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160061 VO Popular Music and Society (2020S)

Registration/Deregistration

Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).

Details

Language: English

Examination dates

Lecturers

Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Wednesday 04.03. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 1 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-09
Wednesday 11.03. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 1 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-09
Wednesday 18.03. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 1 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-09
Wednesday 25.03. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 1 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-09
Wednesday 01.04. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 1 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-09
Wednesday 22.04. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 1 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-09
Wednesday 29.04. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 1 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-09
Wednesday 06.05. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 1 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-09
Wednesday 13.05. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 1 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-09
Wednesday 20.05. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 1 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-09
Wednesday 27.05. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 1 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-09
Wednesday 03.06. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 1 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-09
Wednesday 10.06. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 1 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-09
Wednesday 17.06. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 1 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-09

Information

Aims, contents and method of the course

The course provides an introduction to the study of popular music and society. It aims to situate the popular music text—the recording, the performance, the music video—in its wider social, cultural and material contexts. It covers all the main theories about popular music, illustrating them with a variety of case studies.

Popular music is not simply a collection of songs existing in the aether; instead it is a complex process comprising numerous actors involved in diverse, often conflictual, social practices. These practices are mutually influential and cannot be separated from one another. However, for the sake of simplicity, the course breaks the study of popular music into four categories.

Music Industry—While many in the music industry surely care about music, the primary motivating factor here has to be seen as profit. Amongst other things, we will consider patterns of ownership, the nature of the markets, how rights are used to generate revenue, and the effects of digitization and globalization.

Production—Many bands or songwriters like to portray themselves as romantic geniuses, however, apart from the commercial pressures exerted on them by the music industry, numerous other factors and people play their part in the creative process. We will look at the social backgrounds of musicians, the ever-increasing role of the producer, the effects of technology, and forms of amateur and local production.

Texts—In this part of the course we will investigate the structure and content of popular music recordings and performances. We will think about the extent to which such texts (including lyrics and video) can be considered a form of communication and the different ways in which they embody and shape social attitudes to politics, gender, sexuality, race, and social status.

Audiences—The popular music process does not stop with the text but continues with consumption, which itself feeds back into production. We examine how music is used and developed by different scenes and subcultures (considering various theories of fan and celebrity culture), how the border between consumer and producer is being eroded in the digital age, and finally how people incorporate popular music into their everyday life.

Assessment and permitted materials

1.5 hour exam consisting of two sections:
A. Short questions to determine students basic understanding of material covered in lecture (60%);
B. Essay on subject of student's choice (40%).

UPDATE 20.05.2020: The first exam (24 June) will be a digital "take home exam".

The exam will now be only B. from above, so the essay on a subject of the student's choice will constitute the whole exam. The 'take-home exam' will be posted on Moodle on 24 June (original exam date). You should submit your essay then by 30 June.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

By the end of the course students will be able to:
- understand popular music as a complex social and material process comprising numerous agents and institutions;
- see popular music texts not as autonomous art works but as media through which people enter into a range of social practices;
- situate individual popular music practices within larger economic, social, and political contexts;
- think critically about the different meanings and values ascribed to popular music by the stakeholders (industry executives, musicians, critics, fans).

Examination topics

The Music Industry
- Business models
- A&R (Artists and repertoire)
- Marketing and distribution
- Rights and piracy issues

The Creative Process
- Musicians
- Social background
- Performance
- The role of the producer

Texts and Sounds
- Popular music as communication
- Authenticity
- Identities (gender, sexuality and race)
- Music videos

Audiences
- Fans as consumers and producers
- Subcultures and scenes
- Spaces and places
- Everyday life

Reading list

Brian Longhurst (2014). Popular Music and Society. 3rd ed. Cambridge: Polity.

Association in the course directory

BA: POP-V, INT, FRE
MA: M02, M03, M04, M05, M11, M13, M15, M16
EC: POM2

Last modified: Mo 05.10.2020 10:09