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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Music

Undergraduate Course: Jazz Studies: Critical Perspectives on Music and Culture (MUSI10102)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryWhat is jazz, anyway? Why is it such a powerful and frequently contested cultural symbol? How and why did it develop and change throughout the 20th century, and what might it mean today? Through a mix of lectures, weekly seminar discussion, set readings, and guided listening/viewing, students will engage with some of the various ways in which jazz has been (and remains) operative as both musical and cultural practice.
Course description While not a history class per se, this course will take a roughly chronological approach to examining the evolution of jazz as musical and cultural practice from c. 1920 - 2000. In addition to contextual musical content, relevant theoretical frameworks will include (but are not limited to) aspects of race theory, gender theory, disability, anecdotal theory, and approaches drawn from ethnomusicology. In addition, the ethical implications of scholarship will be regularly addressed particularly in relation to notions of genre, and the tensions surrounding notions of music as cultural practice vs. music as/in commodity form.

NB: This course does not assume prior knowledge of jazz, though students will be expected to augment classroom sessions with reading and listening in order to provide themselves with sufficient contextual basis for discussion and assessment. The course does not concentrate on musical theory/notation, and you will not be required to read or write music for either weekly class sessions or assessments (though you may choose to if you like). This is not a performance-based course.

Lecture topics may include (indicative only):

- Early Black Music in America
- Signifyin', Orature, and Issues for Musical Analysis
- Jazz and the Commercial Marketplace
- Performing Race/Performing Gender
- Genre and Ethics of Identity in Jazz
- The Improvisational/Compositional Interface
- The Problem of Whiteness and Discourses of Rhythm
- Jazz as Cultural Practice

Each weekly session will be split into two: an hour of seminar-based discussion on set readings, listening, and/or viewing followed by a 50-minute lecture to help contextualise the reading and listening tasks to be discussed in the following session. Central to the course will be an exploration of various theoretical approaches to the study of jazz, and to their successful application in a 10-minute oral presentation (40% course mark) and c. 3500 word summative essay (60% course mark). Two weeks of the course will be set aside for the oral presentations, enabling students to learn from their peers and expand their contextual understanding of jazz practices. The course will be supported by weekly set readings, weekly listening, film clips as appropriate, and a resource list to assist with assessment tasks. Additionally, students are welcome to attend the ECA's weekly Jazz and Popular Music Study Group for additional discussion/support.

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 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  30
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 9, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 12, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 60 %, Practical Exam 40 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1. 10-minute oral presentation (40%) (c. week 5)
2. 3250 - 3500 word research-based essay (60%) (c. week 12)
Feedback Students will receive on-going formative feedback from both peers and members of staff during weekly seminar discussion.

Feedback on the oral presentation will include: brief informal questions/comments, written peer feedback, written staff feedback. There will also be a one-hour plenary feedback session addressing issues across all presentations, designed to help inform work on the summative essay (esp. with regard to the comprehension and appropriate application of theoretical frameworks).

Feedback on the summative essay will primarily be by way of formal written comments.

One-to-one sessions to augment feedback for any piece of assessment or the course in general will be offered via weekly office hours.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identify and explain the differences between various styles/sub-genres of jazz between c. 1920 - 2000.
  2. Relate socio-political developments to musical developments in jazz.
  3. Distinguish and discuss various modes in which jazz is operative (music, culture, commerce).
  4. Select and apply relevant analytical and/or theoretical frameworks as appropriate to a critical study of jazz.
Reading List
A selection of readings will be provided for each weekly session, along with a more comprehensive reading list to support research activity.

Indicative readings may include:

Samuel Floyd, Jr. 1994. The Power of Black Music: Interpreting its History from Africa to the United States. Oxford University Press.
Ted Gioia. 2016. "How to Listen to Jazz". Basic Books.
Lewis Porter. 1988. 'Some Problems In Jazz Research' in Black Music Research Journal, 8.2.
Ken Prouty. 2012. Knowing Jazz: Community, Pedagogy, and Canon in the Information Age. University Press of Mississippi.
Sherri Tucker, ed. 2008. Big Ears: Listening for Gender in Jazz Studies. Duke University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course will require that students:

- Be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of key theoretical concepts, and to be able to correctly choose and identify theoretical frameworks to areas of study.
- Consolidate and apply their understanding (theory, content) through two defined research tasks, much of which will require them to exercise judgement and creativity in discerning appropriate research pathways (balancing academic and non-academic sources, oral vs. textual information, musical approaches vs. cultural approaches).
- Present their understanding to an informed audience of peers (assessed presentations), as well as to interpret, analyse, and select the most appropriate research data to support their findings.
- Regularly consider the ethical implications of jazz research, esp. with regard to race, gender, identity, and notions of power imbalance/consent.
- Exercise autonomy in the selection, completion, and presentation of two research projects.

Keywordsjazz,black music,improvisation,gender,race,disability,popular music,ethnomusicology,genre,orature
Course organiserDr Marian Jago
Tel: (0131 6)50 2426
Course secretaryDr Ellen Jeffrey
Tel: (0131 6)50 2430
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