RSU Music History MUSC 3443 (001)

Fall 2010 Professor: Hugh Foley, Ph.D.

Office Phone: 918-343-7566 e-mail: Office: Baird Hall 105

Class location: Baird Hall 107

Day/Time: MW 2p-3:15

Foley website:

Course Description: Music History, MUSC 3723, acquaints students with significant historical developments in music as it has progressed through the ages. This particular section of the course is devoted to the development and social significance of American popular music.

Course Prerequisites: None

Textbooks and Resources:

Starr, Larry and Christopher Waterman. American Popular Music: From Minstrelsy to MP3. 3rd ed.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Course Objectives:

In addition to understanding the progression of American popular music from the American colonial period through the present, students should also be able to contextualize contemporary popular music in the scope of its antecedents and influences. The two primary objectives of the course are to elevate the studentís understanding of how popular music reflects and influences society, and to further enhance the studentís expressive, communicative, and critical skills through writing about popular music.

Policies, Procedures, and Course Requirements

Contacting the professor: I often receive as many as fifty or more e-mail messages per day. Therefore, whenever writing me, make sure to title your e-mail "Music History Question" so I will know to give it priority. In addition, thanks in advance for including your name on the e-mail so I donít have to guess your identity based on a cryptic e-mail address. I generally can get to your e-mail within twenty-four hours, and often in a much shorter time. However, I typically donít get back to you until Monday if you e-mail me on a Friday afternoon.

Written Work Font and Format: All work should be typed in a 12 font using Times New Roman, the same font and style that is on this syllabus. All work should also be double-spaced.

Assessment Tools:

  1. Book review: Students will write a 750-word book review of a book about popular music that was published in the last five years. Students can find a number of these books in the RSU Library. A book review format would be as follows:
  1. thesis about the book, i.e., "J.J. Rockmanís Guitars, Cadillacs, and Groupies is an excellent book about the rock lifestyle because it examines the pleasures and pitfalls of being signed to a major label, the monotony of playing in a touring rock band, and the destructive temptations of working in the entertainment business."
  2. at least three quotes from the book to support the thesis
  3. at least one quote from a published review of the book
  4. Due October 5, 2010
  1. Music History Compact Disc Journal
    Journal 1: Students should write a detailed autobiography of their personal, popular music tastes and how those preferences have evolved throughout their life. Also include any instruments played, other involvement in music, favorite genre of music, and last piece of music purchased, downloaded, or otherwise acquired by choice.
  2. Journals 2 - 49: Students should complete a detailed journal about the music on the two compact discs that accompany the CD,well as answering the following questions to open and close the journal:
  1.  A thesis statement about the significance of the artist and track, such as why the song is included on the disc as a representative sample of the artist's personal career or their genre, any artist or artists influenced by the track or artist, and how the track represents the time period in which it was produced.
  2. Also include the year of songís initial release and any commercial or critical success it received.

    3. Journal 50: As a result of going through the course, detail anything you have learned that further      enhances your understanding of the genre of music you prefer the most, as well as anything else you think has benefitted you as a popular music listener.

Points possible: 100

                    Due: November 18, 2010

  1. Research Essay: Students will write a 1,500 word research essay on any major artist,
  2. genre, movement, album, or event in popular music history. Students must include at

    least five sources for their essay, and also provide photocopies of the sources from

    which individual quotes are taken. This does not mean students have to copy whole

    books or articles and turn them in with the essay, just the pages from which quotes

    are taken. The previous example in the book review of a proper thesis statement

    should also be followed in this essay. Due November 29.

  3. Mid-term and Final Exam: Exams will cover material in the textbook and lecture notes. The Mid-term exam will be October 20. The final exam will be given during finals week at the time published on the university final exam schedule.

Grading policy:

1. Book Review 25%

2. Compact Disc Journal 25%

3. Semester Research Essay 25%

4. Mid-Term and Final Exam Average 25%

Grading Scale

100% - 90% = A, 89% - 80% = B, 79% -70% = C, 69% - 60% = D, Below 60% = F


Tentative Course Schedule


Week 1: Course Intro/Chapter 1 "Themes and Streams of American Popular Music"

Week 2: Chapter 2 "Popular Music of the 19th and Early 20th Centuries"

Week 3: Chapter 3 "Jazz 1917-1935"

Week 4: Chapter 4 "Golden Age of Tin Pan Alley"

Week 5: Chapter 5 "Race Records and Hillbilly Music"

Week 6: Chapter 6 "The Swing Era: 1935-1945"

Week 7: Chapter 7 "The Postwar Era: 1946-1954"

Week 8: Mid-term

Week 9: Chapter 8 "Rock 'n' Roll: 1954-1959"

Week 10: Chapter 9 "Surf, Motown, British Invasion"

Week 11: Chapter 10 "Soul, Urban Folk, Rise of Rock"

Week 12: Chapter 11 "Rock Music, Disco, Popular Music Mainstream"

Week 13: Chapter 12 "Outsiders: Outlaw Country, Reggae, Punk, Funk, and Rap"

Week 14: Chapter 13 "Digital Technology, MTV, and the Pop Music Mainstream"

Week 15: Chapter 14 and 15 "Alternative Music and the Entertainment Business"

Week 16: Final Exam

Academic Integrity: Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty in which a student represents someone elseís work as his or her own. To avoid plagiarism, when you use someone elseís data, arguments, designs, words, ideas, project, etc., you must make it clear that the work originated with someone else by citing the source. Any work received by the instructor and determined to be plagiarized will initiate a lengthy and rather unpleasant series of administrative events detailed in the following section, "Academic Misconduct."

Academic Misconduct: Students are expected to follow university policies as put forth in the institutionís Student Code of Responsibilities and Conduct. In accordance with Title 12 of The Student Code (page 11), instances of alleged academic misconduct will follow the policies and procedures as described in Title 12. As a general rule, Faculty at RSU have the responsibility of enforcing the academic code. Therefore, if academic misconduct is suspected I will submit a letter of alleged academic misconduct to the Office of Student Affairs.

ADA Statement: If you have special physical, psychiatric, or learning disabilities, please let me know so that your learning needs may be appropriately met. You will need to provide documentation of your disability to the office of Student Relations, Prep Hall 110.

Attendance Policy: None. Students are responsible for anything they miss. Students are also responsible for withdrawing from the class should they determine they will not be able to complete the course.

Late Work: The instructor will accept work up to one week after is due, but students should not expect it to be returned until the next grading cycle that will occur when the next assignment is due.

Closure Statement: The schedule and procedures of this course are subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances. (University Closure Statement, IRPAA 8/25/99, p. 25).