Krug Hall 242
Section Information for Spring 2017
This course is a historical survey of popular music in twentieth century America, which focuses on the emergence of the popular music industry from Tin Pan Alley to the present. Specifically, we will study the history of rhythm and blues, rock and roll, heavy metal, punk, rap, reggae, grunge and hip hop. We will explore how these genres evolved and influenced each other over time. Another important dimension of the course will be learning how the history of immigration, race relations, gender relations, and class in America play a key role in understanding why certain musical styles develop and become popular. Moreover, we will study how the music industry operates and learn how corporate interests influence popular taste in music. Finally, we will trace the history of recorded sound technologies in order to understand how music became such a marketable commodity. Since music is the focal point of the course, weekly assignments include readings, listening to music, and screenings of films about popular music.
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