MUSV3101 - Music in the Era of Humanism, 1400-1600


Lessons are not given in the academic year 2023/2024

Course content

The period 1400-1600 is characterized by radical technological, religious, and cultural changes that led Europe from the Middle Ages into modern times. The Reformation, the invention of printing, and discoveries of new world areas supersede the ruling world order, open new horizons, and result in a first wave of "globalisation". A new way of apprehending the world accentuates human subjectivity and sentiment, and reinvents the Roman and Greek antique as a guideline to a new ideal for classicism.

In the span of this period the religious polyphonic vocal music (still characterized by many medieval esthetic features) finds a late golden culmination, and even gains between 1560-1600 new impulses in the context of the Counter-Reformation (Rome, Venice) while the reformed areas (England, Germany, Scandinavia) develop new vernacular liturgies and related musical forms. The nobility discovers music as a status symbol and invests significant amounts of the state budget into musical representation. At the same time leads the rise of the middle class in the rich Flemish and Italian cities to a flourishing of secular musical genres. The many technological developments in this age result in the first decisive highpoint of instrumental music.

The seminar reviews politic-cultural developments, musical centres and composers of western Europe between 1400-1600 and examines the formal and stylistic attributes of the music in this period.

Learning outcome


An examinee with a completed qualification in MUSV3101

  • has in-depth knowledge about the music in Europe 1400-1600
  • has general knowledge of cultural, political, and musical developments in the time period
  • has knowledge about important theories, research methods, and analytical tools within vocal and instrumental music in the time period
  • has knowledge of central problems within the music from 1400-1600 (vocal and instrumental forms and culture-sociological functions)


An examinee with a completed qualification in MUSV3101

  • can express his/her deepened knowledge in a convincing way, both in writing and speech (compulsory oral presentation in order to take the exam)
  • can make his/her own reflections based on, and in the extension of the acquired knowledge
  • can utilise the acquired knowledge about analytical tools and research methods on material new and unknown for the examinee
  • can reflect about his/her own professional behaviour within the music from 1400-1600 and is able to adjust this under guided supervision

Learning methods and activities

This course contains lectures and seminars in which students are expected to actively participate.

Compulsory assignments

  • Oral presentation during the semester over at chosen topic from the syllabus

Specific conditions

Admission to a programme of study is required:
Musicology (BMUSV)
Musicology (MMUSV)

Required previous knowledge

Requires admission to the Bachelor's or Master's programme in Musicology.

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Second degree level



Language of instruction: English, Norwegian

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Music History
  • Musicology
Contact information

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Music


  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

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