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Level 7

7AASM033 Popular Music in context: the sounds of Brazil

Credit value: 20 credits
Module tutor: Professor David Treece
Assessment: 3,000 word essay (50%) due in November; 3,000 word essay (50%) due in January
Teaching pattern: 1 x 2hr weekly seminar

Module description

This module aims to provide an understanding of the principal artistic, socio-cultural and historical features of Brazilian popular music through the exploration of key concepts in popular music analysis.

The module works through a series of musicological Approaches — such as musical time, melody and harmony; the economies, social formations and politics of musical performance and consumption; musical identities and ideologies — which are illustrated and explored in relation to the specific Traditions and Histories of Brazilian Popular Music, such as batuque, samba, choro and bossa nova.

These Approaches, Traditions and Histories are not treated separately in consecutive sessions, but are integrated so that each musicological concept is illustrated and explored in relation to examples from Brazilian musical history. Ample use is made of sound recordings, live demonstrations and IT based materials.

Primary texts

  • Chris McGowan and Ricardo Pessanha, The Billboard Book of Brazilian Music/The Brazilian sound (Guinness)
  • Claus Schreiner, Música Brasileira: a history of the popular music and the people of Brazil (Marion Boyars)
  • John P. Murphy, Music in Brazil: experiencing music, expressing culture (with cd) (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006
  • Bryan McCann, Hello, Hello Brazil: Popular Music in the Making of Modern Brazil (Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2004)
  • Sean Stroud, The Defence of Tradition in Brazilian Popular Music: Politics, Culture and the Creation of Musica Popular Brasileira (Ashgate Publishing Group, 2008)
  • David Hesmondhalgh, Keith Negus, Popular Music Studies (2002, NetLibrary)
  • Keith Negus, Popular Music in Theory: An Introduction. (Polity Press, 1996)
  • Martin Clayton, Trevor Herbert & Richard Middleton, eds., The Cultural Study of Music: A Critical Introduction (New York: Routledge, 2003)
  • Nicholas Cook, Music: A Very Short Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000)
  • Jonathan Bellman, A Short Guide to Writing About Music, 2nd ed. (London: Longman, 2007)
  • Paul Griffiths, The Substance of Things Heard: Writings About Music (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2005)
  • Alex Ross, The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007)
  • Richard J. Wingell, Writing About Music: An Introductory Guide, 4th ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2008)
  • Philip Ball, The Music Instinct: How Music Works and Why We Can't Do Without It (Bodley Head, 2010
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