Popular Musics

Discipline: Music
Instructor: Merrill
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 0800
End: 0915
Field Work: Day 4 - Sunday, 18 October | Spain Download Syllabus

Popular music is the product of an industry that generates cultural artefacts in the pursuit of profit. This industry has been dominated by predominantly western companies since its inception, shaped by the markets it serves. These forces have had significant affect on the way in which the music industry interacts with and in cultures from around the world. However, the proliferation of the internet, and increased global migration at the start of the 21st century has began to undermine the dominance of this industry. Now with the means of communicating music to mass audiences without the need for the intermediaries, audiences are able to access music and cultural practices from around the world, whilst the creators of music have the potential of entering a global stage. This increase in broadcasters has lead to questioning of authenticity and to the hybridisation of musical forms.

This unit will explore the impact of these changing dynamics through exploring the phenomenon of “world music” as well as popular musics of some of the countries visited to during the voyage. In doing so different cultural attitudes towards music will be explored, including purpose, creation, ownership and usage.

Field Work

Country: Spain
Day: 4 - Sunday, 18 October

Spain has many different traditional forms of music, many of which still influence today's music, from the mainstream to the avant grade and outsider music. This field lab is an opportunity to meet three musicians whose work plays with ideas of identity and tradition and whose work is part of Spain’s thriving independent music scene. It creates an opportunity to encounter their music, and discuss how the traditions and ideas which they draw upon influence them. After a morning of performances and discussions the musicians will lead a sound walk of the city, exploring the contemporary sounds of modern Spain and how these influence their own work. This will lead to one of Barcelona’s independent record stores, where discussions and presentations by the owner will present considerations in the commodification and marketisation of cultural artefacts, and showing the different perspectives from both artists and business persons.   Academic objectives: 1. To explore ideas of tradition, practice and industry with professional musicians. 2. To examine music from an industry perspective in relation to independent markets and retailers. 3. To reflect on musical practice within a broader locational context