No Such Thing as Pop/Classical

Classifications of high and low art in music have existed well before our listening lives began. Likewise, disagreements on those boundaries have always been part of the conversations among composers, performers and listeners. Now, more than ever, these lines continue to blur, and we find ourselves arguing genre classifications found from the concert hall to iTunes. This course will explore the roles that creators, presenters, audience and market play in the identities and interactions of musical genres. By considering music alongside the contemporaneous evolution of styles of literature, film, drama, and the visual arts, we seek to clarify how germane such distinctions are in the ever-fast-changing landscape of our contemporary culture. Students will contemplate their own background as consumers of the arts alongside guided listening and viewing examples as well as relevant readings on culture, aesthetics, commodification and transmission in pursuit of understanding how distinct these genres truly are.