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Urban and Popular Music

Code: 100632 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2500240 Musicology OB 2 2
The proposed teaching and assessment methodology that appear in the guide may be subject to changes as a result of the restrictions to face-to-face class attendance imposed by the health authorities.


Silvia Martínez García

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
catalan (cat)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:

Other comments on languages

Classes can be taught in Spanish, at the request of the class group and after an agreed decision


None. It is recommended, but not essential, to have basic knowledge of technical musical vocabulary (harmony, analysis, music theory, etc.)

Objectives and Contextualisation

- Identify the main processes that make up the dynamics of popular and urban music
- Obtain a critical overview of the history and historiography of popular music
- Relate urban popular music with its social, historical and cultural contexts
- Apply to research the main theoretical and analytical tools developed recently in the interdisciplinary field of Popular Music Studies (Popular Music Studies)
- Prepare small critical research on genres, groups, performers, composers and / or practices of urban popular music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries
- Develop critical thinking about Musicology and Popular Music Studies that contribute, in the long term, to improving the field of studies


  • Identify and compare the different channels of reception and consumption of music in society and in culture in each period.
  • Recognise and appreciate musical manifestations in non-western, traditional, popular and urban cultures.
  • Relate musical creations with their different contexts, differentiating between the social functions of music, its roles and that of the musician in society and in relation to other artistic manifestations.
  • Respecting the diversity and plurality of ideas, people and situations.
  • Students must be capable of applying their knowledge to their work or vocation in a professional way and they should have building arguments and problem resolution skills within their area of study.
  • Students must be capable of communicating information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialised and non-specialised audiences.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply and transmit knowledge acquired to social demands related to popular music.
  2. Carrying out oral presentations using an appropriate academic vocabulary and style.
  3. Determine the main technical and historical concepts related to popular and urban music.
  4. Develop arguments and attitudinal strategies to promote respect among different sociocultural proposals.
  5. Distinguish between the main styles and basic techniques of popular and urban music and be able to relate them to musical praxis.
  6. Engaging in debates about historical facts respecting the other participants' opinions.
  7. Evaluate the consumption of music in contemporary society.
  8. Identify the connections between current musical creation and the sociopolitical and cultural circumstancesticas in which it takes place.
  9. Identifying the transcultural variability of economic, kinship, political, symbolic and cognitive, educational and gender systems as well as their corresponding anthropological theory.
  10. Mantain respect for a diversity of ideas, peoplem situations and cultures in carrying out musicological work.


Studies of popular music are a relatively new field in the field of Musicology and in the Social sciences. Researching into popular music started at the end of the sixties in the UK and USA academic spaces and have lead in the last decades to a multiplicity of enriching theoretical approaches.

This course starts from an interdisciplinary perspective that is not limited to the chronological observation of the great "milestones" of the history of music. The study of popular music cover analysis of sound structures, aesthetics, and its study as a fundamental part of the social and cultural world in which we live.

In this course, we open our ears and move between various genres and musical situations to explore their (and our) relationship with cultural industries, media, and social practices.

T.1.- Key concepts for the study of popular music
Readings, Materials, and Resources T.1:
Horner,B. i Swiss,T.1999. Key Terms in Popular Music and Culture. Oxford: Blackwell
Mendívil, Julio. 2016. En contra de la música. Herramientas para pensar, comprender y vivir las músicas. Buenos Aires: Gourmet

T.2.- The canon in popular music. Historiography of popular music
Readings, Materials, and Resources T.2:
Keightley, Keir. 2006 [2001]. "Reconsiderar el rock". A: S.Frih, W.Straw, J.Street. La otra historia del rock. Barcelona: MNT
Coen, Ethan i Joel Coen(directors). Oh Brother! (pel·lícula llargmetratge)
Wood, Sam (director). A Day at the Races (pel·lícula llargmetratge)
Tirro, Frank. 2001 [1993]. Historia del jazz clásico. Barcelona: MNT. Capítols: "El ragtime" (cap. 2) i "El blues" (cap. 3)

