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Heavy Metal Music in Contemporary History and Society

Tuition fee


EARLY BIRD prices valid until 28.2.2017
NORMAL prices after 28.2.2017

Expenses for Special Courses
Environmental Impacts of catchment from Headwaters to the Sea, expenses 1 140,00 €
Introduction to Modern Atmospheric Science I 190,00 €

More information 



This course explores the development of the popular music style of Heavy Metal. The primary focus will be on the history of the genre and its importance in contemporary western society. Much attention will be on Finland, where HM is particularly successful and characterises musical culture more than in other European or non-European countries.

Learning objectives

The students will appreciate the importance of Heavy Metal music in western musical culture, its historical development and the characteristics of the subculture related to the music. This subculture is particularly strong in Finland, and Finnish HM is recognised worldwide as a key manifestation of this musical style. The students will also achieve competences in music critique, musical theory, the sociology of music, music semiotics and cultural studies. Furthermore, the course gives them a solid basis to critically understand popular music genres other than HM.

Course format and teaching methods

Lectures, multimedia material (musical examples, films, documentaries), workshop/seminar activities, group discussions. Classes take place five days a week, from Monday to Friday.

During the lectures (provisionally 9.00–11.00), the teacher addresses the history of HM and its interaction with society and other fields of culture. The teaching methods are:

*Reading and commenting on course material (e.g. books, articles), or commenting on previously assigned readings. *Viewing/listening and commenting on multimedia material. *After the lunch break, the course continues with workshop/seminar activities focused on group work (provisionally at 12.00–14.00). This includes: *Analysis of readings and audio/video examples about specific topics proposed by the teacher. The group work results in writings or slide presentations to be discussed in front of the class. Assignments outside the classes are meant to be worked on mainly in teams. *Some seminar meetings with musicians or experts in the field of HM studies (see ‘Lecturers and teachers’). *Once/twice (max.): attendance in the evening at a medium/major HM concert. This is subject to events taking place in Helsinki at the time and on the ticket price (roughly €15–30).

Target students

The course aims to be as multidisciplinary as possible, encouraging collaboration between students from different academic backgrounds. The ideal candidates are advanced Bachelor’s or Master’s students of musical practice, musicology, social studies, history, semiotics, cultural studies, anthropology, philosophy, psychology, language studies, gender studies and pedagogy. Familiarity with music theory is considered an asset, but it is not mandatory. The teaching methods involve team-working within the class, so that single disciplinary gaps can be amended by cooperation. The course will be divided into groups of 4–6 students at the beginning of the course, so that the groups will have a range of competences.


Mr. Paolo Ribaldini, paolo.ribaldini(at)
You may contact the course coordinator with questions concerning the course content.

With any other questions concerning Helsinki Summer Schoool or the application process, please contact

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Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States