fbpx Popular Music in America | Phillips Exeter Academy

MUS202: Popular Music in America

What is American popular music? How does the rich variety of American popular music styles reflect trends in American society and the major events of American history?

What is American popular music? How does the rich variety of American popular music styles reflect trends in American society and the major events of American history? Through a series of readings and recordings, students will trace the history of popular music in America across three extended time spans: 1840-1920 (beginning roughly with Stephen Foster and the advent of minstrelsy through ragtime and early blues forms); 1910-1950 (to include New Orleans jazz, syncopated song and dance music, big band, swing and bop, and Chicago jazz); 1950-1980 (including cool jazz, rock and roll, rhythm and blues, British rock, rock, soul, Latin music, and contemporary jazz). Emphasis will be placed on developing understanding and perception of the musical elements of instrumentation, rhythm, melody, harmony, dynamics, texture and form through study of classic recordings from a wide spectrum of popular artists.