T.3.- Music and image: from the video clip to the memes
Readings, Materials, and Resources T.3:
Frith, Simon; A.Goodwin, L.Grossberg (eds). 1993. Sound and Vision. The MusicVideo Reader. New York: Routledge
Guillot, Eduardo. 1999. Rock en el cine. Valencia: La Máscara
López Cano, Rubén (2010) "La vida en copias. Breves cartografía del reciclaje musical digital". Letras. Imagen. Sonido. Ciudad mediatizada. n.5: 171-185
Viñuela, Eduardo. 2010. El videoclip en España (1980-1995). Gesto audiovisual. Madrid: ICCMU (Cap.1 "(In)Definición y singularidad del género" pp: 15-32)

T.4.- Music and technology
Readings, Materials, and Resources T.4:
Toop, David. "Océano de sonido". A: Luis Puig y Jenaro Talen (eds.). 1999. Las culturas del rock . Valencia: Fundación Bancaixa
Théberge, Paul. "Conectados: la tecnología y la música popular". A: S.Frith, W.Straw y J.Street (eds). 2006 [2001]. La otra historia del rock. Barcelona: Ma Non Troppo

T.5.- Songs, coplas and crooners
Readings, Materials, and Resources T.5:
Vázquez Montalbán, Manuel. 2013 [1974]. Cien años de canción y music-hall. Barcelona: Nortesur
Peñasco, Rosa. 2000. La copla sabe de leyes. Madrid: Alianza
Turtós, Jordi y Magda Bonet. 1998. Cantautores en España. Madrid: Celeste
Garza, María Luisa de la. 2008. Ni aquí ni allá. El emigrante en los corridos y en otras canciones populares. México, D.F.: Laberinto

T.6.- Popular music and gender
Readings, Materials, and Resources T.6:
Whiteley, Sheila. 2000. Women and Popular Music: Sexuality, Identity and Subjectivity. New York: Routledge
Viñuela, Laura. 2003. La perspectiva de género y la música popular: dos nuevos retos para la musicología. Oviedo: KRK
Jarman-Ivens, Freya. 2007. Oh boy!: masculinities and popular music. New York: Routledge
Whiteley, Sheila; Jennifer Rycenga (eds). 2006. Queering the Popular Pitch. New York: Taylor & Francis

T.7.- Music, Industry and Mass Media
Readings, Materials,and Resources T.7:
Negus, Keith. 2005 [1999]. Los géneros musicales y la cultura de las multinacionales. Barcelona: Paidós
Fouce, Héctor. 2010. "De la crisis del mercado discográfico a las nuevas prácticas de escucha". Comunicar. Revista Científica de Educomunicación, 34, v. XVII, pág. 65-72. (Accessible on-line a:http://www.revistacomunicar.com/index.php?contenido=detalles&numero=34&articulo=34-2010-08)
Fundación Alternativas. 2006. Plan Integral de Apoyo a la música. Estudio sobre la industria musical y sus problemática actual (Document accessible on-line: http://especiales.ideal.es/pdf/estudio-pirateria.pdf)

T.8.- Oveview 2.O.
Readings, Materials, and Resources T.8:
Sinnreich, Aram (2010) Mashed Up: Music, Technology, and the Rise of Configurable Culture. University of Massachusetts.
Lessig, Lawrence (2008) Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. Penguin Press


Reading seminar

This seminar involves an active student participation. The contents of the course will be acquired mainly by reading and discussing the selected texts, as well as analyzing and discussing the proposed audiovisual materials. The active follow-up of the contents implies a personal commitment to prepare the readings and actively participate in their debate in the classroom, and in the online classrooms and forums.

As a complement to the texts, we will also work from concrete and practical case studies, from which the theoretical aspects and the key concepts of the syllabus will be derived.

