This course explores the development of the popular music style of Heavy Metal. The primary focus will be on the musical elements of the genre, its historical features and its relation to contemporary Western society. The final part of the course will focus on Finland, where HM is particularly successful and characterises musical culture more than in other European or non-European countries.
The students will appreciate the importance of heavy metal music in Western musical culture, its historical development and the characteristics of the subculture related to the music. This subculture is particularly strong in Finland, and Finnish HM is recognised worldwide as a key manifestation of this musical style. The students will also achieve competences in music theory, sociology of music, music semiotics and cultural studies. Furthermore, the course gives them a solid basis to critically understand popular music genres other than HM.
COURSE FORMAT AND TEACHING METHODS
Lectures, multimedia material (musical examples, films, documentaries), workshop/seminar activities, group discussions. Classes take place five days a week, from Monday to Friday.
During the lectures (provisionally 9.00–11.00), the teacher discusses the history of HM and its interaction with society and other fields of culture. The teaching methods are:
- Reading and commenting on course material (e.g., books, articles), or commenting on previously assigned readings.
- Viewing/listening and commenting on multimedia material.
- Class discussion.
After the lunch break, the course continues with workshop/seminar activities focused on group work (provisionally at 12.00–14.00). This includes:
- Analysis of readings and audio/video examples about specific topics proposed by the teacher. The group work results in writing or slide presentations that will be discussed in front of the class. Assignments outside the classes are meant to be worked on mainly in teams.
- Seminar meetings with musicians or experts in the field of HM studies (see ‘Lecturers and teachers’).
- Screening of the documentary film series 'The Pioneers of LA Hard Rock & Metal' and 'The LA Metal Scene Explodes', kindly provided by Mr Bob Nalbandian.
- Once/twice (max.): attendance in the evening at a medium/major HM concert. This is subject to events taking place in Helsinki at the time and on the ticket price (roughly €15–30).
MEANS AND CRITERIA OF ASSESSMENT
Final grades will be assessed by a written exam on the last day of the course. Active participation in classes and discussions will also be highly considered.