Cypress College American Popular Music

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Cypress College

American Popular Music

  • Instructor:   Mr. Joseph C. Gallo

  • Office Hours:   MW 10-11AM, T 4-6PM, Virtual Hours: TH 10-11AM, TH 12-1PM

  • Email:    

  • Phone: (714) 484-7031  

  • Response time is generally within 24 hrs.  Weekends will be answered on Monday.

  • ClassTime: Monday 6:00PM-8:50PM

Course Identification

  • Course Number:         MUS 117 C, American Popular Music CRN# 20725

  • Semester:                   Spring 2011

  • Prerequisites: NA

Course Description


A historical and musical study of American popular music from its origin to the present. The primary focus will be on musical styles with secondary emphasis on sociological, political, and economic conditions which influenced the music of America. Concert attendance required. Pass/No Pass/Letter Grade Option.

Course Objectives

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

    1. Identify American popular music styles.

    2. Trace the development of musical styles.

    3. Define the musical terms assigned to popular music.

    4. Compare various performance styles within a style period.

    5. Appraise a specific musician giving specific examples of his/her music and contribution to a particular style.


Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to discuss styles, elements and artists that are appropriate to the subject and demonstrate a general understanding of the social and cultural ideas that affect the history of American Popular Music with 75% accuracy.

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to identify styles, composers and time periods of recorded music with 75% accuracy.


    “Popular Music in America, The Beat Goes On” by Michael Campbell 3rd Edition You may order your books online from the campus bookstore at Students will need access to the Internet. All of the course work is obtained from online sources. Companion Website The campus bookstore:

MUSIC LIBRARY: The Music Library is located on the second floor of the Fine Arts Building. Room 212
MATERIALS: Internet Access

Topics, Assignments and Due Dates
1.Each week students will go to two sites. One is on the Cengage site click on companion site. Then on the left select the appropriate chapter and complete the Internet Exercises at the bottom of each Internet Exercise is a place to write in my email address, so that each IE will be sent to me directly from the cengage site. Make sure you keep backup!!

Homework needs to be completed by Thursday 8:00AM each week. Late assignments that are no more than 2 weeks behind will be accepted at full credit until May 19th.

Mid Term and Final

The Mid-Term and Final will consist of: watching and reviewing the music from films. The choice must be made from the list on the syllabus. No exceptions. These films may be rented from Blockbusters online video store and many of them are available for viewing in our college library, many are at the local library.

You will need to do 3 films by the 9th week of class for your Mid Term and 3 more by the 17th week of class for your final. Choose 6 films in from the 11 listed. Exceptions to the list need to be approved by me before submission.

DO NOT REVIEW THE FILMS THEMSELVES!!! Review the MUSIC in the films. Here’s what should be included:
Summaries should include:

1. Comments on how the social issues presented in the films were reflected by the music.

2. The effect of music on the period in history and in the film itself

3. What significance did technology play with regard to: instrumentation, dance, vocals, lyrics, film etc.

Weekly Assignments
1st Week Ch 1 A Matter of Style: Describing Popular Music pgs 1-16 Rent Video from Blockbuster Online. Do one or the other “Stars and Stripes
Forever” or “ Yankee Doodle Dandy” Write a musical review .
2nd Week Ch 2 The Beginnings of American Popular Music pgs 17- 38
3rd Week Ch 3 The Emergence of Black Music pgs 39- 55 Rent Video from
Blockbuster Online. “Showboat” or “Oklahoma” Review it.

4th Week Ch 4 Popular Song in the Modern Era pgs 56-79 Rent Video from Blockbuster Online. “Singin’ In the Rain” Review it.

5th Week Ch 5 The Swing Era pgs 80-90 Rent Video from Blockbuster Online. “
Porgy and Bess” Review it
6th Week Ch 6 In From the Outskirts: Blues, Gospel, Country,
and Folk Music, 1925-1950
pgs 91-116

7th week Ch 7 Latin Music In the United States pgs 117-127 Rent Video from

Blockbuster Online “ Ray” Story about Ray Charles Review it.
8th Week Ch 8 On the Charts, 1945-1954 pgs 128-155 Rent Video from Blockbuster
Online “ West Side Story” Review it
9th Week Ch 9 Rock and Roll 1954-1964 pgs 156-184 Rent Video from
Blockbuster Online “ Blackboard Jungle” Review it
10th Week Ch 10 The Rock Revolution: Rock and Black Music in
the 1960’s
pgs 185-218 Rent Video from Blockbuster Online. “Jesus Christ
SuperStar”. Review it.
11th Week Ch 11 Reactions to Rock: Established Styles in the Early Rock Era
219-235 Rent Video from Blockbuster Online “ Hair” . Review it.

12th Week Ch 12 Rock and R&B in the Early 1970’s pgs 236- 256 Rent Video from Blockbuster Online. “ Saturday Night Fever” Review it.

