Module code: MUS1034

Module Overview

The purpose of this module is to acquire knowledge of approaches to research, discussion, and writing about popular music at FHEQ level 4. This is pursued through the study of a single album or group of tracks and its/their various contexts. The module provides a foundation for the study of popular music at FHEQ 5 and 6. An indicative case-study is Adele’s 25, studied from a range of perspectives including musical analysis, video analysis, the canon, gender and sexuality, and fandom and celebrity.

Module provider

Music and Media

Module Leader

WILEY Christopher (Music & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 117

Lecture Hours: 16

Tutorial Hours: 1

Captured Content: 16

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

Non for Music and Tonmeister students.

Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Ways in which understanding popular music might be different from understanding music from the Western Classical tradition.

  • The relationship between lyrics and music in popular genres.

  • Selection of appropriate approaches for the study of popular music tracks.

  • Examination of a selected album using a variety of approaches.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the issues surrounding academic study of music through engagement with selected work(s) and their contexts.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • A coursework patchwork activity with a maximum length of 3000 words or equivalent (100%), to be submitted by the Monday of week 12. (Addresses learning outcomes 1–6.)

Formative assessment

An assessment plan and bibliography, to be submitted by the Monday of week 7.


Detailed written feedback will be provided within three weeks of both the submission of the formative and summative assessment.

Verbal feedback will be given to contributions during class discussions as well as individual tutorials on coursework plans.

Module aims

  • Acquire knowledge of approaches to the cultural and technical understanding of popular music.
  • Acquire skills and confidence in discussing popular music in oral and written form to a level suitable for further study at FHEQ level 4.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Discuss the main cultural and technical issues identified regarding the album of tracks examined in the module. KCT
2 Undertake the research required to complete the coursework essay. CT
3 Construct a cogent argument in written form. KCT
4 Demonstrate the ability to access physical and online research resources in the library and through the library webpage. PT
5 Cite and reference the work of others correctly. PT
6 Compile a bibliography following departmental guidelines. PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Develop awareness of some of the intellectual means by which understanding of popular music is sought and achieved, and to develop the ability to employ some of these means to inform discussion of the selected track(s). This will involve directed reading and listening, class discussion, and the formation of critical responses to secondary literature in the coursework essay. The strategy will also reinforce techniques and styles of academic writing and analysis introduced in the Semester 1 modules Encountering Music History and Music Project 1A that are critical to student success in FHEQ levels 5 and 6.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures, incorporating class discussions as appropriate (2 hours per week x 11 weeks)

  • Tutorials

  • Guided reading and listening

  • Use of SurreyLearn

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: MUS1034

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.