Pop music: a brief history
Time: 19:00 - 21:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: MD662
Duration: 10 sessions (over 11 weeks)
What is the course about?
We’ll examine the history of pop music via 20 key songs – two songs a week. This is a whistle stop tour so it’s not intended to be exhaustive – just fun. In each instance, I’ll be situating the relevant song in its cultural context, in the development of popular music, as well as relating it to contemporary political and social events.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
Along the way we will take in songs by Bill Haley, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, T.Rex, The Sex Pistols, The Human League, Madonna, Prince, Michael Jackson, Grandmaster Flash, Nirvana, Blur, Missy Elliott, The Strokes and Beyonce.
The criteria is both popular success and influence, so inevitably some personal favourites will not make the cut, though they may well get covered in the class.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Identify the dominant aspects of each decade in pop music from the 50s to the 10s
- Isolate several key artists as paradigmatic or influential
- understand the technical / musical elements that identifies eras as well as artists
-Understand the historical and cultural context that produced and responded to these songs and artists.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
All you need is a basic appreciation of music in general and enthusiasm for British and American pop music in particular, and an open mind! You do not need to be able to read music or understand musical terminology (though your teacher will introduce some easy musicology).
All texts – handouts, PowerPoint presentations - will be in English.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
This is an online course:
Sessions will be held via video-conference (Zoom) and comprise combinations of lecture, discussion, quizzes, guided listening, video and score study. Course materials (handouts, scores, links to online videos) will be shared via google classroom.
You will be encouraged to do extra reading outside class.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You may also wish to purchase some of the music books or recordings discussed in class, links to these materials will be available online after each session.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
To find out more about music history classes Music history courses in London and online which lists our full programme of classes ordered by term, and by day of the week. You may then click on each title to read the full course outline.
Toby Manning teaches and writes about music, literature, television and film. As a music journalist he wrote regularly for NME, Select, Q, The Word, The Big Issue, and has also contributed to The Guardian, The Independent, New Statesman, Arena, The Quietus and The Face. He is the author of the Rough Guide to Pink Floyd (2006; 2016) (link to the new version: https://www.thisdayinmusic.com/books/the-dead-straight-guide-to-pink-floyd/). He is also the author of John le Carré and the Cold War (2018). He is currently working on a book of new music writing and a book about Cold War books, film and music.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.