Module Catalogue 2020/21

MUS2085 : Popular Music and Media

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Adam Behr
  • Lecturer: Dr Richard Elliott
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment

N/A

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment

N/A

Aims

This module explores the relationship between popular music and media from a variety of critical and sociohistorical perspectives. In posing questions about the ways in which music has been produced, consumed, curated and mutated, the module sheds light on the ideological structures underpinning the mediation of music in the past and present. It does so by examining the relationships between musical production and media technologies (the microphone, phonograph, radio, film, television, mp3, social media, etc.); the changing role and place of music in society as understood through an analysis of media technologies; the meaning and nature of musical mediation and reception in society; the political economy of the music industry; the creative potential of media technologies for processes of musicking and remediation (including mixing, mash-ups, memes and plunderphonics); the mediation of music in work and leisure activities (the use of music while we work and play); case studies of key figures who have shaped our understanding of popular music and media, from musicians and producers to theorists and philosophers.

Main module aims
•       demonstrate a systematic understanding and specialised knowledge of the complex relations involved in studying music as a changing industry, technology and mediated cultural form
•       identify, describe and evaluate leading contemporary scholarship engaging with popular music and media
•       identify and deploy key techniques of analysis and enquiry within the field and evaluate the appropriateness of a range of theoretical and practical approaches
•       devise and conduct scholarly investigations which synthesise critical theories and methodologies
•       devise and conduct practice-based projects which deploy creative responses to the challenges and possibilities offered by music/media texts

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will be delivered via lectures, seminars and workshops which will typically cover topics such as:

•       Music and mediation
•       Sound formats from cylinder to mp3
•       Curating music: from radio to social media
•       History of the playlist
•       Broken music and cracked media
•       Mash-ups and memes
•       Labels, copyright and sampling
•       Plunderphonics
•       Humans and machines and technomusicologies
•       Music and film
•       Music and TV
•       Advertising and music video
•       Muzak, gaming and distributed listening

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Students will develop their knowledge and understanding of various aspects of popular music production, mediation and reception through analysing and creating their own music/media 'texts'. They will gain an understanding of the relationship between forms of musical production and media technologies through the study of particular media technologies such as the microphone, phonograph, radio, film, television, internet, streaming and social media. In doing so students will gain an understanding of the changing role and place of music in society by studying how music is embedded in media technologies. Through a critical analysis of a variety of music/media texts students will gain an understanding of the nature and meaning of music reception. In doing so they will engage with the political economy of the music industry in order to understand the economic nature of the production of music within culture.

By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:
•       identify and define key terms related to the study of popular music and media
•       identify issues and questions related to the mediation and remediation of popular music and explore them in written and practice-based work
•       draw on appropriate music/media concepts and theories to understand the issues being explored
•       reflect analytically and critically on a variety of media/music source materials
•       draw on and synthesise ideas at different levels of abstraction from the disciplines attached to the study of music in society
•       reason critically and argue their case by drawing on relevant evidence

Intended Skill Outcomes

By the end of the module, it is expected that students will be able to:
•       conduct a literature search and assemble a bibliography relevant to the field of popular music and media
•       produce succinct summaries and compare arguments and debates presented in lectures and module materials
•       evaluate the merits of particular theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches
•       communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing
•       create media texts that respond to and evolve the topics, concepts, theories and practices under investigation
•       use relevant software to analyse, remix and remediate music/media texts
•       carry out research and media production tasks using a range of sources
•       work independently and in small groups, managing their own time and also being effective in collaborative exercises
•       appraise their own relationship to the academic and practical material under scrutiny
•       be self-reflective about their own skills and those of their peers

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials21:002:00Introductory online videos / lectures and materials – one in each semester. Online, non-synchronous
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials122:0024:00Online lecture material with associated tasks
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion301:0030:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading981:0098:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00Synchronous and online
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery22:004:00Online tutorial surgeries
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study301:0030:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lecture materials provide a forum for the presentation and discussion of key critical concepts, musical sound, set texts and explorations of materials and methods of investigation. Small group teaching sessions enrich and deepen student comprehension of key concepts and issues in popular music and media and significantly enhance teamwork, communication and critical skills through small group discussions with staff and other students. Student independent learning for this course involves:
•       listening, reading and reflecting on key sources and texts, which helps to develop and enrich knowledge of popular music and media repertory and scholarly perspectives on the role of popular music in society
•       practice-based tasks which develop students’ abilities to understand how popular music is mediated and how remediation of music/media texts can afford creative and critical reflection

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A402000-word essay
Essay2A50Choice of essay or creative project - 2000-2500 word essay or non essay assessment to be agreed with module leader
Prof skill assessmnt2A10Series of short Canvas-based tasks to be completed during Semesters 1 and 2
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Written tasks (Sem 1 and Sem 2 summative ) assess:
•       comprehension of issues, theories and concepts introduced in lectures and seminars and the set reading
•       research skills
•       reflective and critical skills
•       ability to apply theories and concepts to a case study

Professional skills assessment assesses:
•       comprehension of topics presented in lecture materials
•       reflective and summative skills
•       tasks associated with small group sessions
•       continued engagement with module

Timetable

Past Exam Papers

General Notes

N/A

Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2020/21 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2021/22 entry will be published here in early-April 2021. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.