BLHS-400 Country Music USA
Offered academic year 2012-2013
While country music is both loved and hated, it is arguably the most popular music in the United States. It is ubiquitous on the radio, yet considered uninspired, formulaic, and distasteful to many. From Taylor Swift to Mother Maybelle, from Jimmy Rodgers to Toby Keith, this music resonates across the country and champions a particular American image. Why do people have such strong feelings about it? Is “country music” a “class thing” bound to politics, region, identity, and values? Or is it really defined by musical style, lyrics, and instruments? Or maybe it’s just Big Business with a lot of hype. This class will address these questions. Students will learn about the musical breadth, historical roots, and narrative themes of country music, but just as importantly, the class will consider together the social, cultural, and political meanings that can be ascribed to country music in specific contexts. Students will attune and attend to a wide variety of “country musics” in class, listen and read carefully outside of class, and synthesize and analyze their informed opinions through discussion, writing, and multi-media projects. The primary outcome will be a deeper, more reflective, and more nuanced understanding of this iconic American music.
Credit is not granted for both this class and MUSC 336.
Other academic years
There is information about this course number in other academic years: