Faculty of Fine Arts

Department of Music
Rhythm & Blues, Soul, Funk & Rap
FA/MUSI 1520 6.0
Fall/Winter 2021/22




Course Director: Ray Williams
E-mail: Ray Williams
(Please read these pages before emailing)

Course Description and Content : This course explores in depth the range of African-American popular music that came into existence during the 1920’s. Numerous styles and genres will be studied from various points of view (musicological, sociological & theoretical) and a wide variety of structural forms and musical techniques will be analyzed. The historical context as relates to the development of this music will be explored. The experiences of the personalities will also be studied in an effort to gain greater understanding of their artistic development.

Schedule: Classes meets each Wednesday as follows:

Section A 7:00PM - 9:00PM MOODLE ECLASS
Ray Williams

Required Text: FA1520-SongBook.PDF Various readings may be suggested.

Requirements: Notebook, pen and ears. Pencil & Eraser for Tests. This course has no text book.

Academic Honesty: Please note the Senate Policy on academic honesty found on the York website here. Any form of cheating will result in a mark of ZERO.

Assignment Submission: All assignments are to be submitted via Moodle eClass.

Evaluation and Grading

Tests [on line "listening", context, terminology, analysis, genre]
Listening Journal [150 songs minimum, 120 days, no extensions]

Last Date to Drop without Academic Penalty: February 4, 2022

Topic Schedule and Due Dates:

2021 TOPIC 2022 TOPIC
Sep 8 Introduction to FA1520 Jan 5 Listening Journal Due [30%]
Sep 15 The Blues Jan 5 Seventies 1 - Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye
Sep 22 Louis Armstrong Jan 12 Seventies 2 - Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes
Sep 29 Billie Holiday Jan 19 Test 2 [10%]
Oct 6 Nat King Cole Jan 26 Seventies 3 - Stevie Wonder, Gamble & Huff
Oct 20 Ray Charles Feb 2 Seventies 4 - Ballads
Oct 27 Test 1 [10%] Feb 9 Seventies 5 - Pre Disco
Nov 3 Doo Wop, Frankie Lymon Feb 16 Disco 1 - Van McCoy, Donna Summer
Nov 10 Sixties 1 - Berry Gordy, Motown Mar 2 Disco 2 - Sylvester, Boney M, Chic
Nov 17 Sixties 2 - The Supremes, HDH Mar 9 Test 3 [10%]
Nov 24 Sixties 3 - James Brown, Aretha Franklin Mar 16 Disco 3 - Disco Lives
Dec 1 Sixties 4 - Stax, Jackson 5 Mar 23 Journal Return | Participation Marking

Listening Journal :

You are required to listen to African-American popular music performed by African-American artists and record information about this music in a Listening Journal.  The Journal should be divided into two sections.  The first must cover music up to and including 1969 and the second music between 1970 and 1990.  The Journal may be hand written but it must be well presented. You may not submit the Journal in a 3-ring binder and our advice is to keep the presentation businesslike but you are free to get creative and decorative if you want.

The Journal will consist of separate entries for each song you listen to.  In these entries, you should write down your personal feeling about each song.  There must be no duplicates entries [i.e. same song by the same artist] as these entries will result in mark deductions.  There must be a table of content and the pages and songs must be numbered. The journal should explore a minimum of 150 songs and be at least 30 pages long.  Entries should list factual data about each song, which may include, but is not limited to: artist name, song name, composer, release date, record label and chart peak position.  Plagiarism, especially cut/paste from the Internet, will result in deductions of up to 100%.  The journal should not contain songs listed on the exclusion list located on the course website.

Journals are due at the end of class on January 5, 2022.  The journal may not be submitted after this date.  Any journal that is submitted after January 5, 2022 will receive a mark of zero – absolutely no exceptions.  You have 120 days to complete this assignment which is sufficient time.


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