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History of British Popular Music in the 20th Century - MUS00130C

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  • Department: Music
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Shara Rambarran
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2018-19

Module summary

This module will explore the historical and socio-cultural developments of popular music in 20th-century Britain.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2018-19

Module aims

The module will explore a variety of genres and styles that has shaped popular music in 20th-century Britain. It will also examine creativity (e.g. production techniques), subcultural movements, popular culture, gender/sexuality, politics, and music industry practices as these areas have contributed to the developments of British popular music. To support learning, the module will draw on theories based on musicology and cultural studies. This will encourage the students to:

  • appreciate and critique the socio-cultural contexts of British popular music;
  • understand the music’s impact on the musician, listener, music industry, society and culture.

Module learning outcomes

On completion of the module, all students should

  • be familiar with key genres and musical styles in British popular music;
  • have developed an understanding of how popular music shapes culture and society through creativity, history and politics;
  • use academic texts and relevant sources to explain trends in popular music, applying appropriate terminology.

In their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes A1-6.


Task Length % of module mark
4000 word essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Summative assessment is through an essay (approx. 4000 words; 100% of the module marks) on a topic agreed in tutorial.


Task Length % of module mark
4000 word essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Written feedback with mark no later than 4 weeks after submission.

Indicative reading

Biddle, Ian and Vanessa Knights. Music, National Identity and the Politics of Location: Between the Global and the Local. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007.

Borthwick, S. and Moy, R. Popular Music Genres: An Introduction: Historical Roots and Antecedents. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004.

Scott, D. B., ed. Music, Culture, and Society. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000.

Shuker, R. Popular Music: The Key Concepts. Routledge: London, 2002.

Storey, J. Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction. London: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006.

Whiteley, S., Andy Bennett and Stan Hawkins. Music, Space and Place: Popular Music and Cultural Identity. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.