There are no admission requirements for this elective course.
With the transnational opening of the media market in the 1950s, the popular song made in the US and the UK reached new audiences on an unprecedented international scale. Figures such as Elvis, Little Richard and Billy Haley became icons of an emerging global space of interaction. The rest is history: the British invasion, punk and disco, pop and grunge, rap and EDM. Popular music came to stay. But is this ‘global’ dimension of popular music all there is to it?
From the Latin 'popularis', ‘popular’ means ‘prevalent among the people’, definition from whence its meaning as ‘widely supported’ derives in the first place. If that is right, then countless musical practices from every corner of the world (considered one’s own and that of others) should be labeled popular too. In addition, most of such traditions are engaged in the global space of interaction, significantly so in terms of marketing and distribution, which adds to the complexity of today’s musical picture.
In this course, the students explore the tension between the definitions of ‘popular’ and ‘global’ by examining a number of musical materials with an eye to formal features and socio-musical practices. Said materials include (but are not limited to) diverse styles of rock, pop and R&B as well as traditions from the Balkans, South America, East Asia, the Middle East and South Africa.
Upon completion of this course, students will:
Understand the intricacies at the heart of “popular”, “global” and similar categories concerned with contemporary musical experience, in awareness of the repertoires such headings stand for.
Develop skills to analyse and critically appreciate diverse musical materials in a global context.
Understand their own “personal narratives” of musical experience in the light of broader “narratives” (cultural, subcultural, countercultural, national, supranational and regional).
Become familiar with a number of key musical practices and aesthetic features worldwide.
Identify the impact of political economy on the global music industry.
The timetables are available through My Timetable.
Mode of instruction
Lectures and workshops
Active Participation 25%
Final Exam 25%
The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.
Adorno, T. (1991), On the Fetish-Character in Music and the Regression of Listening. in Bernstein, J. M., (ed.) The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture, London: Routledge.
Bennett, A. (2012), Reappraising « Counterculture ». Volume! [Online], 9(1), Online since 15 June 2014. URL: http://volume.revues.org/3499; DOI: 10.4000/volume.3499.
Bor, J. (2008), En toen was er wereldmuziek en werelddans... And then there was world music and world dance... Leiden: Faculteit der Kunsten, Universiteit Leiden.
Connell, J and Gibson, C. (2004), World music: Deterritorializing place and identity. Progress in Human Geography 28 (3), pp. 342-362
Hjarvard, S. (2008), The Mediatization of Society: A Theory of the Media as Agents of Social and Cultural Change. Nordicom Review, 29(2), pp. 105-134.
Kwon, H. (2017), Korean Pop Music and Korean Identities: A Political-Cultural History of Korean Pop Music and Its Use of Traditional Korean Musical Elements. In Shin, H. and Lee, S-A., (eds.), Made in Korea: Studies in Popular Music, Ney York and Oxon: Routledge [ebook].
Middleton, R. (1993), Popular Music Analysis and Musicology: Bridging the Gap. Popular Music, 12(2), pp. 177-190.
Wallis, R. and Malm, K. (1990), Patterns of Change. In Frith, S. and Goodwin, A., (eds.), On Record: Rock, Pop and the Written Word, London: Routledge. pp. 160-180.
Recommended Reading Material:
Haynes, J. (2005), World music and the search for difference. Ethnicities, 5(3), pp. 365-385.
Peterson, R.A. (2004), Why 1955? Explaining the Advent of Rock Music. In Frith, S., (ed.) Popular Music: The Rock Era, London, New York: Routledge. pp. 273-296.
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Overview of elective courses in music and fine arts
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