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Unit 30 Music in Context

Learning Outcome 1: Understand the key developments in different genres of music:


1.1 examine extracts from selected works from a contextual perspective:
Give some examples of the key periods and artistic movements in the history of music (with
reference to artists, songs and the era in which they happened).
These could include: the development of blues, the crooner era of the late 50s, early rock n
roll, The Beatles and the British invasion, Californian surf music, psychedelia and
underground music of the late 1960s, Jamaican reggae of the 1970s, early electronic music of
1970s, 1970s Disco, punk, new wave, indie, hair metal, early hip hop 70s/80s, commercial
pop of the 80s/90s/00s, modern r&b, grime, dubstep etc

1.2 explain the influences that have been brought to bear on the selected works:
What factors could explain the sudden surge or popularity of certain musical styles at
certain times?
These could include:
Cultural and social: 70s nightclubs on Disco; Rave culture on late 80s dance music; artschool influence on 60s pscychedelia; racism/segregation on multiple musical genres; TV and
talent shows (X-Factor) on modern pop music
Political and Historical: anti-government or protest movements on folk, Hip Hop, punk. Anti
Vietnam on US psychedelia;
Spiritual: Church and Christianity on Soul Music; Rastafarianism on reggae
Geographical: west coast of USA on Surf Music; industrial German on techno (Kraftwerk).
Technological: electric guitar on rock and roll; sampler on hip hop; synthesizer on Prog and
early electronic; advancements in recording studios and techniques on Phil Spector, the
Beatles, electronic music and current pop trends

1.3 compare a range of practitioners


Who were the most influential artists and how did they help shape the direction of
music? Below are examples from a range of genres:
Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Schoenberg, Boulez, Caruso, Berlin, Gershwin,
Sinatra, Presley, Beatles, Spector, Kraftwerk, NWA,

Learning Outcome 2: Understand a variety of musical genres:


2.1 analyse the characteristics of different musical genres:
What are the styles of performance of different genres? I.e. name a few different
musical genres and of each consider the following:
What is the instrumentation used? What is the tempo and rhythm associated with this music?
How do the artists in this genre perform (high energy, laid back, shouty etc)? What words
might describe each genre in terms of feel, movement, pace and tone?
2.2 assess the effect location has on the production and reception of a piece of work:
Of each of the above genres what different approaches would the practitioners take in a
variety of locations?
For example:
Will line-up/ instrumentation change going from a studio to a live concert?
Which artists might like to perform at certain venues (classical at Albert Hall; rock bands at
stadiums; punk bands in small venues; folk bands at festivals; trad jazz bands at carnivals
etc)
Where do audiences prefer to see certain performers? (Jazz caf; festivals; nightclubs etc)

2.3 analyse the relationship between the audience and the music:
Have certain genres or musical styles produced a special kind of following?
What are the demographics of radio audiences? Which age/section of society listens to which
stations?
What were the rivalries between Mods and Rockers?
How did Punk influence its fans?
What effect does Hip Hop have with its followers?
Will you change appearance, philosophy or attitude from following a certain musical genre?
(Rastafarianism, the Smiths fans turning vegetarian, hippy culture Beatles peace and love)
Inclination to take drugs from influence?
Fanatics/obsession

Learning Outcome 3: Understand the cultural contexts that musicians work within:
3.1 explain the cultural demands placed on musicians:
Consider the conditions under which musicians work and explain how this has
affected the end result.
For example:
Audience resistance to new ideas (Rite of Spring, Pet Sounds, Punk on older audiences, Hip
Hop on middle America etc)
3.2 analyse how the social environment can influence the production of music:
Environmental issues of artists (Sting)
Struggling artist with no money versus artist with unlimited studio time.
Modern bedroom studio producer versus traditional composer.

3.3 review how political legislation can influence the production of music:
Dance music culture and the banning of rave events,
How has censorship affected music? (Lyrics, sample copyright, political intervention)
Paul Simon and the recording of his Graceland album.

Learning Outcome 4: Understand the effects of globalisation on music within a wider crosscultural context:
4.1 evaluate the use and development of technology:
What have been the most important technological advancements to have happened to
music and what has been the result of this?
For example:
Recording: from wax cylinders to the modern bedroom producer.
Playback: from phonographs to vinyl to cassette to CD to MP3s.
Electrical instruments (guitars, amps, guitar pedals etc) and computer music.
Synthesizers and electronic instruments (theremin, moog etc)
4.2 apply appropriate arguments to current business directions:
How is the music industry performing now? How has it coped with the digital revolution?
Why has vinyl had a resurge of popularity? Why do artists tour more than they used to?
4.3 examine the opportunities offered in a global market looking at both advantages and
disadvantages: