MUS 3506: Theory and Analysis of American Popular Music

3 Credits

This course provides a basic introduction to analyzing popular songs, primarily those within the Anglo-American tradition. Although the course focuses directly on the musical details, techniques, and forms pertaining to popular songs, larger questions of meaning and interpretation, production, sound and instrumentation, history of musical style and genre and historical periodization, important individual performers/songwriters and artistic formations, marketing and sociology, and globalization will not be ignored—but they will be most often pursued in the context of analyzing specific songs and recordings. Like any viable form of music, popular music is also a living practice, and hence our engagement with popular music will also require us to be in contact with practitioners of popular music here in the Twin Cities. Finally, the course will require students to engage with popular music in a number of ways—transcription, analysis, aural skills, ethnography (of a modest sort), composition, performance, and expository writing. The class begins with basic parameters as explored in rock music (which, for the purposes of this class, overlaps with classic R&B/soul), then moves backwards to various origination points for rock in American popular music, and then pursues various different topics for the remainder of the course. prereq: [MUS 3501, MUS 3511] with a grade of C- or better

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A Average (3.861)Most Common: A (83%)

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12 students
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    Effort
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    Understanding
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