Spring 2021 - CA 140 OL01

Music after 1900 (3)

Class Number: 8291

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Location: TBA

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Mar 4, 2021
    7:00 PM – 10:00 PM

    Apr 20, 2021
    11:59 PM – 11:59 PM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, Burnaby



An introductory survey of major historical trends and practices of music in the 20th and 21st centuries as revealed by the study of selected music examples. Critical issues fundamental to an understanding of contemporary composition will be examined (e.g. impressionism, twelve-tone music, indeterminacy, the role of technology, improvisation). May be of particular interest to students in other departments. Students with credit for FPA 140 may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Humanities.


Music Since 1900 looks at the issues involved in being a creative musical artist in the 21st century. By creative musical artist, we begin from the understood term of “composer”, but expand it to include those organisers of sound that deal directly with sound (i.e. sound artists), as well as composer-performers who present their music directly to their audience.

It is important to note that the focus is outside the realm of popular music; although it does include serious considerations on the influence of popular music on composers and sound artists today, the course is not about writing, recording, or performing popular music.

The course is intended for incoming students into the School for the Contemporary Arts’ music program, presenting issues we feel is important for young aspiring musical artists to consider; however, the course has no pre-requisites, so it is open to any student in the university.

Topics include:

  • Historical context dating back one thousand years, and including popular music;
  • how race and gender can be considered;
  • the role and influence of politics;
  • music and identity;
  • appropriation and how “borrowing” has been considered;
  • art music, and its role in contemporary society as well as historical perspectives;
  • functional aspects of musical use (i.e. music for film, dance, and games);
  • and finally performance: what does it mean to play someone else’s music, or your own?

CA140 might be considered a music appreciation course of 20th/21st century art music (itself a tenuous term).


Students will learn to differentiate important musical styles through listening and to discuss the main formal elements and attributes that define those styles. They will understand and be able to explain the social and political forces that led to the formation of new styles and formal approaches, as well as the contributions of different nations to the development of contemporary musical language.


  • Bi-weekly assignments (7) 35%
  • Midterm exam 10%
  • Weekly quizzes 10%
  • Final Exam 15%
  • Bi-weekly Group Assignments (6) 30%


Independent Activities

The independent graded activities in this course consist of a seven assignments; weekly quizzes; a midterm (10%); and final (15%).

Group Activities

Additionally, there are a number of group projects required for this course, including six assignments worth 5% each. All individuals in groups will not be assigned the same mark; instead, peer evaluation will determine how the group mark is dispersed amongst the group.

You will be assigned to a group during the first day of classes - this will be your group for the remainder of the term. Group membership will be re-evaluated in the 3rd or 4th week of classes to balance groups due to enrolment changes.



All music is available as audio (i.e. not notated musical scores) via two online music databases available to SFU students through the SFU library: Classical Music Library (CLM) and DRAM.


There is no required text. All readings are included in the course material found in the individual study units within the course website. This website, Canvas, is accessible only to you, other CA 140 students, your TA, and the course instructor.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).