Music History and Literature Faculty

Classical Music History and Literature
Stratis Minakakis
Gregory E. Smith
Hermann Hudde

Jazz History
Rick McLaughlin

‡ also College faculty

Certificate Programs

A Certificate of Merit is available in Music History. Check out our Certificates page for more information.


Music of the World

For more information on this course or to enroll, please visit the Contemporary Improvisation page.


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The History of Western Music I:
From the 9th through the early 18th Centuries

Register for CE Non-Credit buttonGregory E. Smith, Instructor
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 6:00 - 7:30 pm
3 Credits: $1950
Non-credit: $1305
Early Start: Begins 9/3

Note:  This course follows the NEC college calendar.

The recorded history of music in Christianized Europe begins with the notation of sacred chant in the 9th century.  The development of that repertory over the next several centuries laid the foundations on which the composition of music, sacred and secular, was based for generations to come.  We will trace in this class the course of music's development from its long gestation in the bosom of the Church through its phases of courtly and aristocratic patronage, stopping at the Enlightenment.  The focus of study will center on the changes of musical style that occurred over time, and on the social-cultural circumstances that engendered those changes.  Among the composers to be studied:  Perotin, Machaut, Dufay, Josquin, Palestrina, Monteverdi, Lully, Corelli, Bach, and Handel. There will be a mid-term and final exam, and one written critique of an assigned reading.


The History of Western Music II: From the Enlightenment to Recent Times 

Gregory E. Smith, Instructor
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 6:00 - 7:30 pm
3 Credits: $1950
Non-credit: $1305
Early Start: Begins 1/12

Note:  This course follows the NEC college calendar.

Many of the notions we hold today regarding music and its role in society are rooted in ideas that emerged in the Enlightenment of the 18th century. We will begin with a close study of those ideas and the music it fostered, then follow the rise of music to its preeminent role among the arts in the 19th century. Finally, we will explore the alternative paths composers pursued following the rupture with tonality and with conventional views on music at the start of the 20th century. Works from Bach to Babbitt will be included in our survey. There will be a mid-term and final exam, and one written critique of an assigned reading.

Jazz History I

To learn more, or to enroll for this course, please visit the Jazz Studies page.

Jazz History II

To learn more, or to enroll for this course, please visit the Jazz Studies page.

The Art and Soul of Cinema:
An Appreciation of Film Music

To learn more, or to enroll for this course, please visit the Film Music page.

Experiencing American Popular Music

TBD, Instructor
1.5 Credits: $975
Non-Credit: $655

This course is available as an online course only and will be taught asynchronously thus allowing students the flexibility to attend and complete coursework that fits one's schedule. Weekly online discussions with fellow students and the instructor will be expected. Assignments are also completed on a weekly basis. This online course is intended to help you think creatively and critically about popular music. We will study the most significant styles of American music in chronological order, beginning with the roots in the 19th century and continuing through the present day. We will explore several recurring themes throughout the course utilizing recordings, film and video examples of:

  • The interaction of European American, African American, and Latin American traditions
  • The influence of mass media and technology (printing, recording, radio, video, Internet)
  • The role of popular music as a symbol of identity (race, class, gender, generation)

The course will enhance your enjoyment and understanding of the music you already know, as well as introduce you to less familiar styles and genres. You will develop critical listening skills and become more informed consumers of popular music.  This course fulfills the Music History/Literature requirement for Certificate Students. Any specific questions regarding this online course should be directed to

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Latin American Classical Traditions I

Register for CE Non-Credit buttonHermann Hudde, Instructor
Monday 6:00 - 7:00 pm
1 Credit: $650
Non-credit: $435
Fall Semester Only
Begins 9/3

The history of Latin American art music stretches back more than 500 years and is extremely rich and varied.  The course portraits chamber music, concertos, operas, ballets, art songs, choral and instrumental music by Latin American composers. This level include classes on the following topics: Latin American Colonial Music (sacred and secular); the schools of ‘Minas Gerais’ from Brazil and ‘Chacao’ from Venezuela during the end of the Eighteenth century; Nineteenth Century Latin American Music; Latin American Music Indigenism; Africanism and Latin American Nationalism. The combined political, social, cultural, historical, economic, and musical aspects of this course will be of particular interest to students seeking the kind of innovative and interdisciplinary learning between music, culture, history, society, politics and economics. The students will hear music by composers including: Gaspar Fernández (1566–1629), José de Cascante (1646 –1702),  Juan de Herrera (ca.1665 -1738), Juan de Araujo (1646–1712), Juan Manuel Olivares (1760-1797) José Ángel Lamas (1775-1814), José Joaquim Emerico Lobo de Mesquita (1746-1805) José Mauricio Nunes Garcia (1767-1830), Manuel Saumell (1818-1870), Antônio Carlos Gomes (1836-1896), Ignacio Cervantes (1847-1905), Teresa Carreño (1856-1917), Felipe Villanueva (1862-1893), Alberto Nepomuceno (1864-1920), Manuel Ponce (1882-1947), Silvestre Revueltas (1899-1940), Amadeo Roldán (1900-1939), Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959), Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983) and Carlos Chávez (1899-1978).

Latin American Classical Traditions II

Hermann Hudde, Instructor
Monday 6:00 - 7:00 pm
1 Credit: $650
Non-credit: $435
Spring Semester Only
Begins 1/12

Level II includes classes focusing on Music Panamericanism; Latin American art songs, Latin American Music Syncretisms, Latin American Music after 1950; the Grupo de los Cuatro in Mexico, Grupo de Renovación Musical  in Cuba, Grupo Renovación  in Argentina and Música Nova  and  Música Viva in Brazil; the influence of Latin American music in European and North American composers, and one class dedicated exclusively to the Venezuelan social and musical program, “El Sistema,” established 37 years ago by Dr. José Antonio Abreu. In this class, the students will learn more about the music of composers such as Juan Carlos Paz (1901-1972), José Pablo Moncayo (1912-1958), Francisco Mignone (1897 –1986), Camargo Guarnieri (1907-1993), Ernesto Lecuona (1895 –1963), Leo Brouwer (1939), Miguel del Águila (1956), Julián Carrillo (1875-1965) and his Sonido 13, Roberto Sierra (1953), Mario Davidovsky (1934), Paul Desenne (1959), Gabriela Ortiz (1964), Tania León (1943), Aurelio de la Vega (1925), and Mario la Vista (1943). Discover and enjoy how the genres, rhythms, melodies and harmonies have been transformed in Latin America as well as the examination of the origin and development of each nation's musical identity. For all music lovers!