JCU Logo

JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "CMS 336"
COURSE NAME: "The Music Video: From Popular Music to Film, Video and Digital Media "
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2019
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Peter Sarram
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 3:00-4:15 PM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 3
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: COM 220 recommended
OFFICE HOURS: MW 9-10

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
Since its emergence in the late 1970s, the music video has become the dominant means of advertising popular music and musicians, as well as one of the most influential hybrid media genres in history. In sampling and reworking a century’s worth of films and other pop culture artefacts (as well as art objects and concepts), music videos have affected aesthetic style in a wide range of film and television genres, introducing experimental and avant-garde techniques to a mass audience while influencing artistic and aesthetic movements in their own right. This course will investigate the ways in which popular (recorded) music and visual cultures have reciprocally influenced one another. Music videos will be examined alongside various other media forms including videogames, live concert films, film and television music placement and curation, television title sequences and end credits, user generated content on YouTube, remixes, and mashups. The course will take a particular look at experimental, avant-garde film and video traditions and how they inform music video. Ultimately, the course will specifically treat music videos as a distinct multimedia artistic genre, different from film, television and the popular recorded music they illuminate and help sell.

SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:

The course will have a double trajectory: introduce students to the ways in which popular music and visual media have crossed paths to create specific genres/modes of expression that are contextually situated (ie. exist at specific historical moments marked by specific technological and cultural conjunctures), as well as identify the verbal, musical and visual codes –the complex interactions of narrative, settings, props, costumes, lyrics and more-- that combine in music videos to create defining representations of social identities (race, class, gender, sexuality and performance) and ideologies. The course will highlight the industrial, technological and cultural determinants which impact upon the textuality as well as the production and consumption of this form of audiovisual media. In contrast to conventional film musicals, the course will focus on those audiovisual forms where the textual predominance of the musical material is clear, where the texts exist in function of the music. 

LEARNING OUTCOMES:

This course will encourage students to analyze media phenomena in a manner that is theoretically grounded, context-specific, and historically situated, as articulated objects constituted in and through communication. By the end of the course students will be able to engage a variety of critical methodologies for the analysis of music videos and their often-conflicting images, sounds and messages. They will also explore the ways in which the production and reception dynamics of the media process shape meaning. Through readings, discussion, written assignments and screenings students will learn to utilize a number of analytical approaches to the form’s visual and auditory materials and will apply these analytical skills to a wide variety of music influenced media. 

The course will be run as a seminar. Students are highly encouraged to cultivate their own perspectives on the issues raised in the assigned readings, those they encounter as part of their own research and interests and those raised by others during class discussion. There will be regular screenings during class time as well as required viewing outside of the classroom. At least two feature length films will be screened outside of class time. Students are responsible for the materials missed due to unexcused absences.

TEXTBOOK:
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Experiencing Music Video: Aesthetics and Cultural ContextCarol VernallisColumbia University Press978-0231117999  
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
Two Short Papers 10% each
Weekly Reflection 10%
Final Analysis Paper  25%
Midterm 15%
Final Exam 20%
Attendance and Participation 10%

-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

-ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:
ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS AND EXAMINATION POLICY
You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until ____________
ACADEMIC HONESTY
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.

SCHEDULE

Course Schedule:

1.     Introduction to Music Video; Terms and Analysis

Narrative

Reading: EMV, 3 - 53.

2.     Avant-Garde and Experimental Film

Editing

Reading: EMV, 54 - 98.

3.     Concert Films

Video Stars in Music Films/Film Stars in Music Videos

Reading: EMV, 99 - 108.

4.     Video Art and Early MTV

Scopitones, Electronovision and Video Technology Experimentation

Settings, Props, and Costumes

Reading: EMV, 109 - 136.

5.     MTV I

Lyrics and Music

Reading: EMV, 137 - 155

6.     MTV II

Color, Texture, Space, and Time

Reading: EMV, 156 - 174.

7.     MTV III: Auteur Directors, Film Soundtrack Videos, New Country, New New Pop;

Linking Music, Image, and Lyrics

Reading: EMV, 175 - 20 8.

8.     The Digital Revolution: YouTube and User Generated Content

Long Form Music Videos

Reading: Carol Vernallis, “YouTube Aesthetics,” in Unruly Media: YouTube, Music Video, and the New Digital Cinema, (Oxford University Press, 2013).

Cayari, C. (2011). “The YouTube effect: How YouTube has provided new

ways to consume, create, and share music.” International Journal of Education & the Arts, 12(6).

9.     Post - Classical Cinema

Reading: Carol Vernalis, “The Audiovisual Turn and Post - Classical Cinema,” in Unruly Media: YouTube, Music Video, and the New Digital Cinema (Oxford, 20 13), 42 - 68.

