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Classical Music: An Introduction

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

Thi course offers a friendly and fun introduction to the world of classical music including symphonies, concertos, chamber music and opera. We shall explore the lives and works of well-known composers and listen to some of their most famous works. We shall consider the way in which classical music has developed, placing musical periods within their historical and cultural contexts. We shall discuss key compositional forms such as Symphony, Concerto and Opera, identify the key aspects of each form and of various musical periods (such as Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern). 

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment


Content of Course

The course aims to offer an introduction to the key periods of classical music and some major composers. We shall consider the definition of classical music and more specifically Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern and the ingredients of musical forms such as symphonies, chamber music and opera.

We shall become familiar with the lives of some of the most famous composers, consider the ways in which they influenced one another, and examine their most famous compositions and innovations. Throughout, we shall consider the cultural landscape of the time and discuss the influence of political and social changes on music.

Teaching method(s)

Students will be introduced to a wide selection of classical music and composers. The tutor will provide an overview and guided listening excerpts which will be followed by a supportive and friendly group discussion. Students will be encouraged to develop keen listening techniques and to describe their own responses to the pieces of music. 

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Consider and identify key aspects of classical musical periods – Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern;

  • Compare and contrast the work and influence of major composers;

  • Place musical works within their cultural, historical, political and social contexts.


Core Readings


  • The Vintage Guide to Classical Music, Swafford, J.

Web Sources

Class Handouts




If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.