Module Overview

Cultural Perspectives

A cultural history of popular music from throughout the twentieth century, this module examines the social and political conditions that influenced the development of genres in popular music by evaluating key releases from influential artists.

Most professional musicians have an in-depth understanding of the development of contemporary music and draw upon this knowledge in their own work. Any artist hoping to produce work of substance must demonstrate a keen awareness and a deep appreciation of the historical and social significance of past material.

Students will analyse the growth of popular music from the turn of the twentieth century. They will study the development of successive genres from classical, church, delta blues, early jazz and electronic onwards, exploring the dynamic relationship between popular music, popular culture, and social change. The module also provides an introduction to critical approaches to culture and popular music such as postmodernism, postcolonialism, feminism, and Marxian analysis.

Module Code

MUSG 3001

ECTS Credits


*Curricular information is subject to change

Students will examine the development of popular music genres through the practice of key artists in the context of relevant economic, social, and cultural developments


Popular music and race, including the influence of African American music on mainstream popular music


Technological change

How did the development of new technologies shape emerging genres in popular music?

Popular music and gender, including the impact of key writers and performers


Popular music and people’s beliefs

How have genres in music been influenced by prevailing religious practices?

The influence of early music (folk, classical, church) on popular music


Popular music and historical events, including the impact of war and economic depression in twentieth century popular music


The 1960s cultural and social revolution


Various philosophical approaches to interpreting, critiquing, and analysing the evolution of popular music through the early-mid twentieth century


Teaching and learning is delivered via lectures, Q&A, audio and video material, internet resources, discussions and debates, in class presentations, small group discussions, coursework, in class exercises, e-learning facilitated by the BIMM VLE and independent study and research.

Module Content & Assessment
Assessment Breakdown %
Other Assessment(s)100