Music in Modern Times (MCGY2613)


Traces the essential developments in Western art music from the very end of the 19th century to the start of the 21st, and relates them to broad socio-historical and artistic changes. The overview given in the lectures is reinforced by the analysis of key works in tutorials. Areas covered include Late Romanticism, Impressionism, Expressionism, Free Atonality, Rhythmic Innovation, Neo-classicism, Serial Music, Political Music, American Experimentalism, Electro-Acoustic Music, Chance composition, Textural Composition, Minimalism, influences from Popular Music, Collage and Polystylism, East-West Encounters, Neo-Romanticism, Post Modernism and Spectralism. Works analysed include compositions by Andriessen, Bartok, Cage, Debussy, Ligeti, Messiaen, Part, Schoenberg, Strauss, Stravinsky, Stockhausen and Webern.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


2hr lecture and 1hr tut/week


1500 word essay (40%), mid-semester test (20%), 2 hr exam (40%)


Griffiths P, Modern music and after, Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2011
Morgan, RP. Twentieth Century Music, New York, Norton 1991

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Assumed knowledge

Ability to read musical notation

Additional Information

This is a Foundation unit in Analysis, history and culture studies.

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.