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Liverpool Hope University to offer Beatles degree

Liverpool -- 3rd March 2009 -- A brand new MA in The Beatles, Popular Music and Society has been launched at Liverpool Hope University and is the first MA of its kind in the World.

The new course, which can be studied both full- and part-time, covers four modules with specific issues relating to The Beatles and Popular Music, consisting of four 12-week taught modules plus a dissertation.

Mike Brocken, Senior Lecturer in Popular Music at Liverpool Hope University said: "There have been over 8000 books about The Beatles but there has never been serious academic study and that is what we are going to address.

The Beatles influenced so much of society, not just with their music, but also with fashion from their collar-less jackets to their psychedelic clothes.

Their output covered a huge range from the black and white film 'A Hard Day's Night' to Strawberry Fields Forever which was accompanied by arguably the first pop video.

Forty years on, now is the right time and Liverpool is the right place to study The Beatles. This Beatles MA is expected to attract a great deal of attention, not just locally, but nationally and we have already had enquires from abroad, particularly the United States."

The one-year full time course will cover not just The Beatles but popular music in general and its effect on society since the sixties.

The first module introduces methods and approaches of how we go about studying popular music and is linked to a specific text that is recommended to students, Longhurst - Popular Music and Society. This module then focuses down on several short Beatles-related issues that can be covered by some of Longhurst's text - issues such as covering and authenticity, locality, the music industry of the post-war era, and subcultures.

The second module discusses Liverpool in the immediately pre and then post wwii eras and how various social and musical issues fed into the early Merseybeat & Beatles profiles. It will also discuss the politics of place and focus on venues in and around Merseyside, genres, class and suburbia.

The third module looks at the studio sound and compositions of the Beatles and will bring in popular music semiotics. There will be an opportunity in this module to present a case study of one song and this will be linked to a performance if the student so wishes, otherwise assessment via a presentation and written work will be acceptable.

The final module deals with social anthropology and ethonography of the Beatles and gives the student the opportunity to get out and interview people with a presentation and report to submit. Students may wish to study some local musicians or media or even the local industry that has now set up to capitalise on the group.

Published March 3, 2009

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