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From the Music Department at the University of Southampton in England – a course that uses the 33 1/3 series in an interesting way. I wonder what the kids make of Warren Zanes’s book…


1 unit Course tutor: Dr Sarah Hill
CP value 15

Pre-requisite: Consent of the instructor; students are expected to have achieved at mark of at least 60 in a second-year unit on a topic in popular music, e.g. MUSI 2017 Music in Popular Culture, MUSI 2083 British Rock Music, MUSI 2088 Flappers to Rappers.

Aims: to investigate ways of analyzing recorded performances of popular music and understand the long-playing record as an indication of stylistic and cultural changes in popular culture.

Objectives: Having successfully completed the unit, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a range of popular musical styles, popular musicology, and the analytical techniques currently used to deepen understanding of popular music, key issues facing musicologists in the field of popular music studies.

Content: This unit is built round a series of case studies, focusing on albums from the popular musical repertoire of the last 50 years. Using the recent Continuum 33-1/3 Series of album guides as the basis for listening and discussion, you will be introduced to larger issues surrounding the interpretation of popular music recordings as historical artifacts and as larger structural units for interpretation and analysis.

Method of delivery: one two-hour lecture per week, including student-led seminars and formal class discussions.

Method of assessment: book review (c. 1200 words) 20%; class presentation 30%; write up of class presentation (2000-2500 words) 20%; 6 fortnightly statements (via Blackboard) of class discussions 30%.

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