Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Units: 4
Hours: 4 lecture, 1 laboratory per week (60 total per quarter)
Advisory: Not open to students with credit in MUS 64B.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Non-GE
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • A successful student will be able to identify major recordings and artists of the period.
  • A successful student will be able to describe and discuss the history of funk and jazz fusion music from the release of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew through the present.


History and analysis of funk, fusion and hip-hop styles from 1969 to the present. An introduction to the instruments, performers, composers, compositions and recordings that defined/define funk, fusion and hip-hop. Presentation of recordings, videos and print resources. Major artists include Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, James Brown, Sly Stone, Weather Report, Wayne Shorter, George Clinton and P-Funk, Jaco Pastorius, Pat Metheny, Grandmaster Flash, Africa Bambaataa, Chuck D. and Dr. Dre. Style periods include early jazz fusion, early funk, East Bay funk, groove and smooth jazz, modern fusion, early hip-hop and commercial rap.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Describe and discuss the history of funk and jazz fusion music, from the release of Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew" through the present.
C. Analyze styles of funk and fusion jazz and how they changed during the period.
D. Identify major recordings and artists of the period.
E. Compare and contrast jazz fusion as art music vs. funk as popular music, including the introduction and development of hip-hop music.
F. Write comprehensive analyses of changes in styles during the period.
G. Discuss racism in the U.S. as a catalyst for the development of funk and hip-hop as the musical expression of African American culture.
H. Discuss how the civil rights movement of the 1960s contributed to the development of funk, and its subsequent mainstreaming into popular music culture during the 1970s by artists, such as James Brown, Sly Stone and Stevie Wonder.

Course Content

A. Context
1. American culture, 1969-present
a. Media promotion of music that excluded funk and jazz fusion
b. Race as a factor for access to recordings
c. Race as a factor in the development of funk as a stand-alone musical style
2. Vocabulary of late 20th century musical styles
a. Technical characteristics (including pitch, rhythm, melody, dynamics, timbre, texture, form and harmony)
b. Changes in characteristics due to social change
B. Style
1. Rhythmic variation of funk in contrast to jazz
2. Melody as a secondary element
3. The introduction and assimilation of popular funk and rock styles into the jazz idiom and the subsequent development of funk as an identifiable idiom
C. Rhythm
1. The transition from swing to straight eighth in jazz fusion
2. Backbeat as an integral element of funk
3. Introduction of straight eighth shuffle and the development of groove and smooth jazz
4. The utilization of breakbeats as practiced by early DJs, and the development of computer generated beats
D. Melody and harmony
1. Melody as non-essential element of funk
2. Melodic/rhythmic variation and the introduction of early hip-hop jazz by Miles Davis
3. Post mediant relationship harmony and early groove jazz
4. Pop harmony and groove jazz
5. Development of strictly contrapuntal funk and hip-hop styles
E. Major innovators and performers
1. Miles Davis and early jazz fusion
2. Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter and Weather Report
3. Jaco Pastorius, Michael Brecker and the rise of the virtuoso sound innovator
4. James Brown, Sly Stone and the roots of funk
5. George Clinton and P-Funk
6. Pat Metheny and the birth of groove jazz
7. Don Grolnick and post-jazz instrumental composition
8. David Sanborn and the rise of commercial "smooth" jazz
9. Grandmaster Flash, Chuck D. and early hip-hop
10. Dr. Dre and commercial rap

Lab Content

Lab content includes directed listening from the following areas:
A. New Orleans (2nd line)
B. Early funk
1. James Brown
2. Sly Stone
C. Late funk
1. Stevie Wonder, et al.
2. Parliament/Funkadelic
D. Fusion
1. Miles Davis
2. John McGlaughlin
3. Michael Brecker
E. Hip-hop
1. Public Enemy
2. The Chronic
3. East Coast/West Coast

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

A. When taught on campus: classroom sound equipment for compact discs, audiotape and records, screen, overhead projector, slide projector, VCR and DVD.
B. When taught via Foothill Global Access: on-going access to computer with email software and capabilities; email address; JavaScript-enabled internet browsing software.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

A. Weekly worksheets and quizzes for guided reading and listening
B. Weekly quizzes that include short answer questions
C. Listening assignments via online delivery
D. Midterm and final exams

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

Lecture, discussion, laboratory.

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Orejuela, Fernando. Rap and Hip Hop Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

Gioia, Ted. The History Of Jazz. 2nd ed. New York: Audible Studios, 2016.

Other written materials provided by the instructor and delivered online.


Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Written concert/DVD reports.



Music, Commercial Music