Music (MUSI) 423

Advanced Studies in Popular Music (Revision 1)

MUSI 423 course cover

Delivery Mode: Individualized study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Reading course - Humanities

Prerequisite: At least one of the following: HUMN 285 or MUSI 285; HUMN 286 or MUSI 286; HUMN 420 or MUSI 420; HUMN 421 or MUSI 421. Students who have not completed any of these courses but who have studied the history of popular music at another university or college, should contact the course professor to obtain permission to take the course.

Precluded Course: MUSI 423 is a cross-listed course—a course listed under 2 different disciplines—with HUMN 423. MUSI 423 may not be taken for credit by students who have obtained credit for HUMN 423 and HUMN 422.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Music Studies home page

MUSI 423 is not available for Challenge.

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This course is intended to allow students who have completed MUSI 285, MUSI 286, and MUSI 421 to consolidate, expand, and deepen their knowledge of the history of Anglo-American popular music, and to examine some of the theoretical and pedagogical issues that arise in the academic study of popular music. It is also intended to be a resource guide for educators who plan to use recorded popular music as part of a classroom teaching strategy.

MUSI 423 is designed as a guided independent study course, allowing students to choose topics within the various genres of popular music that they wish to explore in depth. Students are expected to make extensive use of library materials for both reading and written assignments.


Music 423: Studies in Popular Music is divided into four units:

  • Unit 1: Towards a Historical Framework
  • Unit 2: Towards an Analytic Framework
  • Unit 3: Independent Study Project
  • Unit 4: Research Essay

The first half of the course (Units 1 and 2) is based upon Richard Middleton's book, Studying Popular Music. The second half of the course consists of an independent study project culminating in a research essay.


There are two components to the evaluation of students for credit in MUSI 423. They are the research essay and a final examination. Each is worth 50 percent of the final grade. To receive credit for MUSI 423, you must obtain a passing grade of 50 percent on the final examination and “D” (50 percent) or better as a course composite (final) grade.

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators that can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Middleton, Richard. 1990. Studying Popular Music. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Other Materials

The course materials include a student manual.

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 Student & Academic Services