In particular I am interested in lectures that cover the Major Eras (Early, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, etc.), i.e. a survey course.

I very enjoyed Schickele Mix, and wonder if there is a similar lecture where music and lecturing are balanced. I have listened to some of "The Great Courses" lectures, which are almost all by Robert Greenberg, but find that there is too much talking relative to the music.

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    I'd also note that I took the class for which "First Nights" (ISBN: 9780300091052) is the companion book. Although the focus is mainly music history and not very much music theory, it's somewhat relevant and quite cool to listen to the five pieces and read the book in parallel.
    – auerbachb
    May 13, 2015 at 22:27

2 Answers 2


Howard Goodall has a few good series, but you may again think the talking exceeds the music samples.

Story of Music episodes 1 - 6


You might be interested in this MOOC on the Coursera platform offered by Yale University, titled Introduction to Classical Music and taught by Craig Wright, the Henry L. and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Music Emeritus at Yale University. It's a nine-week long course, which covers a basic amount of musical theory and discusses some of the important artistes and the characteristics of each of the eras of western classical music from the Middle Ages to the present.

Here are the titles for the contents of each week — detailed descriptions can be found on the course page itself.

  1. What is Music?
  2. How Music Works, it's Magic.
  3. The Sound of Music
  4. Music Back in the Day
  5. The Baroque Era
  6. The Classical Era
  7. The Bridge From Classical to Romantic
  8. The Romantic Era
  9. Music to the Present

I recently completed this course and found it to be very balanced in content between the historical information, the musical theory and the listening examples.

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