10.  Live Concert Videos

Video Games

Reading: D - Fuse, VJ: Audio - Visual Art and V.J. Culture (Laurence King, 2007), 3 - 48.

Karen Collins, “Game Audio Today: Technology, Process, and Aesthetic,” in Game Sound: An Introduction to the History, Theory and Practice of Video Game Music and Sound Design, (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2008), pp. 85 - 106.

11.  Guitar Hero, Performativity, Animation and Virtual Bands

Reading: Kiri Miller, “How Musical is Guitar Hero?, ” in Playing Along: Digital Games, YouTube, and Virtual Performance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 85 - 124.

John Richardson, “The Surrealism of Virtual Band Gorillaz: “Clint Eastwood” and “Feel Good Inc.,” in An Eye for Music: Popular Music and the Audiovisual Surreal, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 201 - 239.

12.  Television Title Sequences, End Credits and Music Placements

Reading: Ramsay Adams, David Hnatiuk, and David Weiss, Music Supervision: Selecting Music for Movies, TV, Games, and New Media ì. New York: Schirmer, 2005.

Jeremy G, Butler, Television: Critical Methods and Applications , 4th Ed., (NY: Routledge, 2012), 325 - 356.

13.  Small Screens, Web. 2.0 and the Future of the Music Video

Reading: Carol Vernallis, “Music Video’s Second Aesthetic?,” in Unruly Media: YouTube, Music Video, and the New Digital Cinema, (Oxford University Press, 2013).

14.  Visual Albums, Celebrity and Social Strategies to Stardom

Screening Event: Tierra Whack, Whack World

Beyoncé, Lemonade

Janelle Monae, Dirty Computer

Frank Ocean, Endless

Selected Bibliography:

 

E. Ann Kaplan, “MTV and the Avant-Garde: The Emergence of a Postmodernist Anti-Aesthetic?,” in Rocking Around the Clock: Music Television, Postmodernism, and Consumer Culture , (New York: Routledge, 1987), 33 - 48

David E. James, The Most Typical Avant-Garde: History and Geography of Minor Cinemas in Los Ang eles, (Berkeley: U.C. Press, 2005), 248 - 281.

Philip Auslander, “Seeing Is Believing: Live Performance and the Discourse of Authenticity in Rock Culture,” Literature and Psychology 44/4 (1998), 1 - 26.

Jack Banks, “The Early Years of Music Video,” in Monopoly Television: MTV’s Quest to Control the Music , (New York: Harper, 1996), 23 - 47.

Andrew Goodwin, “From Anarchy to Chromakey: Developments in Music Television,” in Dancing in the Distraction Factory: Music Television and Popular Culture (Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1992), 24 - 48.

Will Straw, “Popular Music and Postmodernism in the 1980s,” in Sound And Vision: The Music Video Reader , ed. Simon Frith, Andrew Goodwin, and Lawrence Grossberg (London: Routled ge, 1993), 3 - 24.

Saul Austerlitz, Money For Nothing: A History of the Music Video from the Beatles to the White Stripes (NY: Continuum, 2007), 135 - 162.

Cynthia Fuchs, “’I’m from Rags to Riches’: The Death of Jay - Z,” in Medium Cool: Music Videos from Soundies to Cellphones, ed. Roger Beebe and Jeson Middleton (Durham: Duke Univ. Press, 2007), 290 - 302.

Roger Beebe, “Paradoxes of Pastiche: Spike Jonze, Hype Wiliams, and the Race of the Postmodern Auteur,” in Medium Cool: Music Videos from Soundies to Cellphones , 303 - 328.

Carol Vernallis, “YouTube Aesthetics,” in Unruly Media: YouTube, Music Video, and the New Digital Cinema, (Oxford University Press, 2013).

Cayari, C. (2011). “The YouTube effect: How YouTube has provided new

ways to consume, create, and share music.” International Journal of Education & the Arts, 12(6).

Carol Vernalis, “The Audiovisual Turn and Post - Classical Cinema,” in Unruly Media: YouTube, Music Video, and the New Digital Cinema (Oxford, 20 13), 42 - 68.

D - Fuse, VJ: Audio - Visual Art and V.J. Culture (Laurence King, 2007), 3 - 48.

Karen Collins, “Game Audio Today: Technology, Process, and Aesthetic,” in Game Sound: An Introduction to the History, Theory and Practice of Video Game Music and Sound Design, (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2008), pp. 85 - 106.

Kiri Miller, “How Musical is Guitar Hero?, ” in Playing Along: Digital Games, YouTube, and Virtual Performance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 85 - 124.

