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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Visual Arts and Music
Course Prefix and Number: MUSI 323
Course Title: Music of the United States
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description: Overview of the various types of music that have evolved through folk, popular, and classical traditions in America from the Pilgrims to the present.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered odd Spring.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Any text appropriate for courses in American Music.

America’s Musical Landscape
By Ferris, Jean (McGraw-Hill)
American Music: A Panorama
By Kingman, Daniel (Schirmer)
An Introduction to America’s Music
By Crawford, Richard (Norton)
To Stretch Our Ears: A Documentary History of America’s Music
By Alexander, J. Heywood, ed (Norton)
Course Objectives
  • To relate American music to its foreign roots where appropriate.
  • To understand the interaction of “content” (musical structure, procedure, aesthetics versus agendas, biographies, and writing) and “context” (times-places-peoples) from which musical idioms and cultural phenomena originate.
  • To develop familiarity with a range of social, cultural, historical, economic, and biographical factors which have shaped American music since the first European colonization.
    Measurable Learning
  • Summarize the major traditions and schools of American music distinguishing them from other music.
  • Identify composers, compositions, and other significant names and terms as they relate to the music studied.
  • Identify the studied compositions by sight or ear.
  • Discriminate among the various styles of music studied.
  • Summarize the careers of major American composers and musical figures.
  • Display general knowledge of major events and trends in American music and describe how American solutions to various issues reflect American cultural and musical contexts.
  • Synopsize and critique writings by composers about music.
  • Encounter new American music and categorize it into the general context of the history of American music.
    Topical Outline:
  • Elements of musical sound
    - Music in early North America
    - North American Indian music
    - Folk music
    - The Colonial, Revolutionary, and Federal periods
  • The Nineteenth Century
    - Populist music of the Nineteenth Century
    - Early concert music
    - American concert music comes of age
  • The growth of vernacular traditions
    - The rise of popular culture
    - Country-western and urban folk music
    - Video: That Rhythm, Those Blues
    - The Jazz Age
    - Jazz 1930-1960
    - Jazz since 1960
    - Latin popular music
    - Rock and roll
    - Popular music since 1970
  • Music for theater and film
    - Musical theater
    - Music for films


    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 25

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at the Columbia College Stafford Library.  You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: Nollie Moore Date: March 20, 2006
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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