Course Overview Materials Discussion Requirement Quizzes and Final Exam Concert Review Research Paper Grading Academic Policies Lessons

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1 MUSC 144: Country Music Course Overview Materials Discussion Requirement Quizzes and Final Exam Concert Review Research Paper Grading Academic Policies Lessons COURSE OVERVIEW This course explores the history of the country music genre, its significant performers, songwriters, songs, and cultural identity from 1922 to the present. Following a loose chronology, we will trace the evolution of specific musical styles and investigate issues related to culture, performance practice, transmission, and reception. Extensive listening assignments will introduce the distinct musical styles, songwriters, voices, and performers that comprise the genre. Reading assignments cover the relationship of country music to American popular culture, social history, and notions of authenticity. This course will critically evaluate country s musical content and cultural role; the primary texts for our investigation are the songs themselves. This course adopts a broad and inclusive understanding of the term country. We will explore musical styles that are related to the central tradition of commercial country and connect to its fan base, even when those styles may not be considered country by casual fans. At the end of our studies together, you will be able to

2 listen to any song within the country genre and have some understanding of when it was recorded, in which musical style or scene it fits, and how it relates to the culture from which it emerged explain the tensions within country music that make it a distinct genre, tie it to tradition, and foster new and innovative developments describe specific musical elements of the genre understand how the genre contributes to the broader fabric of American popular culture. MATERIALS See the course description for the most up to date list of materials. DISCUSSION REQUIREMENT The materials and ideas we will be exploring require active investment on the part of all students in the course. To facilitate our studies, there will be a discussion forum assignment for each lesson. All students should post a minimum of one extensive contribution each lesson plus two additional exchanges unless otherwise specified in that assignment. An extensive contribution is, at minimum, one or two paragraphs, approximately words, or as specified for a particular assignment's prompt. Additional exchanges, generally called follow up posts, may be shorter and address more focused ideas. For most lessons, you will get a specific prompt, question, or task for your initial post; you may also post other ideas or contributions based on listening and reading. Deadlines: The deadlines vary for each lesson so carefully review the course schedule. Each post, however, is due by 11:59 pm Eastern time on the assigned date (see Schedule). Most of your learning will take place as you put your thoughts and ideas into words and discuss this music with classmates. You should view the discussion forum as a central component of the course. Your discussion assignments will be graded on the quality of the response to the specific prompt or assigned task for that post, the breadth and depth of your contributions, the cohesion of your ideas, the supporting evidence you offer for your ideas, the demonstration of comprehension for major ideas in the course, and your engagement with fellow classmates ideas. Additional thoughtful posts will improve your grade. Please think of these assignments as short papers. You should not merely post summaries of the weekly lectures or readings. Reflect on the topic and prompt; listen to the relevant recordings again, and then do a little extra exploring to see if there are other references, ideas, recordings, or pieces of evidence you want to draw on in your posts. Postings may adopt a first person tone. Please demonstrate respect for your classmates and the course s subject matter at all times and in all discussion forums. Differences of opinion and opposing viewpoints are welcome as long as they are expressed with professional courtesy and remain focused on the ideas at hand. Remember that in all our communications, we must properly cite sources that we re using. In your written work, including the discussion board posts, make sure that give proper credit to ideas, quotations, and any other sources on which you draw. It is never appropriate to post words someone else wrote without both a proper citation and your own words explaining the context and interpretation of the quotation. It is never appropriate to summarize or paraphrase someone else s words without proper citation and context. The quality of your writing will affect your grades in this course. Full command of standard written and spoken

3 English is a requirement for the course. The effectiveness of your writing matters, not just the underlying ideas you are attempting to express. Please consider the discussion forum a chance to interact with the music, the readings, and your classmates. Your ideas and contributions form a significant part of the course. Posts made after the due date are not accepted. QUIZZES AND FINAL EXAM This course requires four quizzes and a final exam. A major portion of each quiz and the final exam will involve listening to recordings and answering questions about them. To prepare for these, it is essential that you study the assigned recordings very carefully. Many students find that making flash cards for the songs is an essential part of preparing for the exams. For the quizzes (45 minutes each), you may not use any external resources no textbooks, no websites, no reference materials, no notes, and no other materials or sources. Each quiz consists of three sections: I. Identification of recordings, based on the listening assignments. You will hear short excerpts (approximately forty five seconds) of these recordings and be asked basic questions about the song title, artist, approximate year of the recording, key stylistic features (which will be a major focus of our studies), and historical relevance. II. Responses to recordings that were not covered on the listening assignments but that are drawn from the styles covered in the lessons. You will hear moderate length excerpts (approximately one minute) of songs and be asked basic questions about the style, probable position in the history of country music, interpretation of the songs meaning, and relationships to the major themes in the course. III. Concepts and basic facts: You will be asked brief questions about the key issues, ideas, people, places, styles, events, and concepts that we will be emphasizing in our studies. For the final exam (two hours), you may not use any external resources no textbooks, no websites, no reference materials, no notes, and no other materials or sources. The final consists of four sections: I. Identification of recordings, based on the listening assignments from each week since the last quiz. The final exam s listening questions are not cumulative from the earlier parts of the semester. You will hear short excerpts (approximately forty five seconds) of these recordings and be asked brief questions about the song s style, recording date, artist, impact, and role in country music s history. II. Responses to recordings that were not covered on the listening assignments but that are drawn from the styles covered in the lessons since the last quiz. You will hear moderate length excerpts (approximately one minute) of songs and be asked basic questions about the style, probable position in the history of country music, interpretation of the songs meaning, and relationships to the major themes in the course. III. Concepts and basic facts: You will be asked brief questions about the key issues, ideas, people, places, styles, events, and concepts that we will emphasize in our studies. IV. Essay questions: you will be asked to write two moderate length essays on questions that address major themes, ideas, topics, and issues from the course. Quiz and exam dates and times are listed in the Schedule. CONCERT REVIEW

