Universität Wien FIND

160069 UE Analysing Popular Music (2017S)

Continuous assessment of course work

Details

max. 40 participants
Language: English

Lecturers

Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Tuesday 07.03. 16:00 - 17:30 Hörsaal 2 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-01
Tuesday 14.03. 16:00 - 17:30 Hörsaal 2 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-01
Tuesday 21.03. 16:00 - 17:30 Hörsaal 2 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-01
Tuesday 28.03. 16:00 - 17:30 Hörsaal 2 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-01
Tuesday 04.04. 16:00 - 17:30 Hörsaal 2 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-01
Tuesday 25.04. 16:00 - 17:30 Hörsaal 2 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-01
Tuesday 02.05. 16:00 - 17:30 Hörsaal 2 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-01
Tuesday 09.05. 16:00 - 17:30 Hörsaal 2 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-01
Tuesday 16.05. 16:00 - 17:30 Hörsaal 2 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-01
Tuesday 23.05. 16:00 - 17:30 Hörsaal 2 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-01
Tuesday 30.05. 16:00 - 17:30 Hörsaal 2 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-01
Tuesday 13.06. 16:00 - 17:30 Hörsaal 2 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-01
Tuesday 20.06. 16:00 - 17:30 Hörsaal 2 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-01
Tuesday 27.06. 16:00 - 17:30 Hörsaal 2 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-01

Information

Aims, contents and method of the course

Popular music means so much to us, and yet we often forget how much of that meaning depends on the situation within which we hear it. Album art, music videos, the performance or attitude of the singer/band, the lyrics, the subculture involved, and many other factors influence what we hear and our response to it. The aim of this course is to develop a toolkit for analysing how musical texts, usually a recording or a performance, interact with their various listeners and contexts to generate meaning.

Music is sticky. When we hear music, it seeks out sources of meaning in our environment and sticks to them. Popular music is usually heard in combination with other media where it sticks to visual, linguistic, and sonic meanings forming multimedia blends that communicate ideas and feelings that neither the music nor the media could have managed alone. We will learn to analyse how this blended meaning arises by considering the variety of contexts in which popular music is heard: listening to recorded music in the home, live performance, music video, television drama, film, and advertising, amongst others.

In the final few lectures we will discuss the turn to affect. In the last few years, many popular music scholars have become less interested in what a piece of music means, and more in what it does. For example, popular music has been used to discipline, to punish, or as a weapon; its ‘energy’ or ‘aura’—rather than any overtly political content—has been used to mobilize protestors during political rallies. Understanding these phenomena requires new affective methods of analysis.

Assessment and permitted materials

The course will be examined by coursework consisting of:
1. c. 10 short exercises to be completed during the course. Each will require roughly one side of A4 paper (40%).
2. Extended analysis of a piece of popular music or other media object in which popular music plays an important role. Students may choose their own topic, and should use a selection of techniques learnt in the lectures. Length: maximum 3000 words (60%).

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

By the end of the course, students will be able to:
- understand that meaning is generated in the interaction between text, listener, and context,
- identify and describe the relevant carriers of meaning in the various contexts in which popular music is heard,
- analyse how music shapes meaning in those contexts,
- think critically about how social, political and economic forces shape the meanings attributed to popular music in ways listeners are not always aware of,
- understand the meaning of affect, and how the analysis of musical affect differs from the analysis of musical meaning.

Examination topics

The course will cover topics from among the following:
1. Music, multimedia, and meaning.
2. Timbre, arrangement, and rhythm in popular music.
3. Harmony, melody, and phrasing in popular music.
4. Analysing recorded music.
5. Album art and publicity.
6. Analysing performance.
7. Analysing genre.
8. Analysing music video
9. Popular music in television and film.
10. Popular music in advertising.
11. Popular music and affect.

Reading list

Nicholas Cook, Analysing Musical Multimedia (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998).
David Machin, Analysing Popular Music: Image, Sound and Text (London: Sage, 2010).
Richard Middleton (ed.), Reading Pop (Oxford: Clarendon, 2000).
Allan F. Moore (ed.), Analyzing Popular Music (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).
Allan F. Moore, Song Means: Analysing and Interpreting Recorded Popular Song (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012).

Association in the course directory

POP-V, FRE; B06(PM), B14, B17, B19; M01, M02, M03, M04, M05, M11, M14, M16

Last modified: Fr 25.10.2019 00:16