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MUI2006 Introduction to Popular Music

Semester 2, 2012 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Arts
School or Department : School of Creative Arts
Version produced : 30 December 2013

Contents on this page


Examiner: Melissa Forbes
Moderator: Martin Crook


Critical, scholarly reflection on, and analysis of popular music are important skills for musicians. As increasing emphasis is placed on popular music in school syllabi, this course will allow students to continue their secondary studies in popular music to the tertiary level and, in turn, provide input to potential private and classroom music teachers. This course is also designed for students interested in music as recreation or wishing to cultivate cross-disciplinary interests.


The course will provide a detailed overview of the principal styles of contemporary Western popular music and their historical development. Australian popular music will receive especial focus.


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. have an understanding of the historical development of Western popular music from 1950 to the present;
  2. identify aurally important songs and styles;
  3. have an understanding of the way popular music relates to society and culture;
  4. have an understanding of the principal issues in the development of Australian popular music;
  5. learn skills in writing about music that can be developed into further music scholarship, criticism and music journalism.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction. An overview of major trends in Rock music from 1950s to the present. 8.00
2. The roots of Rock 8.00
3. The 1950s and the musical characteristics of early Rock. Its manifestations and proponents in Australia. 8.00
4. Rock in the late 1950s and early 1960s 8.00
5. British Rock of the 1960s - Beatles etc 8.00
6. Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - an in depth study of a Rock 'song cycle'. 8.00
7. American innovations of the 1960s 8.00
8. 'Art' Rock of the late 1960s, early 1970s 8.00
9. Major Trends of 1970s rock 8.00
10. The 1980s 8.00
11. Towards the Millennium and after 6.00
12. Indigenous Contemporary Music in Australia 14.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Covach, J 2009, What's that sound?, 2nd edn, WW Norton, New York.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Charlton, K 2003, Rock Music Styles, 4th edn, McGraw-Hill, Boston.
  • Covach, J & Boone, G 1997, Understanding Rock: Essays in Musical Analysis, Oxford University Press, New York.
  • Garofolo, R 2004, Rockin' Out - Popular music in the U.S.A, 3rd edn, Peason/Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River.
  • Henke, J et al (eds) 1992, The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll, 3rd edn, Random House, New York.
  • Moore, A 1997, The Beatles: Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Directed Study 42.00
Examinations 2.00
Private Study 121.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
5 WEBPOSTINGS & SUMRY 600 WRDS 100 20 27 Aug 2012
ESSAY (2000 WORDS) 100 40 19 Oct 2012
EXAMINATION - 2 HOURS 100 40 End S2 (see note 1)

  1. Students will be advised of the examination date when the timetable has been finalised.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students? responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration. Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course where required.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade, a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    The exam for this course is a RESTRICTED examination, and the only materials that candidates may use are writing materials (non-electronic and free from material which could give the student an unfair advantage in the examination.) Students whose first language is not English may take an appropriate unmarked non-electronic translation dictionary (but not technical dictionary) into the examination. Dictionaries with any handwritten notes will not be permitted. Translation dictionaries will be subject to perusal and may be removed from the candidate's possession until appropriate disciplinary action is completed if found to contain material that could give the candidate an unfair advantage.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any deferred or supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if required by the Examiner

  3. In accordance with University Policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. If electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course, students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  5. If the method of assessment submission is by written, typed or printed paper-based media students should (i) submit to the Faculty Office for students enrolled in the course in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail to the USQ for students enrolled in the course in the external mode. The due date for the assessment is the date by which a student must (i) submit the assessment for students enrolled in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail the assessment for students enrolled in the external mode

  6. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email.

  7. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  8. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded one of the temporary grades: IM (Incomplete - Make up), IS (Incomplete - Supplementary Examination) or ISM (Incomplete -Supplementary Examination and Make up). A temporary grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  9. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  10. Students may be assigned an "Incomplete" grade to signify that all the requirements of the course have not yet been met. Students who are graded "I" can pass the course by successfully completing such additional work as prescribed by the examiner by a given date. Students who have been awarded an IM, ISM, IDM or IDB grade must access information regarding further work to be completed, in the Student Centre of U Connect. The Grades Page in the Student Centre contains information about further work to be completed. Students who have not completed the additional work to the satisfaction of the examiner by the given date will receive the appropriate Failing grade.

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.