Popular Music: Roots to Rap

Griffith University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Popular Music: Roots to Rap

  • Host University

    Griffith University

  • Location

    Gold Coast, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Music (BA)

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • 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
    This course provides the opportunity for students to explore the development of popular music from a number of different periods throughout the twentieth century. As well as including a survey of styles and forms, the course will also investigate socio-cultural aspects of popular music by looking at ways in which music can reflect trends in society and build social identity.
    Course Introduction
    Students are introduced to a different era in popular music history in each lecture, structured primarily by decade (eg. the 20s, the 40s) from the 1920s to the current era. Based on templates which are available to students, the popular music of each era is explored, but focusing on its relationship to its cultural and social context, for example the fashion, art, and events of the time. The aim is for students to not only learn about music of various eras, but also to understand its relationship to both the events and styles around it, and those which follow.
    Course Aims
    This course aims to present western 20th Century popular music as one integral aspect of a greater socio-cultural context.This will be approached through studying snapshots representing important popular music trends throughout that century, with a specific focus on the relationship of the music to concurrent artistic and technological advances (context) and to the impact of and on the past and future (continuum). Wherever possible, audio-visual representations of musical texts will be engaged so as to emphasize the importance of, for example, fashion, dance, and visual iconography as parallel signifiers (along with the music). The technology of each decade will also be discussed with reference to how it facilitates both the production and distribution of popular music. A multi-disciplinary approach to exploring each decade of the 20th century will also reveal how concepts and ideas likewise shape music forms. These approaches will be encapsulated in a contextual map to be presented at each lesson, encapsulating the course's aim to explore both the universal and the particular within any given musical example, or period of time, and in doing so provide a knowledge not only of popular musical styles, but of the importance of popular music to understanding the culture of a given time.
    Learning Outcomes
    After successfully completing this course you should be able to:
    1 Understand the relationship between popular music and the technological/socio-cultural matrix in which it is embedded.
    2 Identify the ways in which popular music is but one expression of popular culture and the core ideas/concerns/fascinations of the time (as well as, the past).
    3 Demonstrate familiarity with the various contexts within which popular music is received, along with its methods of transmission and distribution (for example, the symbiotic relationship of popular music and film).
    4 Engage with musical samples from the widest possible range of popular music practice and contemplate and understand their significance.
    5 Demonstrate the development of musical listening skills and aural awareness in general.
    6 Benefit from increased popular music research skills and scope of research methods.
    7 Identify and understand musical styles from a broad range of historical and cultural contexts.

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.