Music (MUSI) 421

The Folk Music Revival I: Before 1945 (Revision 1)


Temporarily closed, effective March 2, 2016.

Delivery Mode: Individualized study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Reading course - Humanities

Prerequisite: None. Students are strongly advised to take an introductory course in popular music before registering in this course.

Precluded Course: MUSI 421 is a cross-listed course—a course listed under 2 different disciplines—with HUMN 421. MUSI 421 may not be taken for credit by students who have obtained credit for HUMN 421 or HUMN 422.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Music Studies home page

MUSI 421 has a Challenge for Credit option.


MUSI 421 is a three-credit, senior-level reading course designed for students who intend to complete a BA concentration in Humanities or a BA major in History. The course examines the history of folksong collecting in Britain and the United States from 1650 to 1945, and analyses the Folk Music Revival from the 1880s to World War II. Questions and issues explored in this course include:

  • the pioneer song collectors from D'Urfey to Chappell
  • the renewed interest in folk ballads, and the work of Francis Child
  • the birth of the Folk Song Society, and the beginnings of the Folk Song Revival
  • the views and achievements of Cecil Sharp
  • the development of the English Folk Song Revival in the decade before the First World War
  • the development of folk music in Britain and America between the wars
  • the role of nationalist and anti-modernist ideology in the Revival
  • the problems of authenticity and class bias in the work of the major collectors.

Students are given the opportunity to explore the careers and contributions of such leading figures as Francis Child, Lucy Broadwood, Cecil Sharp, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Percy Grainger, and Alfred Williams.


MUSI 421 is divided into six units:

  • Unit 1: The Pioneer Collectors
  • Unit 2: The Ballad Revival
  • Unit 3: Cecil Sharp
  • Unit 4: Collectors, Composers, and Phonographs
  • Unit 5: Between the Wars: the British Isles
  • Unit 6: Between the Wars: the United States.


The final grade in MUSI 421 is based on the marks you achieve on two essay assignments and on the final examination. The final examination is closed book and invigilated. You must achieve a minimum grade of 50 percent on this examination and a composite course grade of at least “D” 50 percent) in order to pass the course. Students who do not achieve a minimum passing grade of 50 percent on the final examination will be allowed to write a supplemental final examination.

Essay 1 Essay 2 Final Exam Total
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To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Boyes, Georgina. 1993. The Imagined Village: Culture, Ideology, and the English Folk Revival. Manchester: Manchester U.P.

Harker, Dave. 1985. Fakesong: The Manufacture of British 'Folksong,' 1700 to the Present Day. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Karpeles, Maud. 1967. Cecil Sharp: His Life and Work. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Other Materials

The course materials include a student manual, study guide, and a reader.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the MUSI 421 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least “D” (50 percent) on the entire challenge examination.

Part I: Exam Part II: Exam Total
50% 50% 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, July 2, 2004.

Updated May 26 2016 by SAS