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HLMU 3310: Music History I

Music History from AD 1 to 1800


This guide has been created for students in HLMU 3310: History of Music I.  It will walk you through the research process and highlight helpful resources. If you need help just contact me, your Humanities Librarian, by email or schedule a research appointment. 

You might also want to review our Music Research Starter for additional resources.

Choosing a Topic

In your Research Project Instructions, Dr. Yang provides suggested areas of research. Use these as inspiration for choosing your own topic:


  • Origin and development of the Italian madrigal
  • French opera in the 18th century

Composer (and the development of his or her style)

  • J.S. Bach and the style of his keyboard works
  • Palestrina and the Counter-Reformation style

Notation, Tuning Systems, and Historical Music Theory

  • Medieval Music Theorists
  • Shorthand systems such as figured bass

Financial Support of Composers

  • Patronage
  • Public concerts, benefit concerts, and subscription

Performance Practice

  • Embellishment and ornamentation
  • History of conducting

Compositional Process

  • Three means of polyphonic mass composing: cantus firmus, imitation, parody
  • Fortspinnung as a process

Analysis of a Major Work

  • Tonal structure of Handel's Giulio Cesare
  • The role of the program in Vivaldi's Four Seasons

Function of Music

  • J.S. Bach's sacred cantatas for Lutheran services
  • Lully and music for the Sun King, Louis XIV

Dr. Yang also suggests searching your textbook for ideas: