Music and Theology in the 16th Century: Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and the Council of Trent

Fall 2017
T 1:30-3:20pm
Area II
Permission Not Required
No Limit to Enrollment
Course Description: 

The Protestant Reformation in the 16th century was a “media event”. The invention of letterpress printing, the partisanship of artists like Dürer and Cranach and–not least–the support by musicians and composers were responsible for the spreading of the thoughts of Reformation. But while Luther gave an important place to music, Zwingli and Calvin were much more skeptical, and the English Reformation, given its unique circumstances, had yet another view of music and its function within liturgy and devotional life.

Objectives of the Course
The course will show how music was viewed by different camps of the reformation as well as by catholic theologians from the 16th century. Which theological decisions formed the basis for their view? How did these theologies of music effect musical practice, such as liturgical singing and more elaborate art music?

Background Expected: 

Basic knowledge of the history of the Reformation; no specific musical knowledge necessary

Course Requirements: 

Attendance, reading of assigned texts, one presentation, final paper

Basis of Evaluation: 

“H” or “A,” defined as “exemplary,” is reserved for outstanding work that shows not only competence but also mastery: intelligent organization, vivid expression, clarity of argument, freshness and originality. “HP” or “B” work, defined as “good,” demonstrates that a student understands the material, has a grasp on the issues in an assignment, and can develop an interesting line of thought; written expression is good. “P” or “C” work is weak, in content as well as form, but still acceptable. It is a wake-up call, however, and a warning that both the thought and writing demonstrated in the assignment are far below where they should be.
“F” indicates that the work cannot receive credit.
Plus and minus grades indicate the quality of a student’s work in relation to others in the same letter category. Late work is not eligible for the grade of “H” or “A” and will receive no comments.

Final grades for the course will be determined according to the following formula:
Attendance and participation:    20%
Presentation:    30%
Final Paper:    50%