Ned Rorem, an American composer in the neotonal idiom (like Samuel Barber), was trained at Northwestern, Curtis, and Juilliard and studied with Nadia Boulanger. Granted, Ned Rorem is a known polemicist, but this quote nevertheless is representative of the attitude toward pop music in the academy until relatively recently.
Popular music studies have thankfully become an accepted subdiscipline of musicology in the past few decades. Analysts now have several techniques to uncover musical nuance and depth that could otherwise go unrecognized. In this class, we will take a magnifying glass to a repertoire that, while often designed to be enjoyed superficially, is nevertheless rewarding to consider deeply.