Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2023

Course Description

OVERALL LEARNING GOALS for SYMPHONIC LITERATURE The intention of this 300-level course (MUS 343) is to orient the undergraduate DePauw University music major (BM, BME, BMA) to an historical survey of music for orchestra-- from the vocal and instrumental influences of the 16th century through the dominant orchestral techniques of the 21st century. OVERALL LEARNING OBJECTIVES for SYMPHONIC LITERATURE The course of study, which provides action-oriented and measurable objectives, will include the following: virtual classroom discussion of required reading from the text, listening to the required works on the listening list while viewing the written score, then, keeping a journal of those observations made to discuss in class. Through the semester, the students will also assemble a physical timeline (style of student’s choice) of important technical, cultural and regional developments, perhaps, leveraging technology to create this physical timeline in unique ways. These timelines are checked periodically, as noted in the syllabus, and graded at end of semester. Students will also write three narrative/analytical papers, which would include organized descriptions of thematic material used, significant observations of major key areas and harmonic language, and discussion of hypothetical reasoning of the composer’s intentions. The three narrative paper projects are Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 1 (First Movement), Johannes Brahms Symphony No. 3 (First Movement) and a choice of Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 4 (First Movement) or Dmitri Shostakovich Symphony No. 5 (First Movement).

Student Outcomes

The class will accomplish several outcomes-- one, helping the student turn critical thinking skills into narrative skills in the classroom and written in the three papers about composer’s process, including those of thematic material construction, formal architecture evolution, harmonic language discovery, as well as, the recognition of potential emotional content and/or extra-musical influences. A second outcome is to put the student in a thoughtful perspective which follows historical progression in the development of form and content and then by highlighting the processes used by composers (both revolutionary, transitional, and under-represented) to see how composers adjust the form and content of their works. Students then become more accomplished at recognizing normal and unusual content. They connect processes that in turn create an awareness of the constructed musical events and a truer sense of the composer’s accomplishment. The students then write their reactions to the listening and bring those reactions to class discussion. Finally, an additional outcome of this course is also achieved when the experiential knowledge of Professor Smith and the written opinions of the author of the text, Homer Ulrich give life to the music. The students will feel a proper sense of accomplishment when they know they can enter into a discussion of composer’s intentions with an acquired narrative skill that is based on a more thorough knowledge of composers’ techniques and content.