MUEL 2752 Music in American Culture

About the Course

This course provides an overview of musical terms and elements to understand how to listen to, and analyze, music. With a basic understanding of composition, the course will examine colonial, African, Minstrel, blues, jazz, rock and roll, and other music styles and influences in American culture.


  • Develop sensual, expressive, and musical listening abilities
  • Identify musical influences between styles
  • Understand the cultural atmosphere around which music styles developed
  • Understand different music styles’ contribution to American culture

Grade Breakdown

Students will complete entries in their listening journals that pertain to the listening examples covered in the reading (first collection 5%, second collection 15%), writing assignments pertaining to the chapters (30% of the grade), and a composer promotion packet project (15%). There will also be a longer research paper (8-10 pages) (3% proposal, 12% research paper) and two midterms (10% and 10%).

  • Listening Journals – 20%
  • Written Assignments – 30%
  • Composer Promotion Packet – 15%
  • Final Research Paper – 15%
  • Two Midterms – 20%

Required Text

  • Textbook: An Introduction to America’s Music by Richard Crawford
  • CD Set: America’s Music recordings (3-CD set)
  • Supplementary readings can be downloaded from CULearn.

Instructor Contact

Email: Trudi.Wright@Colorado.EDU

Trudi Wright earned her PhD in musicology at the University of Colorado in 2010 and holds her masters and bachelors degrees in music history from Bowling Green State University (2001) and SUNY Geneseo (1998), respectively. She has presented research based on her dissertation, “Labor Takes the Stage: A Musical and Social Analysis of Pins and Needles (1937-1941)” at the national meetings of the Society for American Music and College Music Society. She has two musical theater articles in press for Encyclopedia of African American Music (Greenwood Press) and The Grove Dictionary of American Music, second edition (Oxford University Press). In 2010 she was awarded an educational grant from the College Music Society to continue her community outreach program in sacred music history for adults in the Denver Metro Area. Wright is currently an affiliate faculty member at Metropolitan State College of Denver and Arapahoe Community College, and teaches online American music courses for the University of Colorado.

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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado