Classical (art) Music

The research paper assignment is due on May 10, 2020, 11:59 p.m. (CDT) and it requires research and appropriate academic writing style. The paper must be a minimum of 1200 words (up to 1500 words) in length and must use at least 5 appropriate sources. A paper proposal due date is April 26. Please use Microsoft Word ONLY. Otherwise, it will not be graded properly. Please contact me if you need additional help and guidance.

Topic: Classical (art) Music
Due Date: May 10, 2020 11:59 p.m. (CDT)

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A. Choose a piece of music that:

is categorized as classical (art) music from anywhere in the world such as symphonic music (Western classical music), bebop (jazz), Hindustani classical music, Gamelan (Indonesian classical music), Chinese guzheng music, etc.
contains mainly acoustic instruments (electric instruments are fine as long as they are performed by humans and not computer-programmed.)
is performed solo or in an ensemble. For example, piano sonata, symphony, big band, etc.
is either composed, improvised, or both
is at least 3 minutes long (*deficient in length will be deducted 1 point per 10 seconds.**An extended version of a short musical piece is not acceptable)
Some helpful online sources:,,,,,, etc.
B. Submit Paper Proposal (5 points): The paper WILL NOT be accepted unless your musical selection is approved by me. You must submit your proposal to the paper proposal dropbox folder “Paper Proposal” no later than April 26, 2020, 11:59 p.m. for full credit. Please include

The name of the composition
The name of composer(s)/performer(s)
The genre of the music (for example, not just “Western classical music”, but be specific “violin concerto”)
Length of the music
A link to the music where I can have access to listen to
C. Research and include the following information

1. The Music:

essential background information about the music; who wrote it, what kind of genre this is (be specific such as a symphony or piano sonata. “Classical music” is not enough),
interesting stories behind the composing process,
any famous performers for this composition, etc.
2. The Composer(s)/performer(s):

essential background information about the composer(s)/performer(s) such as birth date, main achievements (awards, famous compositions, etc),
the relationship between the composer(s) and performer(s),
any other interesting stories about them.
4. The Style Analysis of the Music:

analyze and describe how the musical elements contribute to express a message or fulfill a function of this musical selection using the musical terms learned from the readings.
The analysis must include discussion of the message, function, or purpose of the music, and the following musical elements: melody, harmony, rhythm, form, texture, timbre, and dynamics.
Use the following questions as guidelines to describe the details of the musical elements in this music and include specific musical excerpts with time markings (i.e. trumpet solo 2:40-3:10) from the recording.
a. Message, Function, or Purpose of the Music

What is the message behind this musical selection?
And/or what is a social or religious function of this music?
Which musical elements (rhythm, texture, timbre, instrumentation, melody, form, or harmony) mainly seem to contribute to that message or function?
b. Melody

Describe the characteristics of the main melody or theme.
Which instruments (including voice) carry the main melody and other supporting or counter melodies if there are any?
Is the main melody tuneful and conjunct or disjunct, lyrical, rhythmic, etc?
What is the register of the melody, high, low, or middle, etc?
Are there any recognizable motives or themes in the melody that recur over time?
What is the scale this melody is based on – major, minor, pentatonic, etc.?
How does the melody portray the message or function of this music that you described above?
Make sure to provide specific excerpts from the recording using the time marking to get a higher grade.
c. Rhythm

Describe the overall rhythmic characteristics of this musical selection including meter, tempo, rhythmic patterns, etc.
How would you describe the meter, simple duple, triple, or another type of compound meter? What is bpm (beats per minute) of this music and is it fast, medium, or slow?
If there are any tempo changes, what do you think the tempo changes do to this music?
What distinct rhythmic characteristics are being used (E.g., strong downbeats, strong syncopation, swing, shuffle, etc), and how significant is it for this music?
Which instrument(s) provide(s) the basic beat, for example, drum, bass, strings, or piano, etc? How would you describe the beat pattern, clear, floating, simple, complex, etc?
Make sure to provide specific excerpts from the recording using the time marking to get a higher grade.
d. Harmony

Describe the harmonic aspects of this music including the key, harmonic progression, modulation, etc.
What key is this musical selection in, major, minor, both, or neither?
If there are any key changes, what do you think of the effect of the key changes?
How would you describe the harmonic progression (chord progression) of this music?
Is it creating a sense of forwarding motion or rather sounding static?
Which instrument(s) mainly provide the harmony (piano, guitar, strings, vocals, etc)?
How important is the harmonic aspect of this music to its message or function?
Make sure to provide specific excerpts from the recording using the time marking to get a higher grade.
e. Form

