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MUSI103 Music in Popular Culture

Studies in the role and function of music in popular culture in New Zealand and the world. (No prior musical knowledge required.)

Popular music is a powerful contemporary phenomenon, but it is also part of a wider picture. Most of the songs we hear have been created within an international, globalised culture industry. They express cultural values and ideologies, and we use them as a way of finding our personal and social identity. In this paper we investigate theories of popular culture as they relate to music, analyse the many functions of popular music (including its role in film and television) and discuss the music industry. This paper includes a number of case studies through which these issues are explored.

Paper title Music in Popular Culture
Paper code MUSI103
Subject Music
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $998.10
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,885.00

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Schedule C
Arts and Music
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
MUSI 103 Course Reader
Learning Outcomes
In this paper, students will:
  • Develop an understanding and appreciation of music in popular culture
  • Gain an understanding of the relevant theories and research methods in field of popular music studies
  • Gain an understanding of multiple disciplines that inform studies of popular music
  • Develop an understanding of the historical contexts through which popular music is produced and consumed
  • Increase self-confidence in the analysis and understanding of music in popular culture
  • Develop analytical skills that can be of use in wider application and throughout their degree programme
No prior musical knowledge in music notation and theory is required.
Teaching staff
Co-ordinator: Professor Henry Johnson
Paper Structure
Please contact the Department of Music's office for copy a of the most recent paper profile.

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Weeks: 9-12,14-16,18-22 Mon : 15:00-15:50
Weeks: 9-12,14-22 Tues : 15:00-15:50


Weeks: 9-12,14-22 Wed : 11:00-11:50
or Wed : 12:00-12:50
or Thurs : 11:00-11:50