Prepare an ebook and get a 20% bonus in the course! Here’s how!
Why do we give this course?
Music is a reflection of life and teaches us a lot about the world as it was and as it is, and our place in it. It is related to all aspects of our existence. It allows us to combine our thoughts, actions, and behavior.
If we understand what makes a song popular over time, we gain insight on what makes anything popular over time: books, movies, inventions.
How do we give this course?
The course is like an academic show put on by the teachers and the students. We listen to old records. We sing, clap our hands, get up and dance. We learn to fall in love with the music from another era. We discuss hypotheses. We learn the basics of music and lyrics. We talk about individual songs, genres, writers, performers. We look at popular songs as stories.
So what do we talk about in the course?
We start out talking about what makes a popular song stay popular for decades and decades after it was first written. We compare covers and originals, how we define a popular song (national anthem? religious tune?), the parameters that make a popular song immortal. We analyze “Over the Rainbow” which is often considered the best song of the twentieth century and look at “Bohemian Rhapsody” as well.
We talk about the reasons why the course begins in 1927. We look at the songs that won the Oscar (and the ones that didn’t), songs from movies, tv (American Bandstand and Ed Sullivan mainly) and the musicals, focusing on Guys and Dolls, Rogers and Hammerstein, Andrew Lloyd Weber and others.
We look at the great songwriters of the golden era, focusing on Richard Rodgers, the Gershwins, Frank Loesser, Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern and others. We compare singers, e.g., Bing Crosby and Billie Holliday. We talk about the Big Bands of the Swing Era, and why jazz died and was replaced by rock and roll. We talk about the influence of the musical, and of television. We talk about music, melody, surprises, hooks, major vs. minor, chords, scales, we discuss octaves, song structures and chord progressions. We talk about funk, prog, glam, disco and Israeli popular music. We talk about the singer songwriters of the 60/70s, concentrating on Elton John (and Bernie Taupin), Carole King and others.
There are more than ten, but this is a start…
Short book. Important.
Why our popular music course begins in 1927. Radio. Modern Musicals. First movie with songs. Record players. Important.
How we can analyze the success of a song – important! Also has a checklist of what we learned about music.
This is a mini-catalog of several ebooks. Please take a look to find out more about Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, the Gershwins,
Rodgers and Hammerstein, Jerome Kern, Sholom Secunda, Frank Loesser, and Duke Ellington.
Oscar Nominations, thirties and forties, songs from the movies – Important including Walt Disney.
Dance moves through the years. Fun to watch.
Celebrating the opus of ‘course hero’ Richard Rodgers and his lyricists Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II. Important.
The King and I – Don’t forget to watch “Shall we dance”. Important.
Did he copy the works of others? Important.
A comparison of songs: This Diamond Ring, Sealed with a Kiss, Save your Heart for me, Sukiyaki, covers vs. originals – the beginning is important. The rest is good reading.
If a song tells a story, then empathy is key, just like in a children’s book.
Important, of course
Interesting and important.
Short, sweet and important
You have to know that basic blues are twelve bars long, usually three chords and the first two of three lines are repetitive. We mentioned a few songs in the course that are in blues format.
Carole King. Important!
Sample questions for self review
You can scroll down to see more.
Frank Loesser – short and sweet.
A brief discussion on last year’s course as it progressed
To what extent can popular music be analyzed? Interesting
The importance of pitch melody and phrasing – imporant. Listen to the songs.
Bing was more popular, now Billie is remembered while Bing has been largely forgotten. Why? Important to give a listen.
Irving Berlin – interesting
Interesting and very short!
The Gershwins – yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Interesting and not short
Harold Arlen – interesting, short and sweet
Sholom Secunda – interesting
We dig the greatest Big Bands
Old picks of famous more recent musicians – interesting
Fun, the Christmas song (chestnuts roasting on an open fire is important as we interviewed Steve, the son of Mel Torme who co-wrote it.
very important, but less so for the exam