Queen's University

Social History of Popular Music

 

MUSC 171

 

Course Description:

A survey of important trends in 20th century Western popular music. Topics include genres, individual artists and groups, record labels and stylistic trends, and sociological issues.

Students first are introduced to a series of musical terms and concepts (timbre, vocables, modulation, etc.), which they will be expected to integrate into class discussions and individual musical analyses. The course then moves historically through 20th-century Western popular music; we begin with blues, R&B, and country and western, after which we trace these musical genres into early rock 'n' roll. North American and European popular musics from the 1950s through to the 1990s are then examined; topics range from individual artists and groups (the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen) to record labels and stylistic trends (Motown, Stax), to musical genres (punk, heavy metal), and finally, to sociological issues (gendered and racial representations).

Learning Outcomes:

The learning outcomes of this course are: 

1) To recognise and define musical concepts and elements in popular songs; 

2) To compare and contrast musical elements and intentions; 

3) To recall persons, events, and themes critical to the development of popular music; 

4) To understand the social, cultural and historical influences that shaped the musical genres covered in class. 

Evaluation: 3 online tests + a final exam

Download sample course outline

About the Instructor:

Kip Pegley