loader image

Looking at the Contents in AmPopMusic Study Units

AmPopMusic is divided into nine separate “Study Units”: eight units centering on the birth and history of musical genres pivotal in American musical culture, and one “preparatory” unit – “Understanding Music”. 

Though many students enter the study with some previous musical background, for those who are unfamiliar with concepts such as “pitch”, “harmony”, “instrumentation”, “structure”, or “tempo”, this first AmPopMusic Study Unit can be incredibly helpful to get a grasp on the concepts and terminology common to all music – certainly those permeating American culture.

While any of the other eight Study Units in AmPopMusic can be studied independent of one another, and technically in any order chosen by a teacher, there is benefit to follow the “19th Century” through “Rap & Hip-Hop” – Study Units #2 through #8 in a specific order. 

Each of the Study Units in AmPopMusic contains reading chapters, audio playdecks, video examples, study questions, and quizzes specifically organized in chronological historic order.

AmPopMusic Study Unit Thumbnails

AmPopMusic Study Units

    • What is pitch?
    • What is rhythm (pulse)?
    • What is volume?
    • What is tone?
    • What is melody?
    • What is counter-melody?
    • What is harmony?
    • What is bass?
    • What is rhythm?
    • Comparing the 5 layers in different styles of music
    • What is structure?
    • What is instrumentation?
    • Listening to the instruments
    • What is tempo?
  • 19th Century American Popular, Classical and Folk Music
  • Stephen Foster: Father of American Popular Music
  • Scott Joplin: King of Ragtime
  • John Philip Sousa: Moving Into the Modern Era – Marches & Copyright Law
  • John Lomax: Recording the Roots
  • Woody Guthrie: Father of American Folk Music
  • Leadbelly & Pete Seeger: End of the First Wave
  • The Kingston Trio: Buying Back America’s Trust
  • Joan Baez: First Lady of American Folk Music
  • Peter, Paul & Mary: Balancing the Message
  • Bob Dylan: The Prophet Who Left His People
  • Conclusion: Folk Music Redefined for Today
  • Hillbilly to Early Country: Backwoods to the Radio
  • Cowboys & Western Swing
  • Honky-tonk & Bluegrass
  • Rockabilly & the Nashville Sound
  • Country Feminists Find Their Voice
  • Bakersfield & Austin “Outlaw”: Electric Guitar & a Beat
  • Neo-Traditionalists & Contemporary Country
  • Country & Western Music in the 21st Century
  • What makes it “Jazz”?
  • Beginnings: Before it was “Jass”
  • New Orleans: Jazz is Born!
  • Early Jazz Musicians
  • Louis Armstrong: “Father of Modern Jazz”
  • Chicago: Jazz Hub of the 1920’s
  • Big Band: Jazz Swings!
  • Big Band Musicians & Singers
  • Jump & Bop: Jazz Radical
  • Cool Jazz: Complex & Aloof
  • Hard Bop: Here We Bop Again!
  • Free Jazz: Breaking the Rules
  • Fusion: The “Jazz-Rock-Funk” Experience
  • Third Stream and World Jazz
  • New Age and Smooth Jazz
  • Summary: Jazz Lives!
  • Introduction: Grand-daddy Blues
  • Where Did the Blues Come From?
  • What are the Blues?
  • How to Build the Blues
  • Delta & Classic Blues: The Early Years
  • Blues in the City: The Middle Years
  • British Blues: The Renaissance
  • Contemporary Blues: Maturity and Respect
  • Conclusion: The Relevancy of the Blues Today

The 1950’s

  • Starting Points: Timelines, Cultures, Styles & Technology
  • Pre-Rock: Influences from Jazz, Blues, Country & Gospel
  • Rock is Born: Renegades of a New Sound
  • The New Sound is Named: “Rock ‘n’ Roll”
  • Doo-Wop: From the Streets to the Studio
  • The Commercialization of Rock ‘n’ Roll


The 1960’s

  • Crafting Rock ‘n’ Roll in the Studio: Producers & Hit Songs
  • West Coast Sound: Beach, Surf & Teens
  • Two Prongs of the British Invasion: Pop-Rock & Blues-Rock
  • Motown: Developing the Black Pop-Rock Sound
  • Soul: Gospel and R&B in the Deep South
  • Bubble-Gum Rock: The Sounds of Teenybopper Pop-Rock
  • Folk-Rock of the Mid-1960’s
  • Psychedelic Rock: Soundtrack for the Drug Trip
  • Guitar Legends of ‘60’s Rock
  • The ‘60’s Rock Festivals
  • Anti-Woodstock & Shock-Rock Movements


