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Course name
Early Sacred Music with Carol B. Reynolds, Ph.D.
Recorded course taught by Carol Reynolds High School Music

NOTICE: This is an older course recorded with Adobe Connect and/or Vimeo recordings. We are currently working to replace the recordings with new Zoom recordings.  Please don't hesitate to email us at homeschoolconnections@gmail.com with any questions.

How to get the most out of Early Sacred Music With Carol B. Reynolds, Ph.D.:

1. First, make sure you are registered for the course at the web address below so that you can access the course materials which lie on my website. Register for Early Sacred Music at the monthly rate of $9/month. 


2. For each unit of the course, you will "go to class" via "attending" the video lectures and reading the printed material (text) that is interspersed.  [note: if you happen to purchase the hard-copy version of this course--and some students choose to do that--then it comes in three parts:-- the printed materials in the Text, the assignments in the Workbook, and the video class sessions on the DVDs.]

3. Make sure you see and complete the quizzes that are placed throughout the course and stay on schedule for taking them. There is also a midterm and a final exam.

4. Once the course is completed, there is a Certificate of Completion at the end to be filled in for your records.

5. Please note that the course is available (complete) in a hard-copy form (hard-copy text, hard-copy workbook DVD set for lectures).  IF you wish that, instead of working online.  it is available at our store.

Total Classes:  12

Duration: c. 55 minutes of video "class" (lectures, interviews, visits to actual sites, discussion by specialists, many at those locations, musical excerpts). Text for each unit to be read, studied, and assignments. Short weekly quizzes. Time commitment between 3 1/2 and 5 hours a week, depending on the student.

Prerequisite: none

Suggested Grade Level: 9th to 12th grade

Suggested Credit: One full semester Sacred Music, History, or Fine Arts

Instructor: Carol B. Reynolds, Ph.D.

Instructor Email: carol@professorcarol.com

Course Description:  A study of the development of our sacred music traditions by studying history and culture from Old Testament Times until 1400. The video portions within the "class lecture were shot on location in Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, Milan, Castellammare di Stabia (near Vesuvius), Cluny, Strasbourg, Paris, Speyer, Eisenach, Cologne, Canterbury, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yaroslavl, Kizhi, Prague, and the US.

Issues covered in the course include music, art, architecture, development of notation and instruments, and commentary on  historical, theological, and philosophical topics. Major contributors to the course include the monastics from the St. Louis Abbey, Sr. Dame Margaret Truran OSB, Dr MIchael Dodds, Dr. Christopher Perrin, Dr. Jeremy Adams, Dr. Chris Anderson, and Dr. John Trapani, as well as the chant-singers and performers on Medieval instruments (the Italian Ring-Around-Quartet + friends) and on reconstructed historical instruments from Greco-Roman Times (Synalia, a marvelous group of archeo-ethnomusicologists who conduct research, build historical instruments, perform, and record "period" music for films including movies like Gladiator). All of these people and their expertise and performances will enrich the course greatly.

Weekly Outline:

  1. Introduction to Gregorian Chant. What is chant, where did it come from, and why has it remained the paradigm of liturgical music into present times?

  2. Jerusalem. On location with archeologist Yuval Edden, we explore Old Testament accounts, the key sites in Jerusalem, and the Jewish roots of Christian music.

  3. Into What World? Christianity moves from Jerusalem into an artistic and linguistic culture created by Ancient Greece.

  4. The Roman Empire. We recreate the sights and sounds of Antiquity on location in the shadow of Vesuvius by the experts of Synaulia.

  5. Pray Without Ceasing. With the Roman Empire’s collapse, we see the rise and spread of monasticism from the Egyptian desert to Saint Benedict at Monte Cassino near Rome.

  6. The Mass. The shape of Christian liturgy through the Dark Ages, its key elements, and influences on later eras.

  7. From Barbarians to Charlemagne. On location in Charlemagne’s capital of Aachen, we see how the Carolingian Renaissance unifies Europe and spreads a system of education that leads to our early musical notation.

  8. Elaboration. Humans decorate. We look at the magnificent illuminated manuscripts, books copied by hand, and the move from monophonic (single-voice) music to polyphony.

  9. Eastern Orthodoxy. The Christian Church in the Eastern Roman Empire followed its own path, retaining a chant tradition that resisted Western influence. On location in Russia, we hear the untuned bells and the marvelously rich sounds of the Russian choral tradition.

  10. Polyphony, Pilgrimage, and Crusade. Pilgrims from all across Europe sing as they trek to Jerusalem, Rome, Canterbury, and Santiago de Compostela. We visit the ruins of the greatest pilgrimage way station of all, the magnificent Abbey of Cluny in France.

  11. The Innovative 13th Century. Centers of learning move from the monasteries to Universities and cities across Europe vie to build the greatest Cathedrals in the new Gothic style. In a 15th-century church outside Milan, the Ring Around Quartet performs late medieval music.

  12. The Turbulent 14th Century. Plague, war, and famine sweep across Europe. Sophisticated musical notation leads to music of great complexity, and a Renaissance appears on the horizon. The Ring Around Quartet provides a glimpse of the new style, and we close the course with reflections from Prague.

Course Materials: The course materials are completely electronic (video lectures that precede each live lecture: text materials, vocabularies, chronologies, assignments, quizzes, etc.).  It is possible, if a student wishes, to purchase the course also in hard-copy at https://www.professorcarol.com/professor-carols-store/ but everything a student needs is in the on-line materials.

Each student, therefore, is asked to purchase a semester-long access to the course materials (unless using the hard-copy version). There is special pricing for Homeschool Connections students ($30.00 for the semester) with https://www.professorcarol.com/early-sacred-music/. This price will be available with a coupon code, emailed to each enrolled student.  Access to the course materials is valid for immediate family members too! This means you all can learn together as a family.

Homework: Students will view the video recorded lecture for each week’s topic (1 hour in length). The academic material for each week includes vocabulary, chronology, terminology, and research into specific topics.  There are unit quizzes as well as a mid-term and a final.  The mid-term is automated, but the final is not.  Correct and suggested answers are given in a .pdf for the final exam on the course website.

Course name
Early Sacred Music with Carol B. Reynolds, Ph.D.
Carol Reynolds
Art & Music ➤ Music
Grade level
High School
Course type
Recorded, free with subscription
Start time
January 13th, 2020 at 12:00 AM ET
Relative due dates
Relative due dates are disabled for this course.

About Carol Reynolds

Dr. Carol Reynolds weaves energy, humor, and history into everything she does. After a career as a professor at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, “Professor Carol” and husband Hank moved to a ranch and began creating Fine Arts courses for students and adults.

Her unprecedented Discovering Music: 300 Years of Interaction in Western Music, Arts, History, & Culture and Exploring America’s Musical Heritage reach across the world.  Her new course History of Early Sacred Music will appear this summer, as well as online courses on Russian Music, Research Skills for Students Entering College, and a new series on American Music. 

A pianist and organist, she is a popular speaker for the Van Cliburn Series, The Dallas Symphony, opera companies, and museums.  She works frequently in Eastern Europe and Russia as Study Leader for The Smithsonian.

Click here for more info about Carol Reynolds!

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