Feb 22, 2024  
2023-2024 University Catalog 
2023-2024 University Catalog

STME 602 Evolution of Song Styles: From Bessie Smith to Beyonce

3 credits 42.0 hours
600 level graduate course

This class explores how three types of songs evolved in America throughout the decades, from the turn of the 20th century through modern times. From Bessie Smith to Beyonce, from Patsy Cline to Prince. These categories are: Torch and Flame Songs, Protest Songs, Novelty Songs. Songs within these three realms are explored using sound recordings, videos, and historical and biographical accounts of their inception and performance. Our investigations lead us to ask the following questions: What cultural, technological, and political changes in this country affected both how songs were written and recorded? How did these changes prepare audiences in successive eras to receive them? Did songs from one era change not only in production style and recording, but in lyrical content as new information and vocabulary were introduced to the world? How will songwriting styles and recording technology continue to evolve? Can we predict how styles and tastes will change by looking at the past? The goal of this class is to provide students with an understanding of how song styles have changed due to the evolution of technology, culture, and politics. This will provide students with ways to better express an informed viewpoint of music in America, and its ever-changing state, to colleagues, students, and friends.

This course may be completed 2 times for credit.