The 1970’s

  • Country-Rock & Southern Rock: Updated Roots Music
  • Jazz-Rock & Rock-Jazz
  • Art-Rock: Rising Above Commercialism
  • Glam-Rock: Costumes, Make-up & Androgynes
  • Heavy Metal and Hard Rock of the ‘70’s and ‘80’s
  • Singer-Songwriters: Rock Minimized
  • Soft Rock: ‘70’s Rock Commercialized
  • Funk: Rock With An Updated Groove
  • Disco: Dancing Beats and Mirror Balls
  • Punk: Three Chords and An Attitude
  • Technological Breakthroughs
  • Electronic Dance Music
  • Hip-hop & Rap: An Introduction
  • Old School Rap: Characteristics and Pioneers
  • Rap’s Golden Age: Characteristics and Pioneers
  • East Coast – Political Rap: Characteristics & Pioneers
  • West Coast – Gangsta Rap: Characteristics & Pioneers
  • Pop and Party Rap: Characteristics and Pioneers
  • Alternative and Jazz-Rap: Characteristics and Pioneers
  • The Importance of Rap
  • Musical Stage Productions in the 18th Century America
  • Minstrel Shows and Melodramas
  • 19th Century: Extravaganzas, Spectacles, Burlesque, and Vaudeville
  • Early 20th Century: Revues and Operettas
  • The Arrival of the Modern American Musical
  • Partnerships in Book-Musicals
  • Musical Theatre in the jmid-20th Century
  • Fresh Voices on the Stage in the 1960s
  • Two Dominant Forces at the end of the 20th Century
  • New Voices at the end of the 20th Century
  • New Sounds, New Ideas, New Century
Scroll to Top
Watch and Learn

Audio/Video Room


Study Units

An Overview

Ch. 1: Understanding Pitch

Ch. 2: Understanding Musical Pulse

Ch. 3: Understanding Volume

Ch. 4: Understanding Tone

Ch. 5: Understanding Melody

Ch. 6: Understanding Harmony

Ch. 7: Understanding Rhythm

Ch. 8: Understanding Bass

Ch. 9: Understanding Countermelody

Ch. 10: Understanding Structure

Ch. 11: Understanding Instrumentation

Ch. 12: Understanding Tempo

An Overview

Ch. 1: 19th Century: Pre-Foster

Ch. 2: Folk Music by the People

Ch. 3: Popular Music in its Infancy

Ch. 4: Stephen Foster – “Father of American Popular Music”

Ch. 5: The Importance of Stephen Foster

Ch. 6: Scott Joplin – “King of Ragtime”

Ch. 7: The Player Piano – Automated Music

Ch. 8: John Philip Sousa – “The March King”

Ch. 9: John Philip Sousa – Recording Artist and Activist

An Overview

Ch. 1: John Lomax – Recording American Roots Music

Ch. 2: Woody Guthrie – “Father of Modern American Folk Music”

Ch. 3: Leadbelly & Pete Seeger: End of the First Wave

Ch. 4: The Kingston Trio – Beginning of the Second Wave

Ch. 5: Joan Baez – “First Lady of Folk Music”

Ch. 6: Peter, Paul & Mary – Balancing the Message

Ch. 7: Robert Zimmerman – The Beginning of an American Icon

Ch. 8: Dylan in New York City

Ch. 9: Dylan after Newport

Ch. 10: The Importance of Dylan

Ch. 11: Folk Music in the 21st Century

An Overview

Ch. 1: The Roots of Country

Ch. 2: Bristol Beginnings

Ch. 3: The Grand Ole Opry

Ch. 4: Cowboys and the Movies

Ch. 5: Western Swing

Ch. 6: Bluegrass: Hillbilly on Caffeine

Ch. 7: Honky-tonk: Merging Two into One

Ch. 8: The Nashville Sound: Country-Pop

Ch. 9: Rockabilly – Country meets R&B

Ch. 10: Country Feminists Find Their Voice

Ch. 11: The Bakersfield Sound

Ch. 12: Austin “Outlaw” Country

Ch. 13: Neo-Traditionalists at the end of the 20th Century

Ch. 14: Mainstreaming Country in the ‘90s

Ch. 15: Redesigning Country in the 21st Century

An Overview

Ch. 1: What is Jazz?

