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Applied Popular Theory II

Course Code: MUSC 1276
Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Department: Music
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course furthers the student's understanding of the theory of popular music, and its practical application for the modern day musician. The student will be exposed to the central concepts and practices found in a wide variety of popular styles of music. The course will focus on popular music from the late 1960s to modern day. Exercises and assignments will include analysis and composition within selected styles.

Course Content

  1. Harmonic Practices:
    • More Pop (diatonic / chromatic)
    • Blues / Rock (modal / tonal)
    • Ostinato techniques
  2. Form: 
    • 32-bar form
    • Blues forms
    • Ostinato forms
    • Sections:
      • Intro, bridge, coda, etc.
      • Turnarounds, transitions, etc.
  3. Textural considerations:
    • Vocals
    • Rhythm section
    • Keys / pads
    • Horns
    • Other
  4. Analysis:
    • Written analysis of selected repertoire
    • Aural analysis of selected repertoire
  5. Other topics:
    • Scoring for small ensembles
    • More instrumentation
    • Basic orchestration
    • Chord voicing
  6. Selected repertoire from these areas:
    • Pop / rock
    • Psychadelic
    • Metal
    • Disco
    • Punk / new wave
    • Synth pop
    • Rap / hip hop
    • Grunge
    • Electronic dance music (EDM)

Methods of Instruction

Lecture and practical demonstration

Means of Assessment

Quizzes (minimum of 4)

Assignments (minimum of 2) 30%
Midterm exam 20%
Final exam 20%
In-class work (presentations, demonstrations, participation)  10%
Total 100%

Learning Outcomes

MUSC 1276 continues to develop the concepts and practices introduced in MUSC 1176.  At the end of the course, the successful student wil be able to:

  1. Understand and apply the core theoretical concepts of pop music used to create characteristic pop sounds.
  2. Create more complex charts, scores and parts.
  3. Gain valuable insight into the idiomatic practices of popular music.
  4. Compose short examples within various contexts.

course prerequisites

MUSC 1176 or permission of the instructor



curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.