills by actively engaging with classical music examples throughout the course. They learn how to listen attentively, identify key elements, and appreciate the nuances and emotional expressions within the music.

  7. Artistic Appreciation: Learners develop an enriched appreciation for classical music as an art form. They gain a deeper understanding of its aesthetic value, cultural significance, and enduring impact on the world of music.

Overall, completing the Introduction to Classical Music course equips learners with a comprehensive knowledge base and a set of skills that enable them to engage with classical music more effectively and appreciate its beauty and historical context.


Craig Wright is a prominent figure in the field of classical music and musicology. He is an esteemed author, professor, and scholar known for his expertise in music history and theory.

Craig Wright holds a distinguished position in the academic world, with extensive experience in teaching and research. He has authored several influential books and articles on classical music, making significant contributions to the understanding and appreciation of the genre. His work reflects a deep passion for music and a commitment to sharing his knowledge with others.

As an educator, Craig Wright is highly regarded for his ability to convey complex musical concepts in an accessible and engaging manner. He has a talent for breaking down intricate ideas and presenting them in a way that resonates with learners of all backgrounds. His teaching style emphasizes a comprehensive exploration of classical music, combining historical context, biographical information, and musical analysis.

One of the notable aspects of Craig Wright's expertise is his extensive knowledge of classical composers and their works. He demonstrates a remarkable understanding of the historical and cultural factors that shaped the development of classical music throughout different periods. His insightful interpretations and analyses provide students with a deeper appreciation for the artistic achievements of composers and their impact on the genre.

Furthermore, Craig Wright's expertise extends beyond the realm of academia. He has actively contributed to public discourse on classical music, participating in lectures, conferences, and public events. His passion for music and dedication to sharing it with a wider audience is evident in his ability to connect with people from various backgrounds and inspire a love for classical music.

In summary, Craig Wright is a highly respected figure in the field of classical music, renowned for his expertise in music history, teaching abilities, and scholarly contributions. His profound knowledge, engaging teaching style, and commitment to promoting classical music make him a valuable authority in the field.


The requirements for Introduction to Classical Music course by Craig Wright on Coursera are as follows:

  1. Basic Understanding: The course assumes no prior knowledge of classical music. It is open to beginners and individuals who are new to the genre.

  2. Access to Course Materials: Learners need access to the course materials provided on the Coursera platform. This includes video lectures, readings, quizzes, and supplementary resources.

  3. Time Commitment: The course requires a certain time commitment to complete the assigned readings, watch video lectures, participate in discussions, and complete quizzes or assignments. The exact time required may vary depending on individual learning styles and pace.

  4. Language Proficiency: Since the course is taught in English, participants should have a good command of the English language to understand the lectures, readings, and instructions.

  5. Internet Access: Learners should have a reliable internet connection to access the course materials, watch video lectures, and participate in online discussions.

  6. Optional: While not mandatory, having a passion for music and a genuine interest in classical music will enhance the learning experience and foster a deeper appreciation for the subject matter.

It's important to note that the specific requirements may vary based on the platform hosting the course and any prerequisites or additional materials specified by the instructor.

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