Study Abroad and Exchanges



MUS2065 : Issues in Popular Music Culture (Inactive)

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The aims of this course are:

• To familiarise students with the key scholarly themes in understanding popular music culture in the late modern West.
• To introduce students to the social significance of mass mediated music of everyday experience.
• To encourage an understanding of the critical approaches to the study of popular musics.
• To extend students knowledge of, and appreciation of, different repertoires and approaches to vernacular musical traditions.
• To improve student communication and critical thinking skills.

The module examines critical approaches to popular musics. Students learn about how music constructs gender, class, race, histories, identity, nationalism and how changes in technology, capitalism and society are performed in and through music. Students are introduced to traditions that may be unfamiliar to them, or have their knowledge of such traditions as they already are familiar with extended. The principal mode of contact will be through lectures and seminars with individual study and reflective listening and reading. The module is examined summatively at the end of semester 1, with some small zero rated formative written assignments throughout the semester, which require students to undertake their own research.

Outline Of Syllabus

This course moves thematically through some of the key critical concepts in the sociological and anthropological understanding of popular music culture. Students will discover:

• Key concepts and terminology in popular music culture.
• Key analytical resources and methods for the analysis of popular music in contemporary culture.
• An understanding of how society is constitutive of, and constructed by, popular music.
• How popular music culture acts as a cultural discourse of gender, race, ethnicity, and class amongst other concepts.
• How popular and vernacular musical sound relates to social structures in the late modern West.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion321:0032:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:0011 x 2 hour lectures in semester 1 2016-17
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1001:00100:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00Drop-in surgery hours in weeks immediately preceding examination period.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study321:0032:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures provide a forum for the presentation and discussion of key critical concepts, musical sound, set texts and explorations of materials and methods of investigation. Weekly seminars enrich and deepen student comprehension of key concepts and issues in popular music culture and significantly enhance their teamwork, communication and critical skills through small group discussions with staff and other students. Student independent learning for this course, which involves listening, reading and reflecting on key sources and texts, which helps to develop and enrich knowledge of the musical traditions and scholarly perspectives on popular music in society.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A100Final summative exam tests student understanding; supported by small formative zero rated res. assignments throughout the semester.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1MResponses to key scholarly texts and musical examples throughout the semester. Marks are provided as feedback to aid improvement.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

• Lectures introduce key topics, authors and repertoire.
• Seminars deepen student knowledge, communicative skills and critical evaluation.
• Summative examination at end of semester 1 tests understanding of total module.

Reading Lists