13th Week Ch 13 Funk, Reggae, disco, Punk: New Trends of the Late 1970’s
pgs 257-277 Rent Video from Blockbuster Online. “Chicago” Review it
14th Week Ch 14 Electronica and Rap pgs 278-292

15th Week Ch 15 Beyond Rock: The 1980’s pgs 293-313

16thWeek Ch16 Alternatives: Alternative, Heavy Metal, and Grunge After
pgs 314-327
17th Week Ch 17 A World of Music: Popular Music at the Turn of a New
pgs 328-342
Date Final Click here to enter text.

Students will be required to attend one concert and write a review of what they heard and saw. This review should include: Instrumentation, Harmonization, Texture, Description of Melodies, Tessitura, Style of Music, Titles of Songs, Rhythms used, and any interesting facts about the artist. There are Concerts given at the Cypress College, Cal State Universities, and venues throughout the area, many are free or low cost to the public. For a list of dates for these concerts, contact the Music Department Library. This concert review is due by week 12.

Extra credit will be given if you purchase the CD Joseph Charles Gallo plays Fredrick’s Favorites. You must purchase it from the bookstore and bring in the receipt. You will write an essay comparing the music of Chopin to the music we are studying in class. CD’s are available in the Bookstore. No more than 2 paragraphs please. This is worth 10pts. Toward your final grade

Grading policy

The instructional method for this class is lecture, textbook assignments, research activities and classroom discussions. Grading is based as follows:

Students will be graded on the following:

Mid-Term and Final 20% of total grade

Homework 40% of total grade

Participation/Discussion Board 40% of total grade
Catalog Pg 12.
Grading And Tests: A = 90-100 B = 80-89 C= 70-79 D= 60-69 F 0-59

Academic honesty policy: Students shall not plagiarize, which is defined as stealing or passing off as one’s own ideas or words of another and as using a creative production without crediting the source. Please click on and click on the "Schedule and Catalog" link.  This is the Cypress College Academic Honesty Policy, which can also be found in the Cypress College 2010-2011 Cypress College Catalog on Pg. 9. 
Attendance: Regular attendance is expected of every student. Attendance at the first class meeting is strongly recommended since a full period of instruction begins the first day of the class. Any student not attending the first class meeting may be dropped by the instructor. In the case where a class is taught entirely online, instructors may drop students who have not been in contact with the instructor by the end of the first day of classes for that semester or short-term session. and click on the "Schedule and Catalog" link.   2010-2011 Cypress College Catalog Pg. 12

Absences: After a student accumulates in any class more than a week’s absences (more than the number of times the class meets per week), consecutive or nonconsecutive, an instructor may drop the student according to the drop deadline dates. No absence excuses a student from making up class work missed. Students should realize that undue absences may adversely affect their grades. 2010-2011 Cypress College Catalog Pg. 12

Student Responsibility: While an instructor may drop a student who has poor attendance, it is the student’s responsibility to officially drop the class. 2010-2011 Cypress College Catalog Pg. 12. Refer to the class schedule for further instruction on “How to Add/Drop a Class”.
Admissions and Records The first contact students will generally have with Cypress College is Admissions and Records . The Office provides clear and concise information to all members of the community. The Admissions and Records Office is located on the first floor of the Student Center. 2010-2011 Cypress College Catalog Pg. 29.
Sexual Harassment/Discrimination Policy:  Students, who believe they have been subjected to unlawful discrimination, including sexual harassment, or who seek information regarding the District’s Unlawful Discrimination Policy, should contact the Office of the District Director of Human Resources. 2010-2011 Cypress College Catalog Pg. 37
Food/Beverage Policy: No food in the class room! Only water will be allowed.
Pager/Cell Phone Policy: All electronic devices will be turned off during class time. Please turn these devices off before entering. Use of these devices in class may lead to the student being asked to leave the classroom incurring a recorded absence.

Student Services For your student and instructional service needs, click on  

Campus Safety provides escort service upon request at (714) 484-7387.

Special Needs Students with verified disabilities requiring accommodations should make a specific request of the instructor at the beginning of the semester or one week prior to the specified need.

Advisement/Counseling The Webpage for counselors and their e-mail addresses is located under Counseling on the Cypress College Website at 

Availability of On-Campus Computers On-campus computers for student use are in the Cypress College Library Learning Resource Center. The library web page provides access to an online catalog listing the library holdings from Cypress, Fullerton, Golden west, Orange Coast, Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Long Beach.  Students will need their campus ID card to check books out from these libraries.

Tips For Success The successful student is independent, self-motivated, willing to learn on-their-own, and willing to ask questions as soon as questions arise.  They are also good with written instructions, good at expressing themselves in writing, and are aware that technology is as much a convenience as a barrier.

Stay on task and be aware of your personal timelines when completing assignments.     

Cypress College Music Library The Music Library is located on the second floor of the Fine Arts Building Room 212.

Online Writing Lab (OWL)  OWL brings the writing center services to cyberspace. Besides a host of links and downloadable handouts for writers, the OWL also offers interactive exercises, Power Point lessons, tutor email and a tutor chat room. OWL is located at:

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