John Richardson, “The Surrealism of Vi rtual Band Gorillaz: “Clint Eastwood” and “Feel Good Inc.,” in An Eye for Music: Popular Music and the Audiovisual Surreal, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 201 - 239.

Ramsay Adams, David Hnatiuk, and David Weiss, Music Supervision: Selecting Music for Movies, TV, Games, and New Media . New York: Schirmer, 2005.

Carol Vernallis, “Music Video’s Second Aesthetic?,” in Unruly Media: YouTube, Music Video, and the New Digital Cinema , (Oxford University Press, 2013).

Jeremy G, Butler, Television: Critical Methods and Applications , 4th Ed., (NY: Routledge, 2012), 325 - 356.

 

Selected Video/Filmography

(in order of presentation):

Miley Cyrus, “We Can’t Stop” (2013), dir. Diane Martel

Kendrick Lamar, “Swimming Pools” (2012), dir. Jerome D.

Aerosmith, “Crazy” (1993), dir. Marty Callner

Best Coast, “The Only Place” (2012), dir. Ace Norton

Nas, “Daughters” (2012), dir. Chris Robinson

Dixie Chicks, “Goodbye Earl” (2000), dir. Evan Bernard

A Hard Day’s Night (1964, dir. Richard Lester)

Adele, “Rolling in the Deep” (2010), dir. Sam Brown

Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance” (2009), dir. Francis Lawrence

Beyoncé, “Countdown” (2011), dir. Adria Petty

Jay - Z & Kanye West, “Ni** as In Paris” (2012), dir. Kanye West

William K. Dickson/Edison Manufacturing Co., “Dickson Experimental Sound Film” (1894)

Oscar Fischinger, “An Optical Poem” (1938)

James Whitney, “Yantra” (1957)

James Whitney, “Lapis” (1966)

Len Lye, “Swinging in Lambeth Park”

Rene Clair, “Entr’Acte” (1924)

Stan Brakhage, “DogStarMan” (1964 - 5)

Kenneth Anger, “Scorpio Rising” (1964)

Harry Smith, “Abstractions” (1964)

Stan vanDerBeek, “Science Friction” (1966)

Maya Deren, Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)

Justin Timberlake, “Suit & Tie” ft. JAY Z (2013), dir. David Fincher

M.I.A. "Bad Girls" (2013), dir. Romain Gavras

St. Vincent, “Cheerleader” (2011), dir. Hiro Murai

Beach House, "Wishes" – Dr. by Eric Warheim

Miley Cyrus, “Wrecking Ball” (2013) , dir. Terry Richardson

Beach Boys, ‘Good Vibrations” (1966)

The Monkees, “I’m a Believer” (1966)

Don’t Look Back, D.A. Pennebaker (1965)

What’s Happening!: The Beatles in the U.S.A., dir. The Maysles Brothers (1965)

The T.A.M.I. Show, dir. Steve Binder (1964)

The Song Remains The Same, dir. Peter Clifton and Joe Massot (1976)

Rattle and Hum, dir. Phil Joanou (1988)

Gimme Shelter, dir. Albert and David Maysles (1970)

Sympathy for the Devil, dir. Jean - Luc Godard (1969)

Woodstock, dir. Michael Wadleigh et al (1970)

Monterey Pop, dir. D.A. Pennbaker (1968)

The Last Waltz, dir. Martin Scorsese (1978)

Stop Making Sense, dir. Jonathan Demme (1984)

Truth Or Dare (aka In Bed With Madonna), dir. Alex Keshishian (1991)

Prince, Sign O’ The Times (1987)

Beyoncé, Life is But a Dream (2013)

Tommy, dir. Ken Russell (1975)

The Wall, dir. Alan Parker (1982)

Purple Rain, dir. Albert Magnoli (1984)

Rilo Kiley, "Let Me Back In" (2013),

Cat Power, “Manhattan” (2013), dir. Greg Hunt

James Blake, “Overgrown” (2 013), dir. Nabil Elderkin

Drake, “Started From The Bottom” (2013), dir. Director X

Lana Del Rey, “Summertime Sadness” (2012), Dir. Spencer Susser and Kyle Newman

Tim McGraw, “Truck Yeah” (2012), dir. Chris Hickey

The Internet, “Dontcha” (201 3)

Nam June Paik, Global Groove (1970)

Nam June Paik, Good Morning Mr. Orwell (1984)

Foxygen, “San Francisco” (2013), dir. Cameron Dutra

Chamillionaire, “Ridin'” ft. Krayzie Bone

"Weird Al" Yankovic, “White & Nerdy”

The Shining, dir. Stanley Kubrick, Opening credits

Ariel Pink's Haunte d Graffiti, “Only In My Dreams” (2012), dir. Travis Peterson

Danny Brown, "Grown Up" (2012), dir. Greg Brunkalla

Father John Misty, “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” (2013), dir. Noel Paul

