Music History Jazz & Pop
All students of the same study year.
Number of course weeks
One 120-minute lesson per week (with a 10-minute break)
Total contact hours
Form / content / level
Admitted to the main subject course.
Developing a broad understanding of jazz and pop history as well as the analytic skill to identify music based on its groove/arrangement/instrumentation.
Relation to other modules
Related to the main subject course (both involve musical analysis).
Each semester begins with several lectures providing a general introduction to various musical genres, styles and periods.
In subsequent lessons the students themselves prepare and give presentations (in pairs). They may choose from the following subjects:
Fall semester: Jazz
1. Pre-Jazz 1. (Precursor 1): African culture: General characteristics. The African musical heritage.
2. Pre-Jazz 2. (Precursor 2): Cultures of Western and Southern Europe: Classical music, popular music and marching music.
3. Slavery: The transatlantic slave trade. Music of the slaves. Different concepts of slavery arising from the different historical situation in Northern and Southern America and the Caribbean islands.
4. The city of New Orleans: New Orleans Jazz. The first recording.
5. Chicago Jazz: The Great Migration, Musicals, Tin Pan Alley (The Big Five) (N.Y.C.).
6. Swing, the big band era.
7. New Orleans Revival, Dixieland, jump and jive.
8. Bebop, CuBop, European jazz (e.g., Hot Club de France)
9. Cool jazz, west-coast Jazz.
10. Third stream (classical influences in jazz).
11. Hard bop, soul jazz, modal jazz.
12. Free jazz, actual improvisation and free funk.
13. Jazz rock, fusion, neo-bop.
14. Crossover, world music, retro jazz, acid jazz and other contemporary developments.
Spring semester: Pop
1. Country blues (Delta blues, Mississippi blues).
2. Classic blues and boogie-woogie.
3. City/urban blues, electric blues.
4. Rhythm and blues, jump and jive.
5. Rock 'n roll and rockabilly.
6. Beat (Merseybeat, London, Manchester) and surf music (California).
7. Soul (incl. Motown) and funk.
8. Folk rock, country rock and heavy metal ('Flower Power', New York underground scene).
9. Symphonic rock, progressive rock and glitter rock.
10. Reggae, ska.
11. Punk, new wave and disco.
12. Hip-hop, break dance and gangster rap.
13. Techno, house, jungle music and ambient (lounge) music.
14. Grunge, post-punk revival, trip hop, big beat and nu-Jazz (and contemporary developments still to come).
In their presentations, students sketch the cultural/historic background of their subject; they discuss how, why and when a musical style or movement emerged, and how it relates to broader cultural, historical and/or sociological developments. The musical styles are examined both as purely musical developments and in their broader cultural/historical context; in this way students will be better able to grasp the relationship between the different music-historical subjects.
Mode(s) of instruction
The first three lessons of each semester take the form of lectures by the instructor, who discusses key elements in jazz and pop history and briefly describes their interrelationship.
In the subsequent lessons, the 14 subjects described under Content will each be discussed twice by the participating students, who, in pairs, prepare and give presentations about their subject. In other words: each presentation is given by two students; in case the number of students is higher or lower than 28, some presentations will be given by a single student/group of three students. In each of the 14 lessons, students give 45- to 60-minute presentations about two of the subjects. Both presentations are followed by a group discussion in which any gaps are filled and errors corrected.
In other words: each lesson encompasses one presentation, followed by a group discussion, and each student is involved in the preparation and actual reading of two presentations.
Material & Tools
Masters of Jazz (DVD); educational series by Wynton Marsalis about the relation between jazz and classical music; listening material (cd); various books, including Ruud Kuyper: Jazz in stijl; and Fernand Tange: All that Jazz. History of Blues (DVD); History of Gospel (DVD). Video series: Bluegrass and Folk. History of Rock (DVD).
Preparing presentations in pairs.
Collecting listening materials.
Studying the backgrounds of the concepts discussed.
Examination and assessment
Mode(s) of assessment
Assessment of the two presentations by the student.
An exam which consists of listening and analysis exercises: identifying genre(s), style, period, with argumentation. Background knowledge about the performers and/or composers.
Exam duration: 1.5 hour.
This exam tests the students' knowledge of jazz and pop history by means of questions from a sociological/historical perspective. For instance, questions may concern the history of the slave trade, the prohibition, the ways in which styles respond to or build on previous styles with different means. Grading: 5 points per question x 15: 75 points = 10; 67.5 = 9; 60 = 8; 52.5 = 7; 47.5 = 6; 40= 5; etc.
The student should have mastered the elements described under Aims.
The student has completed this module if he is awarded a minimum grade of 5.5 both semesters.
Lectures as well as both exams are assessed by the teacher, in writing.
The first six lectures (3x2) provide a general chronological introduction to the history of jazz and pop music. In subsequent classes, students give in total 14 presentations (mostly in pairs) about the history of jazz, blues, gospel and country and folk music; these presentations lead into group discussions about the subject.