Describe the form of this music such as 12 bar blues, 32 bar aaba, sonata, rondo, etc.
What type of form do you recognize in this musical selection?
Does it follow specific forms such as 12-bar blues, 32 bar (aaba), or, sonata, rondo, or through-composed?
How does the overall form contribute to the message or function of this music?
How does each section such as verse, exposition, bridge, etc. contribute its overall structure to this music?
Make sure to provide specific excerpts from the recording using the time marking to get a higher grade.
f. Texture:

How would you describe the texture of this musical selection, polyphonic or homophonic?
Discuss if there are any combination of different textures.
What do you think about how the texture contributes to the delivery of the message or fulfilling the function of this music?
Make sure to provide specific excerpts from the recording using the time marking to get a higher grade.
g. Timbre

Describe the timbre (tone color) of overall sound and specific instruments.
How would you describe the overall timbre of this musical selection, bright, dark, brassy, reedy, harsh, noisy, thin, buzzy, pure, raspy, shrill, mellow, strained, etc, and which instruments contribute to that timbre?
Describe how this timbre of these instruments matches the message or function of this music?
Make sure to provide specific excerpts from the recording using the time marking to get a higher grade.
h. Dynamics

Describe the change of dynamics in this musical selection and explain how it contributes to the delivery of the message or fulfilling the function of this music.
Make sure to provide specific excerpts from the recording using the time marking to get a higher grade.

D. Requirements

Length: 1200-1500 words; double-spaced, 12 or 11-point Times New Roman font. *Papers that are deficient in length will be deducted 0.5 points per word. **Work Cited Page or Lyrics do not count toward the 1200-word requirement

Format: Papers should follow the MLA (Modern Language Association) formatting guidelines. The following link has examples:

Organization: you may include the headings for each section

Your name, course name, instructor’s name, and the submission date on the top left corner.
Title of the paper should include the title of the music you are writing about.
Introduction paragraph: brief introduction of the main points of the paper. It should set up the body of the paper to follow.
About the Music: background information about the music from your research. Make sure to use the correct citation of the sources.
Composer(s) and performer(s): background information about the composer(s) and the performer(s) from your research. You may include interesting information about them. Make sure to use the correct citation of the sources.
Style analysis of music: this is the main part of the paper and should take up 50% or more of your paper (several paragraphs).Write about what you learned in analyzing this music.
Conclusion: bring the paper to a coherent closure.
Cited Sources: Your paper should cite at least 5 sources. You may use the textbook or Wikipedia document, but they will not count in the 5 sources.

Please use MLA documentation to cite your work. Go to:
Click on MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics
Even when you are not directly quoting from a source—i.e., you are summarizing, paraphrasing, or using facts—you must cite the source.
Be sure to introduce your sources, for example, according to …
When necessary, provide a parenthetical citation at the end of the cited passage.
Percentage of cited material: Your paper can contain no more than 30% cited material. All papers are run through a software program/database that checks for originality and plagiarism. A very accurate calculation of the percentage of non-original material is generated for the instructor.
Papers with more than 30% will be deducted 15 points automatically.
Papers with more than 40% will be deducted 20 points automatically.
Papers with more than 50% will be deducted 25 points automatically.
Papers with more than 60% will receive zero points automatically.

Works Cited Page: Please include correctly formatted works cited page at the end of the paper.

Go to:
Click on MLA Works Cited Page: Basic Format
Proofreading: Make sure to check spelling, sentence structure, missing words, punctuation, etc. Careless mistakes will result in point deductions.

Plagiarism: Students caught plagiarizing will receive an ‘F’ on the assignment and may be subject to disciplinary action by Parkland College.

E. Grading

a total of 100 pts. possible

Title and Introduction: 5 pts. (5%)
Music: 15 pts. (15%)
Composers (and Performers if significant): 20 pts. (20%)
Style Analysis of Music: 50 pts. (50%)
Conclusion: 5 pts. (5%)
Paper Proposal: 5 pts. (5%)
For any requirement not met, points will be taken off the total number of points earned:

Length: – 0.5 points per word below 1200 words
Percentage of cited material: refer to #4 in the requirement section.
Correct MLA formatting of the paper: up to -5 points
5 or more sources correctly cited in the text: up to -5 points
Correctly formatted works cited page: up to -5 points
Proofreading: up to -5 points

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