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History of Rock (250-0-1)


Paul Gustav Feller Gumucio

Meeting Info

RCMA 1-168: Tues, Thurs 11:00AM - 12:20PM

Overview of class

As a musical genre, rock may conjure up associations with smashed guitars, black leather and denim, crowded festivals, deafening volume levels, and teenage rebellion, but for many fans it also produces a unique sense of nostalgia, belonging, and meaningfulness. This course will primarily introduce students to the history of rock as a localized cultural practice. Students will develop critical conceptual tools to engage with the aesthetics (both aural and visual) of rock from the 1950s to the early 2000s. We will question what people mean and do when they talk about rock, examine social movements associated with the genre, and discuss how these differ (or not) through time and location. Lectures will review album covers, video clips, concert recordings, and - more than anything - musical examples framed within the political, social, technological, and economic circumstances that undergird their aesthetic specificity. Students will write analytical essays, deliver an oral presentation, and engage in discussions. No prior knowledge of music is required for this course, but a love of rock is highly encouraged.

Learning Objectives

Students will learn critical vocabulary to analyze popular music and rock aesthetics, and they will learn to communicate their experience of music and their understanding of its cultural significance.

Evaluation Method

Students will be graded based on: 1) participation and attendance; 2) one group presentation; 3) submission of three analytical assignments; 4) a final paper that reviews and expands one of the three analytical assignments.

Class Materials (Required)

Most materials will be uploaded to CANVAS.

Class Materials (Suggested)

John Covach and Andrew Flory, What's That Sound? An Introduction to Rock and Its History, 5th ed. W. W. Norton, 2016. ISBN: 978-0-393-62414-4. Cost to rent or buy on Amazon as of 2/6/23 ranges from $14.48 to $106.50.

Class Attributes

Literature & Fine Arts Distro Area