Module code: MUS1038

Module Overview

The purpose of this module is to acquire knowledge of approaches to the 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 Levels 5 and 6. An indicative case study is Adele¿s output, studied from a range of perspectives such as music analysis, lyric analysis, video analysis, the contemporary music business, cover versions, authenticity in popular music, the popular music canon, gender and sexuality, and popular music on film.

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: 96

Lecture Hours: 16

Seminar Hours: 6

Guided Learning: 16

Captured Content: 16

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None for Music/CMT/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 length of 3000 words or equivalent (addresses LOs 1-6)

Formative assessment:

An assessment plan and bibliography


Detailed written feedback will be provided within three semester weeks, following submission, for the summative assessment.

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

Module aims

  • Acquire knowledge of approaches to the cultural, contextual and artistic understanding of popular music
  • Acquire skills and confidence in discussing popular music to a level suitable for further study at FHEQ Level 4

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Discuss the main cultural and technical issues identified regarding the tracks examined in the module. CKT
002 Undertake the research required to complete the coursework. CT
003 Construct a cogent argument in written form. CKT
004 Demonstrate the ability to access physical and online research resources in the library and through the library webpage. PT
005 Cite and reference the work of others correctly. PT
006 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.

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

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: MUS1038

Other information

The Department of Music and Media is committed to developing graduates with attributes encompassing employability, digital skills, global and culture awareness, sustainability as it relates to music and the wider arts and, finally, resourcefulness and resilience. This module provides opportunities to engage with these attributes in myriad ways including:

Cultural and global capabilities: developing an appreciation of contemporary popular music and associated cultures internationally, encompassing a range of practices as performer, creator, consumer and/or researcher of music as a cultural and global phenomenon.

Digital capabilities: these may include conducting research using digital resources (text, score-based and audio), preparation of digital documents (e.g. word processing) and specialist music software (e.g. notation software; applications used in the creation of music) to create digital artefacts.

Resourcefulness and resilience: independence of practice, developing skills and work for assessment, maximising available resources, finding creative ways to address assessments and exercising resilience in doing so, overcoming difficulties and other challenges in undertaking a wide range of pursuits.

Sustainability: Issues of sustainability will be addressed in considering such phenomena as the dramatic and widespread shift from physical to digital formats in the contemporary popular music industries, and the implications and consequences of this globally.

Employability: developing a general awareness of music, culture and society suited to many careers in the popular music industries, as well as transferable skills appropriate to all graduate destinations. These values are embedded within the module's learning outcomes and educational aims, and throughout the programme.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) BMus (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Music BMus (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Creative Music Technology BMus (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

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.