Roots of Rock and Pop

Griffith University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Roots of Rock and Pop

  • Host University

    Griffith University

  • Location

    Gold Coast, Australia

  • Area of Study

    History, Music (BA)

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites


  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Course Description
    An investigation of the development of various contemporary forms and styles of popular music. Selected recordings by representative artists will be examined and discussed from both socio-sultural and analytical perspectives.

    Course Introduction
    This course will trace the roots and development of rock and roll and its various incarnations. Precursory musical styles will be examined in order to locate rock'n'roll's main stylistic influences. To this end, the course focuses on early 20th century popular music forms - including early black vocal groups, doowop, rhythm and blues, early country music, and honky tonk with a view to uncover both the musical and cultural influences that lead to the development of 1950s rock'n'roll. Rock'n'roll style, commercialised by the recordings of Bill Haley and Elvis Presley will inform an understanding of how musical and socio-cultural influences have shaped the development of rock as a dominant popular music style of the Western world.

    Course Aims
    The main aim of lecture presentations in this course is to broaden knowledge and understanding in students of the history and development of popular music styles from the early 20th century up to the late 1970s, including rhythm and blues, doowop, western swing and later country music styles, rock'n'roll, the Beatles, and 1970s progressive rock genres. For both popular music practitioners and those interested in popular music studies, this is important for the following reasons.
    - A wide knowledge of music repertoire traditionally informs and also broadens contemporary popular music creative practice because it provides an historical basis for songwriters, performers, and producers to build upon or recontextualise previous musical styles and genres.
    - To understand the values and other meanings that a culture/subculture assigns to the music that it makes and uses is essential in order to get to grips with the materials of music as a communicative form of human expression.

    Popular music is, traditionally, a collaborative form of creative activity and its 'meaning', connotation, and function is generally understood by the particular culture that produces and consumes it. The semiotic-based analysis assessment (either a written submission or a multimedia object) therefore emphasizes group work, for the following reasons.
    - A sharing of individual creative skills and knowledge and bringing together the combined strengths of multiple perspectives for these assessment items reflects current social process in popular music production and reception.
    - Group work will help develop teamwork, organisational, communicative and other such generic skills sought by employers.

    Learning Outcomes
    After successfully completing this course you should be able to:
    1 Define the main musical terms pertaining to popular music forms from early 20th century vocal groups to late 1970s progressive rock.
    2 Describe the development of popular music creative practice within the context of available conceptual paradigms and contemporary technological environments.
    3 Demonstrate a broad knowledge of semiotic theory and and popular music research skills;
    4 Apply critical musical listening skills and increased aural awareness to music analyses and interpretation;
    5 Investigate the influence of technology, live performance, and popular culture on the development of various popular music genres from the early 20th century to around the late 1970s;
    6 Ascertain relationships between structural aspects of music ("text") and its psychological, social, cultural and ideological qualities ("context");
    7 Interpret music as a form of inter-human communication;

    Assessment Plan
    Exam - selected and constructed responses - Mid Semester Examination 30%/30
    Assignment - Written Assignment - Semiotic Analysis Written Submission 40%/40
    Exam - selected and constructed responses - End of Semester Examination 30%/30

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.