Ch. 2: Before It Was Jazz

Ch. 3: Jazz is Born!

Ch. 4: Early Jazz Musicians

Ch. 5: Louis Armstrong

Ch. 6: Chicago and Harlem – Hub of 1920s Jazz

Ch. 7: Big Band – Jazz Swing!

Ch. 8: Big Band Musicians and Singers

Ch. 9: Jump Blues and Bop

Ch. 10: Cool Jazz

Ch. 11: Hard Bop

Ch. 12: Free Jazz – Breaking the Rules

Ch. 13: Fusion – The Jazz-Rock-Funk Experience

Ch. 14: Third Stream and World Jazz

Ch. 15: New Age & Smooth Jazz

Ch. 16: Summary – Jazz Lives!

An Overview

Ch. 1: Blues – The Granddaddy of American Popular Music

Ch. 2: Where Did the Blues Come From?

Ch. 3: What Are the Blues?

Ch. 4: How to Build the Blues

Ch. 5: Classic Blues – The Early Years

Ch. 6: Delta Blues – Authentic Beginnings

Ch. 7: Blues in the City – Migration and Power

Ch. 8: Blues in Britain – Redefining the Masters

Ch. 9: Contemporary Blues – Maturity and Respect

Ch. 10: The Relevancy of the Blues Today

Ch. 1: Timelines, Cultures & Technology

Ch. 2: Pre-Rock Influences

Ch. 3: Rock is Born!

Ch. 4: Rock is Named

Ch. 5: Doo-Wop

Ch. 6: Independent Record Labels

Ch. 7: Technology Shapes Rock ‘n’ Roll

Ch. 8: The Plan to Mainstream Rock ‘n’ Roll

Ch. 9: Payola – Rock ‘n’ Roll’s First Scandal

Ch. 1: Crafting Sound in the Studio/Producers and Hit Songs

Ch. 2: West Coast Sound: Beach, Surf, and Teens

Ch. 3: The British Invasion: Two Prongs – Pop & Blues

Ch. 4: Motown and the Development of a Black Pop-Rock Sound

Ch. 5: Soul Music: Gospel and R&B in the Deep South

Ch. 6: The Sounds of Bubble Gum Pop-Rock

Ch. 7: The Arrival of Folk-Rock

Ch. 8: Psychedelic Rock ‘n’ Roll

Ch. 9: Early Guitar Gods of Rock

Ch. 10: Rock Festivals: The Rise and Fall of Music, Peace, and Love

Ch. 11: Anti-Woodstock and Shock Rock Movements

Ch. 1: Technological Breakthroughs

Ch. 2: Electronic Dance Music

Ch. 3: Hip-Hop & Rap – An Introduction

Ch. 4: The Beginnings of Rap

Ch. 5: Old School Rap – Up From the Streets

Ch. 6: Rap’s Golden Age

Ch. 7: East Coast – Political Rap

Ch. 8: West Coast – Gangsta Rap

Ch. 9: The Fragmentation of Rap – Pop, Party & More

Ch. 10: Further Fragmentation – Different Directions

Ch. 11: The Importance of Rap

Ch. 1: Musical Stage Productions in America before the 1800s

Ch. 2: Minstrel Shows and Melodramas

Ch. 3: Stage Presentations in the Late 19th Century

Ch. 4: Early 20th Century: Revues and Operettas

Ch. 5: The Arrival of the Modern American Musical

Ch. 6: Great Partnerships in Book-Musicals

Ch. 7: Musical Theatre Composers in the mid-Century

Ch. 8: Fresh Voices on the Stage in the 1960s

Ch. 9: Two Dominant Forces at the End of the Century

Ch. 10: New Voices at the End of the Century

Ch. 11: New Voices, New Sounds in the New Century

Ch. 12: Musical Theatre Glossary

Ch. 13: Is it “Theatre” or “Theater”?

Study Units also have “Playdecks” – containing hundreds of chronologically organized audio examples of music in the study units, and “Study Qs” for unit chapters.

Study and Test

Testing Library

Contact Form