History of Rock Music I - From the Early Blues to the 1960s
What you'll learn
- You will be able to speak confidently about the important rock genres and sub-genres, from the arrival of Rock & Roll to the rock genres of the 1960s
- You will be able to distinguish between the essential stylistic features of the rock genres and styles that have shaped the history of rock music from the early blues era to the late 1960s
- You will familiarize yourself with essential musical concepts such as melody, harmony, rhythm, genre, form and style
- You will be able to define the historical, sociological, political and economic factors that contributed to the rise and demise of rock styles, musicians, and groups
- You will have the ability to define the role, the contribution, and the stylistic identity of the most popular and influential musicians and groups of the blues era, rock & roll, and the 1960s rock music (blues-based rock, psychedelic rock, art rock, the Beatles, etc.)
- Have access to a device that can play audio/video files.
How is Pink Floyd differentiated from The Rolling Stones? Why is Jimi Hendrix considered as an immensely influential rock guitarist? What is the role of the social and political aspects in the San Francisco Hippies movement and the emergence of psychedelic rock?
These are questions that can entail intriguing answers. The consideration of multiple narratives - style and stylistic influence, the social, political, and economic axes, etc. - against the musical timeline is essential to the thorough understanding and appraisal of the history of rock music. This is the approach I follow for the last 6 years in my university courses. It has proven very successful, and I see no reason not to apply it here as well!
In this course we will survey the history of rock music, from its roots (the blues) to the exciting rock genres of the 1960s, with a focus on:
the various rock genres, sub-genres and styles
the artists that played a role in the arrival and evolution of rock music
the stylistic and other characteristics of each rock genre and sub-genre and the relationship between them
the role of the economic, political, and social parameters in the shaping of rock music
The course is arranged in 11 sections as follows:
Introduction & Overview
Appraising a subject historically
Preliminary technical information - addressing essential musical parameters such as melody, harmony, rhythm, genre. form, and style
Country (Delta) blues
City (electric) blues
Country & Western Music
C & W sub-genres (i.e., bluegrass and 'honky-tonk') and their impact on the 1950s rock & roll
Rock & Roll
Mainstream 1950s rock (Rock & Roll)
London in the early 1960s - fascination with the Blues and the creation of blues-based rock
The transformation of the blues into rock
The guitarist as a rock hero
The role of the Fabulous Four in the formation of rock music in the 1960s
The 'British Invasion'
'Purity' and sensitivity - music as reflection of social ideals
Integration of the sensitivity of rock music with the energy and drive of a rhythm section comprised of electric instruments
Surf rock within the context of the surf culture in California during the early1960s
Psychedelic Rock - The San Francisco & the Hippies Movement
San Francisco and the Hippies Movement
The social and political context in the 1960s and its affect on rock music
Woodstock Music Festival
A Quest for Sophistication - Art Rock
Infusing rock music with Western-European musical features
Electronically generated sounds; musical complexity
Wrapping up the course
References to resources for further study
Who this course is for:
- This course is open to everybody who has an interest about the history of rock music.
- No prior specialized musical knowledge is required, all the necessary information is included in the lectures
Hello everyone! Allow me to say a few words about myself and my interests.
I graduated from Purchase College of the State University of New York with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in guitar performance. My guitar skills were furthered with jazz/rock guitar lessons at the New School for Social Research (New York) and the Guitar Institute (London). I am also a holder of a Ph.D. in Music Theory from the University of Nottingham and an MA in Music Theory from Queens College of the City University of New York.
Between 1999 and 2007 I taught at the University of Nottingham and the University of Macedonia, Greece. Currently, I am a Professor of Music Theory and Analysis and Head of the Department of Music & Dance at the University of Nicosia. My research interests include methods of pitch organization in early twentieth-century music, non-diatonic scales, popular music (particularly rock music), and form and analysis. My publication record features:
The book Demystifying Scriabin (co-editor and author of 2 chapters), published by Boydell and Brewer (2022)
The co-edition of Vol. 3 of the journal Mousikos Logos (2019)
Chapters in various books
Articles in internationally renowned journals such as Music Analysis, Music Theory Online, and Rivista di analisi e teoria musicale.
As a composer, I like to experiment with the ideals and techniques of art (progressive) rock, integrating materials from late Romantic harmony and early 20th-century avant-garde music into my songs. In parallel, I perform with rock and ethnic groups as a guitarist and singer.