HNRS 230: Popular Music in the Americas

Complete Syllabus

How to Read a Pop Song

Class Schedule (with reading and listening assignments)
Note: Most of the readings for this class are either from books required for purchase or are journal articles available via the GMU library website. The rest are available here, but they are password protected. Get the password from me.

1/23 Introduction: Musical Genealogy

1/25 How to Read a Pop Song
Reading: Pacini Hernandez, 1-14
Listening: Tito Puente, “Oye Como Va” (1963); Carlos Santana, “Oye Como Va” (1970)

Roots: The Afro-Atlantic
1/30 Atlantic Slavery: Cultural Survivals and Creolization

2/1 1900: Maxixe, Milonga, Danzón
Reading: Chasteen, 1-88
Listening: Baiano, “Pelo Telefone” (samba composed by Donga, 1916); Orquesta Típica Criolla Vicente Greco, “Don Juan” (tango, 1910); Orquesta Felipe Valdés, “La machicha” (danzón, 1907)

2/6 Colonial Mixing and National Identities
Reading: Chasteen, 91-163
Listening: Georges Bizet, “Habanera” (from the opera, Carmen, 1875)

2/8 Mestizaje and Official Nationalisms
Reading: Chasteen, 189-204
Listening: Cyro Monteiro, “Falsa Baiana” (1944, composed by Geraldo Pereira – Brazil. Be sure to read the lyrics in English); Libertad Lamarque, “La morocha” (1939, originally composed in 1905 – Argentina); Miguelito Valdés, “Babalú” (original was 1937 – Cuba)

2/13 Jazz Origins: New Orleans, Ragtime
Reading: Danny Barker, A Life in Jazz, 1-10, 21-56
Listening: Scott Joplin, “Maple Leaf Rag” (composed, 1898); Original Dixieland Jazz Band, “Livery Stable Blues” (1917); King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, “Dippermouth Blues” (1923); Clarence Williams Blue Five (featuring Sydney Bechet), “Wild Cat Blues” (1923); Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five, “West End Blues” (1928)

2/15 The Hidden Latin I: Jazz and “the Spanish Tinge”
Listening: Jelly Roll Morton, “New Orleans Blues” (composed circa 1905); W.C. Handy’s Orchestra, “St. Louis Blues” (1914); Orquesta Pablo Valenzuela, “La Patti Negra” (1906); Europe’s Society Orchestra (led by James Reese Europe), “Amapa” (1913)

Exoticism and Folklore
2/20 Exoticism I: Tango, Choro, and Jazz in Paris
Listening: Oito Batutas, “Graúna” (1923, Brazil)
Due (before class): Short Essay

2/22 Exoticism II: Hawaiian Steel Guitar
Reading: John W. Troutman, “Steelin’ the Slide: Hawai’i and the Birth of the Blues Guitar,” Southern Cultures 19:1 (2013), 26-52.
Listening: Frank Ferera and Helen Louise, “Waikiki Mermaid Medley” (1916); Sylvester Weaver, “Guitar Blues” (1923)

2/27 Inventing the Folk: The U.S.
Reading: Benjamin Filene, “”Our Singing Country”: John and Alan Lomax, Leadbelly, and the Construction of an American Past,” American Quarterly 43:4 (1991), 602-24
Viewing: 1935 March of Time Newsreel

3/1 Inventing the Folk II
Midterm Listening Quiz

The Rock and Roll Era
3/6 Cuban Music in America I
Reading: Gustavo Pérez Firmat, “Latunes: An Introduction,” Latin American Research Review 43:2 (2008), 180-203
Viewing: Xavier Cugat, “Jungle Rhumba” (from 1949 film Neptune’s Daughter)

3/8 Cuban Music in America II
Reading: Pacini Hernandez, 15-33
Listening: Arsenio Rodríguez, “El reloj de Pastora” (1946); Dámaso Pérez Prado, “Mambo No. 5” (1949); Tito Puente, “Ran Kan Kan” (1949)

[Spring Break]

3/20 The Hidden Latin II: The Latin in Rock and Roll

3/22 “To Rock or Not to Rock”: Chicano L.A. vs Puerto Rican N.Y.
Reading: Pacini Hernández, 34-53
Listening: Cannibal and the Headhunters, “Land of 1000 Dances” (1965); Joe Cuba, “Bang Bang” (1966); Fania All-Stars, “Anacaona” (1972)

3/27 Rock and Roll in Mexico
Reading: Eric Zolov, “La Onda Chicana: Mexico’s Forgotten Rock Counterculture,” in Pacini Hernandez, et al, eds., Rockin’ Las Américas: The Global Politics of Rock in Latin/o Americas (Pittsburgh, 2004), 22-42.
Listening: Little Richard, “Good Golly Miss Molly” (1958); Los Teen Tops, “La Plaga” (1960); Peace and Love, “We Got the Power” (1971)

3/29 The Transnational 1960s

4/3 Brazil: from Bossa Nova to Tropicália
Reading: Caetano Veloso, Tropical Truth, 3-51
Listening: João Gilberto, “Desafinado” (1959); Caetano Veloso, “Tropicalia” (1968)

4/5 Hidden Latin III: Funk

4/10 Soul and Race in Rio
Reading: Paulina Alberto, “When Rio was Black: Soul Music, National Culture, and the Politics of Racial Comparison in 1970s Brazil,” Hispanic American Historical Review 89:1 (2009), 3-39.
Listening: Jorge Ben, “Charles, Anjo 45” (1969); Tim Maia, “Réu Confesso” (1973); Toni Tornado, “Sou Negro” (1972)

New Latino Grooves
4/12 Miami, MTV, and Rock Latino
Reading: John Lannert, “MTV to Beam 24-Hour Channel into Latin America,” Billboard (2/6/93); John Lannert, “21 Countries Plugged in for MTV Latino Debut,” Billboard (10/2/93).
Listening: Soda Stereo, “Nada Personal” (1986); Maldita Vecindad, “Pachuco” (1991); Fabulosos Cadillacs, “Matador” (1994)

4/14: Research Paper due (by noon)

4/17 From Disco to Hip Hop
Reading: Pacini Hernandez, 54-76
Listening: Gil Scott-Heron, “The Bottle” (1974); Joe Bataan, “La Botella” (1975); Salsoul Orchestra, “Salsoul Hustle” (1975); N.O.R.E., “Oye Mi Canto” (2004)

4/19 From Merengue to Reggaeton
Reading: Pacini Hernandez, 77-105
Listening: Wilfrido Vargas, “Abusadora” (merengue, 1981); Raulín Rodríguez, “Nereyda” (bachata, 1994); Kinito Méndez, “Suero de Amor” (merengue/palo, 1999)

4/24 Cumbia’s Travels
Reading: Pacini Hernandez, 106-141
Listening: traditional cumbia from Colombia (music begins at 2:00); Los Corraleros de Majagual, “Los Sabanales” [Colombia]; La suerte sonidera mix [Mexico]; Damas Gratis, live [Argentina]

4/26 Student Presentations

5/1 Student Presentations

5/3 Student Presentations/Final Exam Review