COURSE TITLE: Popular Music
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3(hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course takes students through the development of Western popular musical styles such as blues, gospel, jazz, folk, country-and-western and rock-and-roll. The course examines the musical elements that define these common genres, how those elements have changed over time and how popular music has both reflected and influenced social change.

Students with credit in MUSI 251 cannot receive credit in MUSI 351.
REQUIRED TEXTS: Starr, Larry and Waterman, Christopher, American Popular Music. OUP: New York, NY. 2018.
Exam 1, written and listening 25%
Exam 2, written and listening 25%
Chapter Listening mini-exams (5 x 5%) 25%
Class Presentation 15%
Comprehensive Essay 10%
  • Through reading, writing and general analysis of music, students will demonstrate a broad understanding of American popular music, its styles and formats and the issues and concepts that proceed from the music
  • Through listening, students will be able identify a broad sampling of popular music and artists from the 19th century to the present
  • Students will be knowledgeable about the worldviews that inspire expression in popular music
  • Students will be knowledgeable about political and social trends and events that transpire within—and inspire—popular music and its musicians 
COURSE OUTLINE: The three-hour Monday evening classes are divided into two sections: A=6:30-7:50 PM; B=8:00—9:20 PM.
Good luck surviving both!
  • 1: 14 September
    • A: Introduction; Textbook introduction; Chapter 1: Themes
    • B: Chapter 1: Streams
  • 2: 21 September
    • A: No-pressure student favourite music presentations; Chapter 2: “After the Ball”: 19th and early 20th century pop
    • B: Chapter 3: Social Dance and Jazz
  • 3: 28 September
    • A: Listening mini-exam #1: Chapters 2-3; Chapter 4: Tin Pan Alley
    • B: Chapter 5: Blues and Hillbilly Music
  • 4: 5 October
    • A: Listening mini-exam #2: Chapters 4-5; Chapter 6: Swing
    • B: Chapter 7: Post-WW2. C&W, R&B, Sinatra, the Mambo etc.
  • 5: 19 October
    • A: Listening mini-exam #3: Chapters 6-7; Chapter 8: Early rock n’ roll: covers, business, styles and stars
    • B: Review and/or catch-up
  • 6: 26 October
    • Examination #1: Chapters 1—8
  • 7: 2 November
    • A: Chapter 9: the 60’s, British Invasion, Motown, Beach Boys etc.
    • B: Chapter 10: the 60’s, Country, Soul, Folk and Rock
  • 8: 9 November
    • A: Listening mini-exam #4: Chapters 9-10; Chapter 11: the 70’s, Rock and Disco
    • B: Chapter 12: the 70’s, Country, Reggae, Salsa, Punk, Funk and early Rap
  • 9: 16 November
    • A: Listening mini-exam #5: Chapters 11-12; Chapter 13: the 80’s, early digital technology, MTV, MJ, Prince and Madonna
    • B: Class Presentations
  • 10: 23 November
    • A: Chapter 14: the 90’s, Hip Hop, Alternative and business
    • B: Class Presentations
  • 11: 30 November
    • A: Chapter 15: the 00’s, Internet, New music economics, Rock, Hip Hop, the Diva and globalization
    • B: Class Presentations
  • 12: 7 December
    • A: Catch-up/wrap-up/review
    • B: Class Presentations

Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

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