CCOG for MUS 207 archive revision 202101

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Effective Term:
Winter 2021 through Summer 2021

Course Number:
MUS 207
Course Title:
History of American Roots Music
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Introduces the historical development and musical characteristics of American roots music from its Anglo-Celtic, Hispanic, African, and Native American roots to the present, including country music, bluegrass, blues, border music, religious, and folk music. Discusses folk revivals and the significance of songs as social commentary and protest. Introduces techniques and terminology of musicological research. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Interpret American culture and society through American roots music.
  • Describe the richness and diversity of influences found in American roots music.
  • Identify common traits such as rhythmic devices, text, harmonic/melodic patterns, instrumentation, and performance styles found in the different genres of American roots music.
  • Identify the influence of musical elements from American roots music in the musical culture of the United States.
  • Identify the historical developments in American roots music including key artists and significant composers in order to summarize the cultural impacts of the music on modern society.

Integrative Learning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to reflect on one’s work or competencies to make connections between course content and lived experience.

General education philosophy statement

The study of music provides the opportunity to experience the art form both as listeners and as creators. It is an expression of culture developed from rich historical traditions, each with unique aesthetic and artistic values reflected through organized sound.

Musicological research projects give students the opportunity to apply theoretical aspects of musicology to research and analysis. Students will better understand, think and communicate critically the aesthetic, historical, cultural, social and contemporary aspects of the music and the peoples they are studying.

Aspirational Goals

Appreciate the musical traditions of the diverse cultures of the United States, and enjoy a life enriched by the exposure to and the understanding of personal and cultural achievements through expression.

Experience music "dynamically," that is, to appreciate simultaneously the uniqueness and value of each culture and its music through particular cultural
moments, origins, precedents and potential in relationship to and inspiration upon other music.

Appreciate the artistic, social, historical, and cultural contexts of folk music through observation and critique in order to be an informed listener.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

At the beginning of the course, the instructor will detail the methods used to evaluate student progress and the criteria for assigning a course grade. These methods may include one of more of the following tools: qualitative and/or quantitative examinations, quizzes, listening assignments, and class participation.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Definition of American Roots Music and the "folk process"
  • Music of the British Isles including Child ballads, broadsides, and sea chanties
  • Old Timey music and early recording and radio
  • The western "craze" - Hawaiian influence
  • Women in Old Timey music
  • Western Swing and Bluegrass. African-American folk roots and songsters
  • Regional country blues styles
  • Cajun and Zydeco music
  • The role of folk music in political and sociological change and the "folk revival"
  • Gospel
  • Nortena

The following skills are expected to meet the minimum requirement ("C" or "Pass") for the course:

  • Define American Roots Music and describe the "folk process."
  • Identify American Roots Music instruments from live and/or recorded examples.
  • Describe the evolution of the primary style "streams."
  • Identify musical styles from each genre covered from recorded example.
  • Describe the various folk music communities and how its music relates to each culture.