Persona/Group research 

The first three weeks of class, the students agree with the teacher a topic of work related to the contents of the course, on which they will have to deepen in an autonomous research. The research work is carried out in small groups (from 2 to 4 students) to facilitate the debate, the exchange of opinions and work strategies among the students.

Once the research is completed and with a previously agreed calendar, it will be presented to the class group (online or offline) presenting the main results. The teacher will supervise the research and presentation in class and help moderate the debate.


Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Practical sessions 41 1.64 1, 7, 4, 3, 5, 9, 8, 10, 6
Type: Supervised      
Activities 0 0 1, 4, 3, 2, 8, 10
Group presentation 5 0.2 4, 2, 9, 8, 10, 6
Tutorials 5 0.2 1, 4, 8, 10
Type: Autonomous      
Study and reading 72 2.88 7, 4, 3, 2, 8, 10


The assistance in class is recommended for a correct monitoring of the contents and reflections raised in the subject, although it is not mandatory. Non-attendance will not penalize the evaluation. Yes, a continuous and active assistance to the class sessions will be taken into account favorably.

The evaluation of the subject is designed continuously, taking into account the performance of the student throughout the semester, therefore re-evaluation is considered an exceptional measure and must be agreed with the teacher previously. To be able to take the re-evaluation test, you must have passed at least one of the partial tests written with a grade of 5.5.

Individual written tests (or online equivalent activities) will be conducted one half of the semester and questionaries all along it. 

To consider the qualification "not evaluable" (previous "not to present"), the student will have to have left the follow-up of the subject without having realized any test of written evaluation or only the first partial.

The review of the final grades will be done on dates announced in advance and always within a maximum of two weeks, from the delivery of the grades to the students.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Group tasks in class 10% 8 0.32 1, 4, 3, 2, 8, 10
Individual questionaries (mandatory readings) 30% 2 0.08 4, 3, 5, 9, 8
Individual test 30% 2 0.08 1, 7, 4, 3, 5, 9, 8, 10
Preparation and oral presentation (collective task) 15% 10 0.4 4, 2, 9, 8, 10, 6
Written / audiovisual work (materials that summarize the oral presentation) 15% 5 0.2 1, 3, 9, 8, 6


  • Garcia Peinazo, Diego. 2017. Rock andaluz: significación musical, identidades e ideología en la España del tardofranquismo y la transición. Madrid: SEDEM
  • Gillet, Charlie. 2008. Historia del rock and roll: El sonido de la ciudad (2 vol.). Barcelona: Ma Non Troppo
  • Iglesias, Iván. 2017. La modernidad elusiva: jazz, baile y política en la Guerra Civil española y el franquismo (1936-1968). Madrid: CSIC
  • Longhurst, Brian. 1996. Popular Music and Society. Cambridge: Polity Press
  • Martínez, Sílvia and Fouce, Hector. 2013. Made in Spain. Studies in Popular Music. New York: Routledge
  • Middleton, Richard. 1990. Studying Popular Music. Buckingham: Open University Press
  • Mora, Kiko y Viñuela, Eduardo. 2013. Rock around Spain. Historia, industria, escenas y medios de comunicación. Lleida: Universitat de Lleida
  • Shuker, Roy. 2005. Diccionario del rock y la música popular. Barcelona: Ma Non Troppo [trad. de Understanding Popular Music, 1994]
  • Southern, Eileen. 2001. Historia de la música negra norteamericana. Madrid: Akal
  • Tirro, Frank. 2001 [1993]. Historia del Jazz clásico / Historia del jazz moderno. Barcelona: Ma NonTroppo


  • Friedgen, Bud (director). 2004. Historia del rock and roll: El sonido de la ciudad (5 DVD). Warner Bros. Entertainment
  • Burns, Ken (director). 2000. Jazz: A Film (10 DVD). PBS Home Video. [Versió en castellà: Jazz. La Historia. Divisa Home Video, 2004]. Fragments on line a: http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/jazz/home/


No specific software used