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Unit of study_

MUSC2672: Australian Popular Music

The history of Australian popular music presents us with a long and complex heritage. It reflects, in its very constitution, the lives of those who create it and is underscored by the dynamic relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia. This unit of study will explore the continuing experience and influence of a wide range of music made in Australia, from songlines to bush ballads and dance anthems, Countdown and Rage. We will examine the folk revival of the 50s, pub rock of the 70s, reggae, punk and indie rock of the 80s and 90s as well as the emergence of the multiplicity of styles and expressions that mark the contemporary Australian music scene.


Academic unit Arts Music
Unit code MUSC2672
Unit name Australian Popular Music
Session, year
Semester 2, 2020
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

18 junior credit points.
Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Toby Martin,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Small continuous assessment Tutorial presentation and participation
25% Ongoing 1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO2
Assignment Essay
25% Week 08 1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Assignment group assignment Local music ethnography and/or history
Written assessment
50% Week 12 3000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
group assignment = group assignment ?
  • Tutorial presentation and participation: Students will be assessed on their preparation and participation in tutorials. Tutors will facilitate whole-class debates with assigned teams.
  • Essay: Students will describe one Australian music ‘scene’, referring to relevant academic texts. The essay will consider sound, visual identity, location and audience.
  • Local music ethnography and/or history: Students will choose one local Sydney music ‘scene’ and conduct fieldwork or archival research. Students will describe the sound, visual identity, location and audience of that ‘scene’, or, students might include using original documents to trace a history of a particular music scene.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The following assessment criteria are used for written work in this unit of study:

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Demonstrates high level of initiative in research and reading; sophisticated critical analysis of evidence; high level engagement with theoretical issues, innovative use of reading/research material and impressive command of underlying debates and assumptions; properly documented and written with style, originality and precision.


75 - 84

Demonstrates initiative in research and wide, appropriate reading; complex understanding of question and ability to critically review material in relation to underlying assumptions and values; analyses material in relation to empirical and theoretical contexts; properly documented; clear, well-developed structure and argument with some signs of literary style.


65 - 74

Evidence of broader understanding than pass level; offers synthesis with some critical evaluation of material; coherent argument using a range of relevant evidence; some evidence of independent thought, good referencing. A high credit (70-74) shows some evidence of ability to problematise and think conceptually.


50 - 64

Written work meets basic requirements in terms of reading/research; relevant material; tendency to descriptive summary rather than critical argument; makes a reasonable attempt to avoid paraphrasing; reasonably coherent structure; often has weaknesses in particular areas, especially in terms of narrow or underdeveloped treatment of question; acceptable documentation.


0 - 49

Work may fail for any or all of the following reasons: Unacceptable paraphrasing; irrelevance of content; poor spelling; poor presentation; grammar or structure so sloppy it cannot be understood; failure to demonstrate understanding of content; insufficient or overlong word length.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction and ethnographic methods Lecture and tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 02 Country and hillbilly Lecture and tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 03 Dance Lecture and tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 04 Pub rock and metal Lecture and tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 05 Indigenous music Lecture and tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 06 Number ones Lecture and tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 07 Australia and the world Lecture and tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 08 Hip-hop Lecture and tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 09 Indie and alternative Lecture and tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 10 Surf Rock Block teaching (2 hr) LO1 LO3
Week 11 The ripple effect of women in Arnhem Land music Lecture and tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 12 Review Lecture and tutorial (2 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: Full (100 per cent) and punctual attendance is a requirement in all activities where students have a role as active participants in the class or activity. Active participation includes situations where the student's contribution is to perform, rehearse or direct rehearsals in a small or large ensemble, or to give seminar and tutorial papers or presentations or undertake assessment tasks. Active participation also includes all one-to-one studio teaching and supervision. Except in cases of illness or misadventure, failure to attend activities or classes where a student is an active participant will be seen as failure to meet the requirements of the unit of study.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate understandings of diverse forms of contemporary music and audiences, and how to analyse and write about them
  • LO2. reflect critically on your own music perception and that of your peers
  • LO3. apply research skills to present analysis of diverse forms of contemporary music.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities


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