RUN-DMC, “Walk This Way” (1993), dir. Jon Small

Michael Jackson, “Thriller” (1983) dir. John Landis

Duran Duran, “Hungry Like The Wolf” (1982), dir. Russell Mulcahy

The Buggles, “Video Killed the Radio Star” (1978), dir. Russell Mulcahy

Michael Jackson, “Billie Jean” (1982), dir. Steve Barron

Herbie Hancock, “Rockit” (1983), dir. Godley and Creme

Frank Ocean, “Pyramids” (2012), dir. Nabil Elderkin

M.I.A., “Galang” (2003), dir. Ruben Fleischer

Minus the Bear, “My Time” (2010), dir. Mike Mohan

Cold Mailm an, “My Recurring Dream” (2013), dir. André Chocron

Toro y Moi, “Say That” (2013), dir. HARRYS

Madonna, “Like a Prayer” (1989), dir. Mary Lambert

Madonna, “Vogue” (1990), dir. David Fincher

Madonna, “Cherish” (1989), dir. Herb Ritts

Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991), dir. Samuel Bayer

Weezer, “Buddy Holly” (1994), dir. Spike Jonze

Portishead, “Glory Box”, dir. Geoff Barrow

Portishead, “All Mine” dir. Marc Bessant (1997)

Nirvana, “In Bloom” (1991), dir. Kevin Kerslake

Pearl Jam, “Jeremy” (1992), dir. Mark Pellington

Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Under the Bridge” (1992), dir. Gus Van Sant

Nine Inch Nails, “Closer” (1994), dir. Mark Romanek

Beck, “Loser” (1993), dir. Steve Hanft

Public Enemy, “911 is a Joke” (1990)

M.C. Hammer, “U Can’t Touch This” (1990), dir. Rupert Wainwright

Dr. Dre, “Nothin But a G-Thang” (1992), dir. Dr. Dre

The Notorious B.I.G. “Juicy” (1994)

Justin Timberlake, “Suit and Tie” Feat. Jay - Z (2013), dir. David Fincher

Madonna, “Cherish” (1989), dir. Herb Ritts

Dirty Projectors, “Hi Custodian”

Aphex Twin, “Come To Daddy” (1997), dir. Chris Cunningham

Aphex Twin, “Windowlicker” (1999), dir. Chris Cunningham

Beastie Boys, “Sabotage” (1994), dir. Spike Jonze

No Doubt, “Spiderwebs” (1995), dir. Marcus Nispel

Garbage, “Stupid Girl” (1995), dir. Samuel Bayer

Johnny Cash, “Hurt” (1994), Dir. Mark Romanek

Missy Elliot, “The Rain [Supa Dupa Fly]” dir. Hype Williams

Pink, Mya and Missy Elliot, “Lady Marmalade,” (2001), dir. Paul Hunter

Bryan Adams, “[Everything I do] I do it for you”

Whitney Houston, “I Will Always Love You”

Celine Dion, “My Heart Will Go On”

Garth Brooks, “The Dance”

Britney Spears, “Toxic”

Eminem, “The Real Slim Shady”

Christina Aguilera, “Hurt”

Beyoncé, “Single Ladies”

“Gizmo Flushes” (2006)

Tay Zonday, “Chocolate Rain” (2007)

Liam Kyle Sullivan, “Shoes” (2007)

Judson Laipply, “Evolution of Dance” (2006)

Weezer, “Pork and Beans” (2009)

Aqua, “Barbie Girl” (1997)

Gorillaz, “Clint Eastwood”

Gorilaz, “Feel Good, Inc.”

“Me at the Zoo” (2005)

“Badgers” (2009)

“The Sneezing Baby Panda” (2006)

Me @ The Zoo, dir. Chris Moukarbel and Valerie Veatch (2 012)

Video Out: The Religion is the Signal, dir. Meredith Finkelstein and Paul Vlachos (2005)

Moulin Rouge, dir. Baz Luhrmann (2001)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, dir. Michael Gondry (2004)

                                                                                                                                                      

Kanye West, “Runaway”

Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE”

Kendrick Lamar, “DNA”

The Carters, “APE**IT”

Childish Gambino, “This Is America”

Drake, “God’s Plan”

Drake, “Nice For What”

Drake, “In My Feelings”

SZA, “Supermodel”

Rihanna, “Work”

Rihanna, “Bitch Better Have My Money”

Kanye West, “Monster”

Kanye West, “Famous”

Tierra Whack, Whack World

Beyoncé, Lemonade

Janelle Monae, Dirty Computer

Frank Ocean, Endless