BMALX181 – History of Popular Song

Module code
Module title
History of Popular Song
The purpose of this module provides the student with an historical overview of the contributions that songwriters have made to the development of contemporary popular song. The student will explore sources of and trends in a variety of popular genres including blues, folk, jazz, rock and other contemporary styles. This module introduces compositional techniques and examines aqppropriate tools for song analysis.
  • BM9601
NZQA Level
Level 5
NZQA Credits
Delivery method
  • Not Web enabled
Learning hours
Directed hours
Self directed hours
Total learning hours
Resources required
Learning Outcomes

2.1Understand selected discourses and practices and their relevance to music
- produce written comparisons and analyses of selected texts
- produce oral and written descriptions of self practice
- use conventional forms of writing to analyse texts
- participate in conventional presentations of outcomes
- test the use of selected methods in the production of works

2.2 Examine some of the major styles and contexts of popular songwriting
- explore song style in relation to wider musical movements
- critically analyse and discuss a variety of song styles and genres
- discuss the broader social, artistic and historical contexts in which these styles developed
- examine the implications of historical precedents on recent genres

2.3 Acquire knowledge of the development of popular song styles
- discuss the relationship between the western art song and the popular song
- understand the influence and historic development of folk music
- explore the tradition of rock music through gospel and blues

2.4 Understand the fundamentals of song analysis
- analyse and discuss standard structures and variations of form
- appreciate the essence of scale, harmony and rhythm within popular songs
- discuss the use of idiomatic instrumentation

3.1 Introduction to popular culture
- 1910 dance craze
- Concert bands
- Popular songs in WWI
- Big band jazz in the 30s
- Popular songs in WWII
- The beat generation

3.2 Introduction to the dominant popular song genres
- Opera, pleasure garden songs, folk, church music, minstrel songs
- The art song
- The influence of blues
- The emergence of rock music

3.3 Introduction to popular songs in the musical
- Tin panalley
- Broadway
- The rock musical
- The modern musical

3.4 Introduction to popular song styles in rock music
- Rhythm and blues
- The sound of New Orleans
- Rockabilly
- Rock and roll
- The British invasion
- Psychedelic rock
- Soul music
- Folk rock
- Punk
- Jazz rock
- The singer songwriter
- Funk, fusion and disco
- World music
- Hip-hop/techno

3.5 Song Form
- Elements including rhythm, melody, harmony, lyrics
Assessment Criteria
To pass this course, students must complete all assignments and accumulate an overall course mark of no less than 50.

1)Attendance requirements of the School of Media Arts must be observed.
2)If you wish to be assessed in te reo Mori, please inform staff at the beginning of the module so that processes can be put in place to manage this in a timely fashion.