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MUI2006 Musical Contexts 2: Western Popular Music

Semester 1, 2019 On-campus Toowoomba
Short Description: Musical Contexts 2 Western Pop
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Creative Arts
Student contribution band : Band 1
ASCED code : 100101 - Music
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Helen Russell

Other requisites

Students will require access to e-mail and have internet access to UConnect for this course.


Critical, scholarly reflection on, and analysis of popular music are important skills for musicians. Creative artists working within the contemporary popular music industry benefit from an understanding of the historical context in which their work is situated. 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.


With a focus on key musical works and trends from throughout the twentieth century, this course will provide an overview of the musical development, principal styles, and the social and cultural contexts of contemporary Western popular music. Australian popular music will receive particular focus.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. examine the historical development of Western popular music from 1950 to the present
  2. research and critically evaluate different Western popular music styles
  3. apply analytical skills to identify and interpret musical elements of important songs and styles
  4. recognise and reflect on the social, cultural and ethical issues in popular music
  5. interpret and write about music in a way 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. The Beatles - an in depth study of a Rock band 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 12.00
12. Indigenous Contemporary music in Australia. 8.00

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 2015, What's that sound?, 4th 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 2015, Rock music styles: a history, 7th edn, McGraw-Hill, Boston.
Covach, J & Boone, G 1997, Understanding rock: essays in musical analysis, Oxford University Press, New York.
Garofolo, R 2013, Rockin' out - popular music in the U.S.A, 6th edn, Pearson/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 expectations

Activity Hours
Directed Study 26.00
Independent Study 139.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
WEBPOSTINGS & ESSAY 100 20 22 Apr 2019
ESSAY - 2000 WORDS 100 40 27 May 2019
EXAM 100 40 End S1 (see note 1)

  1. This will be a restricted exam. The total working time for the exam is 2 hours. The exam date will be available via UConnect when the official exam timetable has been released.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course where required.

    External and Online:
    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.

    It is the students’ responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and 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.

  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:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  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

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.

  2. Students are required to attend all classes and workshops.