Fall 2024: European, African, and Asian Adventure

MU 333 History of Rock and Roll [CRN 76717]

Overview of Course

This course will conduct a historical overview of rock and roll with emphasis on listening skills, musical analysis, the artists, and the industry. It will concentrate on rock and roll and popular music in each region and port-of-call on our journey, taking advantage of the unique opportunity to experience the music firsthand. The course will begin with a brief tutorial on basic music skills from a western perspective (rhythm, melody, harmony, timbre, texture, improvisation, etc.) as a way to inform critical listening. It will then examine rock and roll and popular music as localized musical traditions, and as social, political, and economic phenomena. We will also explore the styles’ influences, roots and origins, and the way listeners in various cultures interact with them. The course will include analyses of form, lyrics, major trends and styles, significant composers, compositions, performers, and impact on world culture.

Assignments will include reading critical writings on rock and popular music from the fields of history, musicology, sociology, ethnomusicology, cultural studies, and journalism. Students will access audio and video recordings and attend concert attendance of performances. Additionally, the course will include written assignments, field assignments, and focused class discussion. Students will form and articulate written arguments and opinions in response to listening and readings, in the process becoming better cross-cultural listeners. The class will address issues such as cultural appropriation, authenticity, the technological effects of production and consumption, ritual, gender, identity, migration, ethnicity, social relationships, global economics, politics, and ideas of the sacred. By the end of the course, students will have an enhanced enjoyment of cross-cultural rock and popular music, and will be able to think critically through listening.