This module asks the question, what can music do?

We will learn about how music constructs gender, class, race, histories, identity, and how changes in technology, capitalism and society are performed in and through music. You will be introduced to new ways of understanding popular music and how it constructs society. You will be expected to engage with the weekly themes and to understand how music can actively shape our lives. The principal mode of contact will be through lectures, and listening and weekly reading assignments will be set. The module is examined through a written examination at the end of semester 1.

Outcomes
  • A familiarity with and critical understanding of a range of popular music repertoires
  • An understanding of the scholarly approaches to studying such musics
  • Critical awareness of the student’s own position with respect to vernacular musics
  • An appreciation of the relationships between historical and social factors with respect to vernacular musics
  • An ability to critically engage with the cultural context of musical sound
  • Improved teamworking and negotiation skills
  • Improved written communication skills
  • Greater self-awareness and reflexivity
  • Enhanced research skills


The principal mode of contact will be through lectures and seminars with individual study and reflective listening and reading. The module is examined summatively at the end of semester 1, with some small zero rated formative written assignments throughout the semester, which require students to undertake their own research.