Liberal Arts > Music

General Information

  • Name: History of Rock Music
  • Division: Liberal Arts
  • Discipline: Music
  • Units (Credits): 3.00

I. Catalog Course Description

Explains how cultural, social, political and economic conditions have shaped rock music's evolution. Familiarizes the student with the history of rock music from its origins in Blues through contemporary rock styles. Prominent players and groups of each era will be covered, as well as sociological, economic and cultural factors that shaped the many styles of rock music. Extensive classroom listening will enhance the student's learning experience.


II. Course Objectives and Linkage to General Education Program

The information in the parentheses after a course objective refers to the specific general education (GE) learning outcome that the objective meets. Objectives without this information are not linked to WNC’s general education program.

Upon successful completion of this course, the student should be able to:

  1. List in chronological order the prominent eras and trends of rock music and identify the names and contributions of key rock music personalities. (GE 1, 2, 4)
  2. Describe the emergence of rock music from its beginnings as “Rock and Roll”and “Rock-a-Billy” to the present. (GE 1, 2, 4)
  3. Identify individual rock music styles; distinguish among the styles of rock in terms of music theory and conception. (GE 1, 2, 4)
  4. Discuss how cultural, political, and social elements are reflected in, and have influenced Rock music and find relationships between rock music and historical, social and economic factors of each era. (GE 1, 2, 4, 6)
  5. Describe and evaluate the role society plays in influencing the evolution of rock and roll. (GE 1, 2, 4, 6)
  6. Describe technological advances (e.g. multitrack recording, digital synthesis, MIDI, etc.) and the effect of these advances, pertaining to rock music and evaluate the influence of modern technology on musical instruments and recording techniques. (GE 1, 2, 4)
  7. Understand the impact this music has had throughout the United States and the world and present these teachings in essay form. (GE 1, 2, 4, 6)

III. Topics

  • Elements of rock music: the blues, jazz, country/western, Rockabilly, Folk Northern Soul, Southern Soul, Psychedelic Rock, Southern or Country Rock, Progressive or Art Rock, Punk Rock, Reggae, Pop of the 80’s, Metal Rock and the new Singer Songwriters of the current generation.
  • The Payola scandals of the late 50s and early 60s.
  • Key musicians in each genre starting with early blues and country up to the present.
  • History of each rock music genre and/or era.
  • Key songwriters and producers of each rock era.
  • Most important is discussion of American society and it’s relationship to and influence upon pop culture and music, from slavery to Jim Crow.
  • How rock music and rock musicians influenced American culture. From slang words to the Woody cars of surf pop culture and the psychedelic art of the late 60s and early 70s.
  • Motown, the sound of young America, and how Soul music was shaped by, and helped shape the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Psychedelic Rock, was the use of drugs by musicians and performers to enhance their music a good idea?
  • Punk Rock and it’s move back to the garage band idea of anyone can be a musician and away from the growing musical expertise of the Art Rock musicians.
  • The Growing monster of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock of the 70s and 80s and it’s influence on today’s Rock Music.

Scheduled MUS-125 classes:

Fall 2019