MI6005 - Popular Music on Film and Television

What will I learn on this module?

This module is concerned with popular music culture and its relationship to film, an area much neglected in academic film studies, television studies and popular music studies. As such, it seeks to address this absence by looking at a number of key junctures where popular music culture, the cinema and television inter-relate, exploring debates about gender representation, authorship, genre and music in performance, as well as how the films studied relate to context of their production and reception. The module, therefore, covers topics such as the following in a largely chronological fashion. An indicative syllabus is as follows:
1. Early moments: The significance of the early Elvis Films: King Creole
2. Punk rock on film: The Great Rock n’ Roll Swindle
3. The revisionist musical: Von Trier, Lhurmann et al
4. Popular Music and national identity: The Commitments
5. Popular Music and ‘Race’ representation: 8 Mile
6. Gender play: Velvet Goldmine, In Bed with Madonna
7. The popular music / rock documentary
8. Dance and the male body: Saturday Night Fever
9. The concert film" from Wadleigh's Woodstock to Godard's One plus One.
10. Critical approaches to music video: Corbijn, Cunningham et al.
11. Nostalgia and the popular musical biopic: Control

How will I learn on this module?

This module is taught by weekly two-hour lectures, weekly one-hour seminars, and occasional tutorials. The lectures involve the tutor introducing you to the key historical, critical and theoretical issues relating to the subject, illustrated by relevant clips. The seminars will involvesmall or whole group discussions of issues raised by the week’s topic. You will be provided with online links to film material for viewing in advance of the seminars, and which will provide the main case-study for analysis. You are required to make positive contributions to the learning experience. You are expected to prepare for classes by studying books, articles, films and Internet sources, references to which are provided by the module guide, e-reading list, and supplementary material posted on the e-learning portal. You are also encouraged to develop communication skills by taking an active part in seminar discussions. Tutorials will offer you support with specific issues, in particular in relation to the assessment for the module, and may also be used to give feedback on assessed work.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Seminars will involve group discussions with the tutor and fellow students, providing a constructive environment for the enhancement of knowledge and understanding of the subject, preparation for the assessment tasks, and the development of communication skills. Class material (such as Powerpoint slides, links to film clips and discussion points) will be accessible via the e-Learning Portal, along with supplementary learning material (which may include web links, suggestions for further viewing and reading). A list of key and further reading material will be available on the eLearning Portal, and an electronic reading list will link you directly to key sources, allowing you to access them anytime and anywhere. The module will also incorporate assessment preparation sessions, with advice on how to approach the essay/exam components. Furthermore, the module tutor will offer set office hours for academic support.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

1. An understanding of key features of the historical development of rock and popular music on film and television cinema from the mid 1950s to the present day

2. An awareness of key critical debates associated with the history of rock and popular music on film and on television, and an ability to historically contextualise a range of films.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

3. An ability to articulate, evaluate and apply key theoretical and critical issues associated with popular music on film and television

4. Demonstration of analytical and communication abilities through verbal and written means

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

5. An appreciation of the cultural contexts of film-making exploring rock and pop culture

How will I be assessed?

The assessment strategy for this module is to encourage students to develop a critically and contextually informed understanding of
rock and popular music film-making addressing all MLOs. The essay (3000 words) tests the ability of students to deploy relevant critical material within a detailed analysis of a single film or small group of films. Students are able to choose a question from a list given by the tutor. The task addresses all of the MLOs relating to knowledge/understanding and intellectual/professional skills in testing: an understanding of key critical issues, an ability to contextualise specific examples, an ability to articulate, evaluate and apply theoretical/critical ideas in relation to specific examples, and the communication of these abilities. Submission and receipt of feedback is via Turnitin.





Module abstract

The module explores the inter-relationship between film and television and rock and popular music cultures and subcultures. It does this via consideration of key films that focus upon major rock and pop stars (Elvis; Bob Dylan; The Rolling Stones; Madonna etc), and/or pivotal rock and pop movements/genres (early rock 'n' roll; the rock counter-culture of the 60s; punk; disco; dance music; hip hop). It starts from the premise that rock and popular music have been central to popular culture and youth subcultures in the latter half of the C20th, and, as such should be considered in greater depth in film studies. Central issues involve, considering how musicians have been represented in diverse genres and in different historical contexts, as well as exploring how music performance in film may be analysed. It is taught by a two-hour lecture and a one-hour seminar. Students will be given access to online links to relevant film material that should be viewed in advance particular classes . Assessment is by a 3000 word essay, chosen from a list of questions given by the tutor.

Course info

UCAS Code P310

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Arts

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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