Spanish through Latin American Music

Course details

From £205.00
10 CATS points

23 Jan 2019 - 27 Mar 2019
Day of week

Spanish through Latin American Music


This course is a musical journey through the social, political and cultural aspects of some ofthe most popular Latin American (and Spanish) genres.

Discover the depths of Latin culture and broaden your understanding of the intricacies and beauties of the Spanish language through this course in Latin American and Spanish music. We will listen to and discuss music from across all of Latin America, including the famous Boleros, the Mexican Mariachi, Tango, Salsa and more. We will even look at how music relates to the political and social challenges faced across the decades in Latin America, considering the ballads composed in the sub-genre known as Narcomusic. The course will progress towards a final consideration of modern musical tastes across Latin America.

The class will focus on broadening listening and speaking skills, and enhance students' understanding of the poetic depths of the Spanish language and its tonal musicality. The course is aimed at students of intermediate proficiency of Spanish who wish to improve their fluency and familiarise themselves with a broad range of Latin American music.

Programme details

Term starts: 23rd January

Week 1: Introduction to the course. Music across Latin America.

Week 2: Boleros: Agustín Lara, Toña la Negra, Los Panchos.

Week 3: Mariachi: amor a la mexicana.

Week 4: Tango.

Week 5: De mambo, rumba y salsa.

Week 6: Paquita y Chava Flores.

Week 7: Trova: bringing romance to politics.

Week 8: Corridos and narcomusic.

Week 9: Modern music around Latin America.

Week 10: Modern Music around Latin America II.

Background Reading:

Edberg, M. C., El narcotraficante [electronic resource] : narcocorridos and the construction of a cultural persona on the U.S.-Mexico border

Madrid, L. A. (, Danzon : circum-Caribbean dialogues in music and dance [electronic resource]

Morales, E., The Latin beat [electronic resource] : the rhythms and roots of Latin music from bossa nova to salsa and beyond

Olsen, dale., The Garland Handbook of Latin American Music

If you are planning to purchase books, remember that courses with too few students enrolled will be cancelled. The Department accepts no responsibility for books bought in anticipation of a course.

If you have enrolled on a course starting in the autumn, you can become a borrowing member of the Rewley House library from 1st September and we will try to ensure that as many titles as possible are available in the Library by the start of each term. If you are enrolled on a course starting in other terms, you can become a borrowing member once the previous term has ended.

Recommended reading

All weekly class students may become borrowing members of the Rewley House Continuing Education Library for the duration of their course. Prospective students whose courses have not yet started are welcome to use the Library for reference. More information can be found on the Library website.

There is a Guide for Weekly Class students which will give you further information. 

Availability of titles on the reading list (below) can be checked on SOLO, the library catalogue.

Recommended Reading List


Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from between January 1st and July 31st after the current academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.


Course Fee: £205.00
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00


Dr Lorena Nessi

Lorena Nessi PhD is a Swiss Mexican journalist, researcher, and cultural sociologist. Her Bachelor's was in International Relations, Master’s degree in Globalization, Identity and Technology, and PhD in Communication, Sociology and Digital Cultures.

Course aims

The aim of the course is to improve Spanish language skills through the exploration of popular Latin American and Spanish music.

Course Objectives:

1. To explore and interpret the music and lyrics of some of the most popular Latin American (and Spanish) musicians.

2. To analyse different Latin American and Spanish musical genres enhancing Spanish language proficiency.

Teaching methods

Each class will include presentations which may make use of PowerPoint and sound clips. Informal conversations and debate will be used to discuss and explore the symbols and meanings behind the music and the rhythms and students will be encouraged to contribute to group activities such as presentations, games, debate and conversations.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

1. be able to appreciate and analyse Latin American music and rhythms;

2. discuss music in Spanish; and

3. gain an insight into Latin American culture and its use of Spanish language.

Assessment methods

Students will be assessed on one 1500 word essay on one of music genres seen in the course, written in Spanish. An optional writing task of 500 words will also be given in week 5 so that students can benefit from tutor feedback in advance of the formal assessment.

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form.


To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.