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MUS 290

Musicology Topics

Introductory explorations of topics in music history (encompassing art, popular, and folk musics) approached through musicological and interdisciplinary lenses and addressing historical change over time. The topic may address a specific composer, group, movement, era, or genre, or a particular theme or issue in music history. Promotes skills in historical thinking, interpretation, awareness of social/cultural influences on music, writing, and critical thinking. May be offered as a W. No prerequisites.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1/2-1 course

Spring Semester information

Ronald Dye

290A: Tps: American Song Making: The Evolution of American Roots Music

This course focuses on songwriting as both a literary and a musical creative act. Students will explore how contemporary popular music genres such as rock, R&B, country and hip-hop, among others, have their origins in older musical traditions such as blues, jazz, hillbilly and other indigenous music of the Americas, and how the older musical forms from the past century evolved historically into the commercial music we know today. At the center of all these musical traditions is the craft of making songs. Students will have the opportunity to study songwriting both critically and creatively: they will analyze songs in terms of structure, form and meaning; and will also craft their own original song lyrics. Students with musical skills will also be able to compose music for their songs. While musical abilities will be of value for much of the coursework, it is not necessary to be able to sing well or play an instrument to participate fully in the course.