MUSV3115 - Music and Culture in 1970s New York


Lessons are not given in the academic year 2024/2025

Course content

Through lectures, in-class discussions, and assigned readings, listening, and video viewing, this seminar will examine the explosion of rich musical cultures that defined 1970s New York, a period when the city was dirty, dangerous, and broke. Despite the city's high crime rate, abandoned buildings, widespread poverty, and political scandals, this era of New York history gave birth to disco, punk rock, new wave, no wave, trash rock, salsa, and hip hop, all of which co-existed alongside - and even interacted with - the loft jazz scene, the downtown composers known as "minimalists", and other musical trends high and low. In this era, the city was likewise richly represented in a range of important films, many of which included influential underscoring.

In exploring this still-influential era of New York-related music and media region, we will study both questions about musical geography, the interrelationships between race, class, economics, musical aesthetics, and values, culture, politics, and society. The course will further consider how this rich body of music and musical media has continued to shape Western musical culture to the present day.

Learning outcome


A candidate who successfully completes MUSV3115 will have

  • Have an increased historical appreciation for the creative processes in, and debates surrounding, the culture and legacy of various influential music, artists, and genres related to 1970s New York
  • Have knowledge of both key issues in, as well as historical- and thematic-based knowledge of, 1970s New York cultural politics and society, various period music scenes, trends, and media, and musical geography
  • Have specialized knowledge of the critical theory and discourses around 1970s New York cultural politics and society, various period music trends, and musical geography


A candidate who successfully completes MUSV3115

  • can formulate their knowledge in a compelling manner in both written and spoken forms

Learning methods and activities

Combined lectures and seminars.

Mandatory activities

Satisfactory participation in compulsory instruction and activities (e.g., short reports on syllabus reading assignments) set out during the course. This class is structured as a seminar with discussion sessions and lectures being the central parts of each class. Weekly coursework includes: select readings; listening and viewing assignments related to readings; and in-class discussion of these assigned materials.

NOTE: Because this is a discussion-oriented seminar, all weekly assigned readings MUST be dutifully read before each week's class, as in-class discussion participation is a vital part of the pedagogical methods of the course.

Compulsory assignments

  • Satisfactory participation in compulsory instruction and activities (e.g.,short reports on syllabus)

Further on evaluation

Students are required to submit two assignments. The two assignments will be weighted differently in the combined grade, with the grading weight being proportionally based on the required response lengths of each. One assignment will be due halfway through the semester, the second at the end of the course. The first should be about 1500 words (4-5 pages long, with font size 12, line spacing 1.5), and the second about 3500 words (9-10 pages, with font size 12, line spacing 1.5).

If the course is not passed, the student must only retake the part of the assessment that was not passed. If the candidate retakes the exam, there is no need to retake the compulsory assignments.

Specific conditions

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Second degree level



Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Music History
  • Music Theory
  • Cultural History
  • History
  • Musicology
Contact information

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Music


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