About MU 1140 A

Traces the development of blues from African origins to modern blues, its rural and urban social contexts, and relation to African-American history and culture. Cross-listed with: CRES 1813.


Open to Degree and PACE students

Section Description

This course traces the history and development of blues from African origins through rural blues of Mississippi, the East Coast, and Texas, to electric blues of Chicago, the blues revival of the 1960's, and modern blues today. We will look closely at the music itself and the people who make it, as well as the rural and urban social contexts which have supported it. The continuing influence and interconnection of blues and rock-and-roll will also be examined, as well as its relation to African American history and culture. MU 010 will begin with a brief discussion of those elements of music which apply to blues, so that we have appropriate terminology with which to discuss the music. We will then discuss and listen to some of the African roots of blues and its rural southern origins, and proceed to follow its migration to the urban centers of the North and West. We will pay particular attention to such important stylistic innovators as Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Robert Cray. Learning Objectives • Students will gain an understanding of the evolution of blues from its African origins to today’s modern electric blues. • Students will gain a greater understanding of the musical elements of blues, as well as the connections and influences of one style on another. • Students will gain an understanding of the connections between blues and rock-and-roll. • Students will gain a much richer understanding of African American history and culture, and how blues is connected to and expresses elements of it. • As a D1 course, this course has a primary focus on race and racism in the United states as it pertains to ALANA populations, and promotes an understanding of race and racism in the U.S. and the meaning of power and privilege. Students will increase their awareness and understanding of issues related to diversity and multiculturalism, race and racism, and power and privilege, and will examine and reflect on their own prejudices and feelings regarding these issues. • Students will sharpen their listening skills This course fits into the curriculum as an elective, designed to exercise and improve students’ critical thinking skills by making connections between musical expression and larger social, political, and historical issues. As a D1 course, it increases students’ awareness of issues related to diversity, and satisfies one component of students’ diversity requirement. Finally, it can also serve as a gateway to more specific technical musical courses.

Section Expectation

This course will include a combination of in-class discussion and listening, audio and video examples, assigned readings, and online discussion and listening assignments/exercises. Class time will be reserved for further discussion of the course content, listening practice, and questions. It is important that the assigned reading and review of the week’s learning module be done prior to attending class so that intelligent participation is possible. There are multiple deadlines each week for posting answers to discussion questions, responses to other students’ answers, and completing listening assignments/exercises that must be strictly adhered to. Participation Guidelines: Class participation, enthusiasm, and preparedness definitely affects your grade. I am more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt if you participate enthusiastically and are generally well prepared. Students are expected to fully participate in the course by performing these tasks on a weekly basis, which will likely lead to greater academic success: • Complete all required readings and review content materials prior to coming to class and completing listening assignments and discussion postings. • Engage in the online discussions on the weeks assigned. • Complete the weekly online listening assignments. • Practice good time management and don’t wait until the end of the week to complete learning activities • Reference assigned readings to support comments or differing opinions • Contribute comments based on thoughtful consideration • Raise relevant points that add to the conversation • Show respect for others in all communications • Respond both to instructor and fellow students’ questions and comments


Grading Formula: Assignment Weight Online Discussion 20% Listening exercises 20% Midterm Exam 20% Final Exam 25% “Presentation” 15%

Important Dates

Note: These dates may change before registration begins.

Note: These dates may not be accurate for select courses during the Summer Session.

Last Day to Add
Last Day to Drop
Last Day to Withdraw with 50% Refund
Last Day to Withdraw with 25% Refund
Last Day to Withdraw


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Interest Form

MU 1140 A is closed to new enrollment.

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