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    An overview of popular music with studies in the role and function of music in popular culture in global context. (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 these as a way of (re)constructing our own - and others' - identities. 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, television and gaming) and discuss the music industry. This paper explores these topics using a case-study approach.

    About this paper

    Paper title Popular Music
    Subject Music
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,173.30
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music
    No prior musical knowledge in music notation and theory is required.

    Teaching staff

    Paper Coordinator: Professor Henry Johnson
    Teaching Staff: Professor Henry Johnson
    Dr Ian Chapman
    Dr Michael Holland

    Paper Structure

    This paper covers popular music in a global cultural context.

    Teaching Arrangements
    Two one-hour lectures and one 50-minute tutorial per week.
    Textbooks are not required for this paper.
    Course outline

    Please contact the School of Performing Arts ( for a copy of the most recent paper profile.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Research.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete the paper will:

    1. Develop an understanding and appreciation of music in popular culture.
    2. Gain an understanding of the relevant theories and research methods in field of popular music studies.
    3. Gain an understanding of multiple disciplines that inform studies of popular music.
    4. Develop an understanding of the historical contexts through which popular music is produced and consumed.
    5. Increase self-confidence in the analysis and understanding of music in popular culture.
    6. Develop analytical skills that can be more widely applied throughout their degree programme.


    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Monday 11:00-11:50 9-13, 15-22
    Tuesday 11:00-11:50 9-13, 15-22


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    Attend one stream from
    A2 Wednesday 11:00-11:50 10-13, 15-22
    A3 Wednesday 12:00-12:50 10-13, 15-22
    A4 Wednesday 15:00-15:50 10-13, 15-22
    A5 Wednesday 14:00-14:50 10-13, 15-22
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