This course introduces students to the people and institutions who shaped the history of Western music from antiquity through the Baroque period. Important topics of discussion will include the origins of Western musical notation, the development of polyphony, the shift from modal to tonal theories of harmony, and the invention of opera. Throughout the semester, we shall focus on understanding how even the largest of these developments came about through the decisions of individual musicians and their patrons in response to an ever-changing mosaic of historical circumstances. The broader aims of the course are to encourage music majors and minors to start developing a breadth of understanding as to the multiple ways in which understanding music in an historical time frame might be important. We will also use the historical case studies as a means of investigating issues that have a trans-historical valence, such as: the role of music in ritual practice; the aesthetics of difficulty in music; questions of expression; the variety of means by which text and music might interact; problems posed to understanding by music.