Module WXM-3160:
The Beatles

Module Facts

Run by School of Music and Media

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Prof Chris Collins

Overall aims and purpose

  1. To foster understanding of the music of the Beatles;
  2. To understand the sociological context of the pop world of which the Beatles were a part;
  3. To locate their importance within the context of musical development during the 1960s.

Course content

This course will explore the music and recordings of the Beatles by:

a) Studying the group in its historical and biographical contexts b) supplying a series of critical and analytical frameworks for a more detailed understanding of their songs.

Selected recordings will be studied from the early, middle and late periods of the group’s development. At the same time the social and cultural context out of which the music emerged during the 1960s will also be studied.

Assessment Criteria


D-: Work which displays basic, restricted knowledge of the subject, with simple ability at conceptual thought, and a limited awareness of issues, but has some evidence of a generally intellectual approach, with fair expression.


B-: The work should display a sound grasp of the subject, a good level of conceptual thought, awareness of the main issues, with evidence of intellectual acumen and good expression.


A: Work which displays a thorough grasp of the subject, with evidence of further study, deeper thought, originality of approach and excellent written skills.

Learning outcomes

  1. have developed an increased knowledge of popular music scholarship generally, and that concerning the Beatles specifically

  2. have familiarised themselves with the history and musical style of the group and the creative inputs of Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr

  3. be able to comment analytically on specific songs

  4. have developed skills of communication and discussion in the class, and displayed satisfactory writing skills in their assessed work

  5. demonstrated enhanced critical and analytical skills

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight

Essay, from choice of three or more questions set in the module handout.


Presentation from a choice of topics set by the module tutor, to be given on a date specified by the module tutor.


Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study

78 hours of private study.


One class of 2 hours' duration per week for 11 weeks.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Musicianship skills – recognition, classification, contextualisation, reconstruction, exploration
  • Intellectual skills specific to Music – contextual knowledge, cultural awareness, critical understanding, repertoire knowledge, curiosity, analytical demonstration
  • Technological skills – digital capture, digital expression, digital innovation
  • Intellectual skills shared with other disciplines – research and exploration, reasoning and logic, understanding, critical judgement, assimilation and application
  • Skills of communication and interaction – oral and written communication, public presentation, team-working and collaboration, awareness of professional protocols, sensitivity, ICT skills, etc.
  • Skills of personal management – self-motivation, self-critical awareness, independence, entrepreneurship and employment skills, time management and reliability, organisation, etc.
  • Enhanced powers of imagination and creativity (4.17)


Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: