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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Music

Postgraduate Course: Making sense of popular music (MUSI11050)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is designed to introduce the field of popular music studies and new directions in popular music research through discussion-driven seminars focusing on selected readings. It also situates the study of popular music in relationship to the filed of musicololgy and examines how this has changed in recent decades.
Course description Topics covered in the course will change from year to year in according with developments in the field and student interests, but may include:

1. What is popular music and popular music studies?
2. What is the history of popular music?
3. Who makes popular music?
4. Who sells popular music?
5. Who listens to popular music?
6. What is a popular music instrument?
7. How do we analyze popular music?
8. What are the politics of popular music?
9. Is popular music just a matter of taste?
10. What is the future of popular music?

The course will provide an overview of the main trends in musicology in the last 30 years. Thus a range of recent theoretical work by prominent scholars associated with a variety of critical viewpoints in contemporary musicology will be discussed.

Issues addressed will normally include: popular culture, the body, race, gender, sexuality, and the relationship of musicology to other approaches to music. Classes will normally take place weekly, and will comprise staff- and student-led seminars organised around set readings.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  15
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 8, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 168 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Summative assessment (100%) has two components:
1,500 word essay (25%)
3,500 words essay (75%)
Feedback All students will submit a formative essay mid-way through the semester. Written feedback on this assignment will be provided within 15 working days of the hand-in date.

Students will receive oral feedback during class and on request by appointment.

Students will receive written feedback on their final essay within 15 working days of submission.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of key theories, principles, and concepts in the field of popular music studies.
  2. Critically review the relationship between various approaches (e.g. sociology, musicology, cultural studies) to popular music research.
  3. Plan and execute a significant analysis of a specialist topic within the study of popular music.
  4. Communicate key concepts and debates within popular music studies with peers and senior colleagues.
  5. Exercise substantial autonomy and initiative in the development of their analysis of popular music.
Reading List
Indicative bibliography:


Beard, D. and Gloag, K. 2005. Musicology: the key concepts. London: Routledge.

Bennett, Andy, and Barry Shank and Jason Toynbee (eds). 2006. The Popular Music Studies Reader, edited by, London: Routledge.

Clayton, Martin et al (ed). 2003. The Cultural Study of Music. London: Routledge.
Frith, Simon. 1996. Performing Rites. On the Value of Popular Music. Oxford: OUP.

Frith, Simon. 2007, Taking Popular Music Seriously, Aldershot: Ashgate.

Horner, Bruce and Thomas Swiss, 1999, Key Terms in Popular Music and Culture. Oxford: Blackwell.

Longhurst, Brian. 2007. Popular Music and Society. Cambridge: Polity.

Negus, Keith. 1996. Popular Music in Theory. Cambridge: Polity.

Toynbee, Jason. 2000. Making Popular Music: Musicians, Creativity and Institutions. London: Arnold.

Wall, Tim. 2003. Studying Popular Music Culture. London: Hodder Arnold.


Journal of Popular Music Studies
Popular Music
Popular Music and Society
Music Week [this is a business digest of developments in the music industry]
Scottish Music Review
Journal of the Art of Record Production
Music and Arts in Action
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Keywordspopular music,Sociology of music,Musicology,Popular culture
Course organiserDr Marian Jago
Tel: (0131 6)50 2426
Course secretaryMiss Remi Jankeviciute
Tel: (0131 6)51 5773
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