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Journal of Historical Research in Music Education



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Musicology -- Pedagogy


Claude V. Palisca (1921–2001) was a prominent American musicologist and music educator. He authored books and articles about Renaissance and Baroque music theory and developments in musicology, but is most widely known as the founder and first editor of the Norton Anthology of Western Music (NAWM) and coauthor of A History of Western Music, the two music history textbooks that are still in use in classrooms worldwide. In this article, we trace Palisca’s first idea of the NAWM’s structure, content, and purpose through his writings and activities between the 1950s and late 1970s. The central part among Palisca’s activities in music education belongs to his organization of the Yale Seminar on Music Education, his seminar report, and the listening curriculum designed to instill more balance between performance and academic study in largely performance-oriented public school music programs. In his listening curriculum, Palisca argued for emphasis on understanding music through listening within the historical and theoretical context of the music work, an approach he would later pursue in the NAWM. Palisca hinted that a similar teaching “package” is needed for the undergraduate level, thus identifying the listening curriculum from his Yale Seminar report as the first glimmer of the future NAWM.


This is the author's accepted manuscript of an article that subsequently appeared as: Simonović Schiff, J. D., & Humphreys, J. T. (2020). Claude V. Palisca as Music Educator: The Yale Seminar on Music Education and the Norton Anthology of Western Music. Journal of Historical Research in Music Education, 41(2), 179-200. . The version of record may be found at:



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