G. F. Handel G. P. Palestrina J. S. Bach Joseph Haydn



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Illinois State University – School of Music

Study Guide for the Music History Proficiency Exam




Examples of Possible Terminology
You should know which musical style period the term is associated with, along with a definition and a composer/composition that exemplifies the term.
Gesamtkunstwerk virelai Minuet & Trio fauxbourdon lauda

New German School Agréments Expressionism Formes fixes Bebop

2nd Viennese School Alberti Bass French overture nocturne cavatina

microtonality basso continuo frottola organum polytonality

Burgundian cadence Idée fixe serialism musique concrète serialism

Cabaletta leitmotif Sprechstimme madrigal style galant

Doctrine of Affections Minimalism troubadour Empfindsamer Stil minnesinger

Verismo sturm und drang figured bass monody ricercar

Cantus firmus mass da capo aria scat singing patter song neumatic chant


Examples of Possible Composers/Musicians
You should know which musical style period the musician is associated with, as well as his/her nationality, career highlights/important contributions, types of musical compositions and other creative efforts, musical style characteristics.
Gustav Mahler Aaron Copland John Adams Bernardt de Ventadorn

Hildegard von Bingen Jacob Obrecht Orlando di Lasso Louis Armstrong

G. F. Handel G.P. Palestrina J.S. Bach Joseph Haydn

Perotin Béla Bartók Josquin des Prez J-P Rameau

Hector Berlioz Francesco Landini Arnold Schoenberg Leonard Bernstein

Franz Liszt Franz Schubert John Cage Guillaume de Machaut

Guiseppe Verdi Frédéric Chopin W. A. Mozart Antonio Vivaldi

C.W. Gluck Johannes Ockeghem Richard Wagner Barbara Strozzi



Claudio Monteverdi Johann Stamitz G-B Sammartini Robert Schumann


Listening Excerpts
Listening selections will require you to identify historical period, genre, list at least two musical-stylistic characteristics, and suggest a possible composer.


Examples of Essay Questions
You will need to write at least two pages on a question similar to the following. You need to demonstrate your mastery of the subject as well as your writing skills.
1. Compare and contrast the conditions of music patronage for any two adjacent historical periods. (What the social status of musicians was; who supported musicians; what musicians were expected to do; how successful or independent could a musician be, etc.)
2. Discuss progressivism versus conservatism in nineteenth and twentieth century music. (Which musicians were progressive and which were conservative; what types of music are considered progressive or conservative, what determines whether something is conservative or progressive, etc.)
3. Discuss the direct impact of extra-musical factors on specific compositions (and composers) in two historical periods of your choice. (Define what is meant by extra-musical factors; give examples of works and musicians who used them or avoided them; what elements in the music reflect or are determined by extra-musical factors, etc.)
4. Compare and contrast church music with secular (i.e., non-church) music in two adjacent historical periods.
5. Discuss the history of opera through two adjacent historical periods.
6. Discuss the development of orchestral literature in two adjacent historical periods. Be sure to discuss specific repertoire (three from each era) as well as orchestration, forms, and genres.


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