This is our catalog of courses. We will occasionally adjust the course listing to reflect the addition of new courses and the retirement of others.
A study of the development of our sacred music traditions by studying history and culture from Old Testament Times until 1400. Issues covered in the course include music, art, architecture, development of notation and instruments, and commentary on historical, theological, and philosophical topics.
A study of the development of our sacred music traditions by studying history and culture from Old Testament Times until 1400. The video portions within the “class lecture were shot on location in Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, Milan, Castellammare di Stabia (near Vesuvius), Cluny, Strasbourg, Paris, Speyer, Eisenach, Cologne, Canterbury, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yaroslavl, Kizhi, Prague, and the US.
Issues covered in the course include music, art, architecture, development of notation and instruments, and commentary on historical, theological, and philosophical topics. Major contributors to the course include the monastics from the St. Louis Abbey, Sr. Dame Margaret Truran OSB, Dr MIchael Dodds, Dr. Christopher Perrin, Dr. Jeremy Adams, Dr. Chris Anderson, and Dr. John Trapani, as well as the chant-singers and performers on Medieval instruments (the Italian Ring-Around-Quartet + friends) and on reconstructed historical instruments from Greco-Roman Times (Synalia, a marvelous group of archeo-ethnomusicologists who conduct research, build historical instruments, perform, and record “period” music for films including movies like Gladiator). All of these people and their expertise and performances will enrich the course greatly.
Introduction to Gregorian Chant. What is chant, where did it come from, and why has it remained the paradigm of liturgical music into present times?
Jerusalem. On location with archeologist Yuval Edden, we explore Old Testament accounts, the key sites in Jerusalem, and the Jewish roots of Christian music.
Into What World? Christianity moves from Jerusalem into an artistic and linguistic culture created by Ancient Greece.
The Roman Empire. We recreate the sights and sounds of Antiquity on location in the shadow of Vesuvius by the experts of Synaulia.
Pray Without Ceasing. With the Roman Empire’s collapse, we see the rise and spread of monasticism from the Egyptian desert to Saint Benedict at Monte Cassino near Rome.
The Mass. The shape of Christian liturgy through the Dark Ages, its key elements, and influences on later eras.
From Barbarians to Charlemagne. On location in Charlemagne’s capital of Aachen, we see how the Carolingian Renaissance unifies Europe and spreads a system of education that leads to our early musical notation.
Elaboration. Humans decorate. We look at the magnificent illuminated manuscripts, books copied by hand, and the move from monophonic (single-voice) music to polyphony.
Eastern Orthodoxy. The Christian Church in the Eastern Roman Empire followed its own path, retaining a chant tradition that resisted Western influence. On location in Russia, we hear the untuned bells and the marvelously rich sounds of the Russian choral tradition.
Polyphony, Pilgrimage, and Crusade. Pilgrims from all across Europe sing as they trek to Jerusalem, Rome, Canterbury, and Santiago de Compostela. We visit the ruins of the greatest pilgrimage way station of all, the magnificent Abbey of Cluny in France.
The Innovative 13th Century. Centers of learning move from the monasteries to Universities and cities across Europe vie to build the greatest Cathedrals in the new Gothic style. In a 15th-century church outside Milan, the Ring Around Quartet performs late medieval music.
The Turbulent 14th Century. Plague, war, and famine sweep across Europe. Sophisticated musical notation leads to music of great complexity, and a Renaissance appears on the horizon. The Ring Around Quartet provides a glimpse of the new style, and we close the course with reflections from Prague.
Course Materials: The course materials are completely electronic (video lectures that precede each live lecture: text materials, vocabularies, chronologies, assignments, quizzes, etc.). It is possible, if a student wishes, to purchase the course also in hard-copy at https://www.professorcarol.com/professor-carols-store/ but everything a student needs is in the on-line materials.
Each student, therefore, is asked to purchase a semester-long access to the course materials (unless using the hard-copy version). There is special pricing for Homeschool Connections students ($30.00 for the semester) with https://www.professorcarol.com/early-sacred-music/. This price will be available with a coupon code, emailed to each enrolled student. Access to the course materials is valid for immediate family members too! This means you all can learn together as a family.
Homework: Students will view the video recorded lecture for each week’s topic (1 hour in length). The academic material for each week includes vocabulary, chronology, terminology, and research into specific topics. There are unit quizzes as well as a mid-term and a final. The mid-term is automated, but the final is not. Correct and suggested answers are given in a .pdf for the final exam on the course website.