4 For one of your course assignments, you will attend a live country music performance. Based on that performance, you will write a concert review that addresses specific aspects of the concert and its relationship to the ideas and topics we will be studying. Read the assignment details in the Assignments section (navigation bar at left). Follow the assignment instructions carefully. Note the deadlines, including the last possible day to submit a Concert Review. The concert must take place on or after the first day of class. You must get my approval for the event in advance. At least five days prior to the concert, send me an listing the artist, venue, date/time, and any other available concert details. I will respond with approval or suggestions for selecting an alternative. The review is due no more than ten days after the concert. See the Schedule for the last possible date to turn in a concert review. Venues in Central North Carolina The assignment page for the concert review (see Assignments section of Sakai site) lists a few of the venues in the Triangle region that often host country concerts. Always double check with the venue to confirm performers, times, ticket prices, cover charges, 21+ restrictions, and so on. RESEARCH PAPER There is one research paper for the course, addressing song analysis and cultural meaning. You must submit some preliminary materials before your final paper, and there are instructions for that as well as the paper itself. For details, click Assignments in the navigation bar left and select Preparatory Materials for research paper and Research Paper. Check the Schedule for all due dates. GRADING Your course grade is based on the following: Discussion Forum Concert Review Research Paper Quizzes Final Exam TOTAL 35 percent 10 percent 15 percent 20 percent (5 percent each) 20 percent 100 percent Based on your numerical grade, a letter grade will be assigned as follows: A and A: superior mastery of the material, approximately 90 percent and higher B, B, and B+: satisfactory mastery of the material, approximately percent C, C, and C+: adequate understanding of the material, approximately percent D and D+: marginal or unsatisfactory understanding of the material, approximately less than 70 percent

5 F: entirely unsatisfactory understanding of the material. ACADEMIC POLICIES By enrolling as a student in this course, you agree to abide by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill policies related to the acceptable use of online resources. Please consult the Acceptable Use Policy on topics such as copyright, net etiquette, and privacy protection. As part of this course, you may be asked to participate in online discussions or other online activities that may include personal information about you or other students in the course. Please be respectful of the rights and protection of other participants under the UNC Chapel Hill Information Security Policies when participating in online classes. When using online resources offered by organizations not affiliated with UNC Chapel Hill, such as Google or YouTube, please note that the terms and conditions of these companies and not the University s Terms and Conditions apply. These third parties may offer different degrees of privacy protection and access rights to online content. You should be well aware of this when posting content to sites not managed by UNC Chapel Hill. When links to sites outside of the unc.edu domain are inserted in class discussions, please be mindful that clicking on sites not affiliated with UNC Chapel Hill may pose a risk for your computer due to the possible presence of malware on such sites. Honor Code All work done in relation to this course is bound by the University s Honor Code. It is essential that you adhere to the principles outlined in the Honor Code at all times. We encourage you to discuss topics together, talk about your readings and listenings with classmates and colleagues, and engage with the course material as a community of scholars. However, all work that you submit must be your own work. All work that you reference must be cited properly (see Citing Your Sources in the navigation bar at left) and you must adhere strictly to the guidelines of academic scholarship. Make sure you avoid plagiarism in your work. Plagiarism is using someone else s ideas whether quoted directly or just paraphrased without properly crediting that person (citing the source). Please view this brief Plagiarism Tutorial created by the librarians of UNC Chapel Hill, Duke University, NC State University, and NC Central University. Take pride in your work, maintain the integrity of your academic studies, and respect the tradition of scholarly professionalism at all times. Course Policies Late work is not accepted, and assignment deadline extensions are not granted, except in cases of extenuating circumstances such as family death, documented extended illness, religious observance, and so on. If you are unable to submit your work on time, contact us as soon as possible. Work Load: Plan to spend at least five to ten hours per lesson on this course. Depending on your learning and writing style, you may need additional time. Schedule sessions to study the lesson, do the assigned readings,

6 and listen to the assigned recordings. Schedule multiple sessions during the week rather than one extended session so you have time to reflect on the material before you write your discussion posts or other assignments. Office of Accessibility/Special Accommodations If you are a student with a documented disability, you can receive services through Accessibility Resources & Service. You must self identify through Accessibility Resources to receive services or accommodation from either of these offices. Accessibility Resources works closely with programs, offices, and departments throughout the University to help create an accessible environment. The office is located in Suite 2126 of the Student Academic Services Building (SASB), 450 Ridge Road, Chapel Hill, NC, and is open from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. You can contact them by phone at or 711 (NC RELAY), or by at LESSONS Lesson Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3 Lesson 4 Lesson 5 Lesson 6 Lesson 7 Lesson 8 Lesson 9 Lesson 10 Lesson 11 Lesson 12 Lesson 13 Lesson 14 Lesson 15 Lesson 16 Topic Introduction: Heading into the Country, The Birth of Country Music The Big Bang of Country Music: Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family Innovation and Change: Radio Shows, The Singing Cowboy, and Western Swing Honky Tonk Heyday and the Legend of Hank Williams The Birth of Bluegrass Rockabilly and Teen Romance: Hello, I m Johnny Cash! The Nashville Sound and Musical Innovation: Country Goes Uptown California Country and Country Rock: Country Heads West Traditionalists and Classic Country How Songs Tell Stories: Form and Analysis Outlaw Country and Southern Rock Rebellion Urban Cowboy, Countrypolitan, and the Reagan Era Neotraditionalists and Remaking the Past The Commercial Country Explosion Alternative Country and Roots Revival Into the Present University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Send questions or comments to

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