Understanding Popular Music, in Theory, Practice and Culture
Understanding Popular Music 2022-23
School Of Arts, Culture And Language
Module - Semester 2
The first part of the module will offer a contextual history of the development of popular music analysis as a sub-discipline of musicology, seeking to explain why popular music should be studied seriously and how thoughts about this have developed especially since the 1980s. The second part of the module will examine different modes of analysis, with reference to case studies, allowing students to become familiar with approaches such as Schenkerian techniques, soundbox, semiotics, lyrical analysis, and deconstruction of visual accompaniments (e.g. music videos). It will also give students a firm understanding of the leading authors in the field and how their approaches differ and interact. The ability to read music notation is desirable but not essential for this module.
-threshold -Threshold (D– to D+): Work which displays basic knowledge of the subject, with some limited ability in conceptual and critical thinking, expressed intelligibly. -good -Good (B– to B+): Work which displays a good grasp of the subject, with evidence of strong ability at conceptual and critical thinking, expressed engagingly. -excellent -Excellent (A– to A*): Work which displays a thorough grasp of the subject, with evidence of depth and originality in conceptual and critical thinking, expressed convincingly. -another level-Fair (C– to C+): Work which displays fair knowledge of the subject, with satisfactory ability at conceptual and critical thinking, expressed understandably.
- On completion of this module, the student should be able to apply skills of musical analysis, source-based research, and critical thinking, and conceptual thinking in relation to the music studied
- On completion of this module, the student should be able to communicate ideas about the music studied in a manner commensurate with professional musicological protocols
- On completion of this module, the student should be able to demonstrate and apply a detailed knowledge and understanding of popular music in culture (current or historical) and be able to evaluate this in relation to their wider knowledge
- On completion of this module, the student should be able to demonstrate and apply a detailed knowledge and understanding of specific methodologies / techniques of popular music analysis and be able to evaluate their broader relevance
Deliver a 10-minute presentation, demonstrating through original application your understanding of at least one mode of analysis discussed on the module. You may not use any song discussed on this module. Year 2 students must discuss at least one song (one is fine); Year 3 students must discuss at least two songs (two is fine).
Essay Write a 3000-word essay demonstrating your understanding of at least two modes of analysis covered on this module. You must apply the analysis to at least two pieces of popular music and make it clear how the analysis is informed by your chosen models. At least some of your essay must situate the chosen examples in the cultural context. The ‘essay’ can be in the form of a traditional essay, literature review, analytical commentary or a scripted podcast / YouTube style video. Full details are provided in the module handbook.