Faculty of Fine Arts

Department of Music
Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae, Dancehall
FA/MUSI 1570 6.0
Fall/Winter 2019/20



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

Course Description and Content: This is a study of the musical, historical, spiritual, cultural roots and traditions of the music of Jamaica. Topics will include: Mento, US R&B, Sound Systems, Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae, Roots, Toasting, Dub, Dancehall. Artists and Producers to include Coxsone Dodd, Duke Reid, Prince Buster, Derrick Morgan, Skatelites, King Tubby, Lee Scratch Perry, Owen Gray, The Maytals, John Holt, Desmond Dekker, Jimmy Cliff, The Heptones, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Burning Spear, Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare, Third World, Bunny Lee, Sugar Minott, Gregory Isaacs, Yellowman, Shabba Ranks, etc. This course is designed for students not majoring or minoring in music. No previous musical training is required.

Schedule: Classes meets each Tuesday as follows:

Section A 8:30AM - 10:30AM ACE 009
Ray Williams

Required Text: Various readings may be suggested. Suggested text: Rough Guide To Reggae

Requirements: Notebook, pen and ears. You will need a pencil and eraser for Tests.

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 directly to the instructor during class time.  If this is not possible, you may submit your assignments to the Music Office in Accolade East Building 3rd Floor [371] before 3:00PM during working days.  Make sure your assignment is time stamped by the Music Office staff to establish the date of submission.

Evaluation and Grading

Tests (in class "listening", context, terminology, analysis, genre)
Listening Journal - Minimum 150 songs, 123 days, no exceptions
Participation [Written 7.5%, Verbal 7.5%]

Last Date to Drop without Academic Penalty: February 10, 2020

Topic Schedule and Due Dates:

2019 TOPIC 2020 TOPIC
Sep 10 Introduction | Jamaica & Music Jan 7 Listening Journal Due [30%]
Sep 17 Folk, Calypso & Mento Jan 7 Roots Reggae 1
Sep 24 Jazz, R&B & Sound Systems Jan 14 Test 2 [15%]
Oct 1 Movie Day | Beats of the Heart Jan 21 Movie Day | Bob Marley
Oct 8 Ska 1 Jan 28 Roots Reggae 2
Oct 15 Ska 2 Feb 4 Roots Reggae 3
Oct 22 Rocksteady Feb 11 Roots Reggae 4
Oct 29 Test 1 [10%] Feb 25 Lovers Rock
Nov 5 Reggae 1 Mar 3 Dancehall 1
Nov 12 Reggae 2 Mar 10 Dancehall 2
Nov 19 Reggae 3 New Producers, Dub Mar 17 Test 3 [15%]
Nov 26 DJ Toasting Mar 24 Journal Return, Participation Marking

Listening Journal

You are required to listen to various forms of Jamaican popular music performed by Caribbean artists and record information along with your personal reaction to this music in a Listening Journal.  The Journal should be divided into four sections as follows:

  • Section 1 - 1950-1962 [minimum 15 songs] Calypso and music from other Caribbean countries are permitted here.
  • Section 2 - 1963-1969 [minimum 30 songs] Jamaican music only
  • Section 3 - 1970-1979 [minimum 45 songs] Jamaican music only
  • Section 4 - 1980-1990 [minimum 60 songs] Jamaican style music from anywhere in the world.

The Journal will consist of individual song listings for each song you listened to.  You should write about your personal feeling about each song.  There must be no duplicates i.e. same song by the same artist (these will result in mark deductions).  There must be a table of contents.  The Journal’s pages 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 in a table above your write-up, which may include, but is not limited to: artist, song name, composer, release date, record label, etc. where possible.   Plagiarism, especially cut/paste from the Internet, will result in deductions of up to 100%. The journal may not contain songs on this exclusion list. Should these songs appear in your journal you will not receive credit for them.

Journals are due at the end of class on January 7, 2020. The journal may not be submitted after this date. Any journal that is submitted after January 10, 2020 will receive a mark of zero – absolutely no exceptions. You have 119 days to complete this assignment which is sufficient time.

©Copyright 2020, Ray Williams. All Rights Reserved