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 85B.
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

  • 70% of students will be able to correctly identify aural examples from the class modules at the final exam.
  • 70% of students will be able to correctly identify genres from the era studied at the final exam.


Introductory study of the history and development of popular music from 1964 through the present in the U.S. The class will examine the development of media delivery systems after The Beatles' first appearances on television through the growth of rock and alternative styles. Styles to be studied include punk, ska, the rebirth of country music and the rise of hip-hop culture, examining artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Frank Zappa, Prince, The Police, Chuck D. and others. The class will study the development and growth of music videos as an art form and the delivery/promotional systems developed for them, such as MTV.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Describe and discuss the history of popular music since the introduction of multitrack recording through the present.
B. Analyze new media delivery systems and how they affect musical content and aesthetics.
C. Identify popular musical styles from 1964 through the present.
D. Compare and contrast new media delivery systems, their impact on music styles and content with current delivery systems, including physical recording and storage systems (CDs and DVDs) vs. MP3s and streaming delivery.
E. Write comprehensive analyses of changes in musical styles and delivery from 1964 through the present.

Course Content

A. Context
1. Musical delivery systems since 1968
a. Contemporary performance in large commercial arenas and how it has affected the public perception of music
b. Examples of how music has changed due to the development of new media delivery mediums
2. Vocabulary of late 20th century musical styles
a. Technical characteristics (including pitch, rhythm, melody, dynamics, timbre, texture, form and harmony)
b. Changes in musical style and characteristics due to changes in delivery systems
B. System development
1. Multitrack recording and its development, 1968-the present
2. FM radio and its impact on music and distribution
3. The growth of television as a standardized musical content provider
4. The development and impact of music videos and MTV
C. Engineering and its impact on musical content
1. Digital production
2. Sampling and looping and how it is changing music
3. The rise and fall of the studio system, and the birth of home studios
4. Production as an integral part of content
D. Technical innovations and their impact
1. Larger (more than 8 track) multitrack systems
2. The introduction of compact discs
3. Introduction and impact of MPEG audio and file sharing
4. Digital recording and production systems
E. Major innovators and performers
1. Phil Spector and modern production
2. Brian Wilson and studio-based music that cannot be performed in a live setting
3. George Martin and the culmination of early multitrack techniques
4. Eddie Kramer, Alan Parsons and the revolution of Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix
5. Grandmaster Flash, Africa Bambataa and hip-hop production (sampling and looping)

Lab Content

Lab content includes directed listening and viewing from the following areas:
A. Mass media post-1960
B. Music since the expansion of the music industry in the 1960s
C. Music video pre-MTV
D. Music video post-MTV
E. Music in cinema
F. Music in television

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

A. When taught on campus: classroom sound equipment for compact discs, screen, overhead projector, 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. Written analysis of audio examples from 1970 - present.
C. Written essays on style periods and individual artists.
D. Concert reports.
E. Midterm and final exams.

Method(s) of Instruction

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

A. Lecture presentations and classroom discussion that address the influence of media on music.
B. In-class viewing of video examples that show the development of music and media since 1960.
C. Listening to audio examples from 1960-present that demonstrate the influence of mass media on style.

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Straubhaar, Joseph, Robert LaRose, and Lucinda Davenport. Media Now: Understanding Media, Culture and Technology. 10th ed. Boston: Cengage Learning, 2017.


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

A. Write a review of a concert DVD taking into consideration the era in which the event took place, and the state of media interaction at the time.

B. Read an article from a music trade magazine, and write a review of the article focusing on the media "spin" it contains.

C. Written midterm and final exams.



Commercial Music, Music