Douglas College wordmark
Facebook logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Snapchat logo YouTube logo Wordpress logo

Registration for the Fall 2019 semester begins June 25.  Watch your email for more details.

back to search

History of Popular Music

Course Code: PEFA 3136
Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course traces the development of popular music styles and genres from the roots of rock ’n’ roll to the present day in both sonic and social contexts. We explore how popular music has both reflected and influenced major social changes, also identifying musical elements that define individual popular music genres, and how those elements have changed over time.

Course Content

Selected case studies for each decade, drawn from the following styles, artists and events:

1. Roots of Rock ’n’ Roll to 1950

Delta Blues; Gospel; Country; Ragtime & Dixie; The Musical Legacies of Slavery; The Depression; The Great Migration & The Spread of the Blues; Electric Blues

The Legacy of Tin Pan Alley and the Music Industry Business Model

2. 1950s

Rock ’n’ Roll; Rockabilly; Skiffle; Country; Rhythm & Blues 

Post WW2 Affluence and the Emergence of the Teen Market

 

3. 1960s

Folk Revival and Protest Songs; The Rise of the Canadian Singer-Songwriter; The British Invasion

The Civil Rights Movement; From Race Records to Motown; Counterculture and Psychedelia; Drug Culture; Pop Art and the New York Scene; Hippies & Beatniks

 

4. 1970s

The Art of the Mixing Board (Dub); Funk; Jazz Fusion; Disco; Rock Music (Glam, Prog, Metal); Punk; New Wave 

Challenging Gender Stereotypes; Punk and the Birth of the Indie Scene; Disaffected Youth; Independent Record Labels; Rock Against Racism

5. 1980s

Hip Hop; Rap; Electro; Jamaican Dancehall; Indie; Mainstream Pop; Synth Pop

Digital Technology; Cell Phones; MTV

6. 1990s

Grunge; Britpop; Tribute Bands; Urban; Trance; Acid House; Jungle; Drum & Bass; Trip Hop; Pop Punk; Nu Metal; Trance; Techno; Canadian Singer-Songwriters

Napster; Globalization; Digital Recording; The Industry Fights Back

7. 2000s

Nu-Metal; Post Grunge; Singer-Songwriter; Alt Country; Unplugged

Digital Distribution; Bedroom Producers; The DIY Industry; The Impact of Declining Album Sales

 

8. 2010s

Dubstep; EDM in North America; Indie; Pop

Streaming; YouTube Hits; Synchronization and New Business Models

Methods of Instruction

  1. Lecture and class discussion, with focus on active listening to music;
  2. Viewing of video programs on music;
  3. Attendance at live concert performance(s);
  4. Collaborative learning through student presentation(s).

Means of Assessment

As sample breakdown of assignments and examinations is as follows:

Annotated Timeline with Playlist 10%

Reviews of Live Concerts/Videos 30%

Presentation 25% 

Weekly Listening and/or Reading Quizzes 20%

Final Examination 15% 

_________

Total: 100%

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course the successful student will have developed:

  1. Awareness of the social factors affecting the development of popular music (e.g. technology, migration, economics and demographics) and of the role of popular music in driving social change;
  2. Vocabulary to describe musical and sonic characteristics of popular music and evolving production techniques;
  3. Critical listening skills, enabling detailed discussion of production values, aesthetics and song structure.

course prerequisites

PEFA 1136, or MUSC 1120, or MUSC 1121, or permission of the instructor

Corequisites

None

Equivalencies

None

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.

assessments

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