MUS 111 Popular Music: Revolutions in the History of Rock (Not offered 1999-2000)

This course will trace the history of rock music from the 1950s to the present, focusing on those musicians who revolutionized the genre in various periods. Such "revolutions" are discovered in the use of new sounds and musical forms, in the relationship between lyrics and musical setting, and in the conception of rock's role in society. Three objectives will underpin our studies: to develop listening skills with music that one often hears, but perhaps rarely listens to intently; to determine in what ways popular music can be interpreted as reflecting its cultural context; and to encounter the work of several of the more innovative musicians in the history of rock. Finally we will interrogate our own activities by asking why the study of the "merely popular" should be pursued in a liberal arts education, whether new approaches can be developed for this endeavor, and what makes music "popular." Evaluation will be based on two tests, one paper, and a final exam. No prerequisites or musical background assumed. Enrollment limited to 80.