The purpose of this report is to study one Jazz, Blues, or Rock N’ Roll music composer/artist from any era. After you have chosen your topic and had it approved by the instructor, study your topic in-depth and write a 3-5 page report about it.
Your textbook provides a very thorough list of music composers. If you have an interest in a composer whose name is not in the textbook, it must be approved by the instructor. It is the student’s responsibility to choose a topic for this report.
How to get started:
1) Select a minimum of 60 minutes’ worth of music from your chosen topic and listen to the music a minimum of three times through. Recordings will generally be available online, and some may be available at the library. Before choosing recordings, you should read enough about the composer to know which works are their most significant works.
2) Read about the composer’s life and music. If there isn’t much in the library about your composer, you can search for magazine and newspaper articles and reviews on the internet. You should spend a considerable amount of time reading, researching, and learning about your topic. CD liner notes are also a good source of information if they are provided.
3) After your research and listening are complete, organize your notes and the music you listened to, and then answer each of the following questions in list form, in order. Keep your report at no more or less than 3-5 pages in length. No cover page is necessary.
Part I: Basic Information
Provide the following basic information about the composer, the music you listened to, and the sources you consulted:
A. Composer’s full name, birth date and location, as well as death date and location (or, if still alive, where s/he lives now)
B. A complete list of the music you listened to, including all of the following information: composition title, album name and release year
C. Complete list of your reading resources
Example: Grove Online Dictionary of Music: Article on Scott Joplin
H.C. Robbins Landon: The Mozart Compendium (Schirmer Books)
If you read ten short magazine articles, your list would look like this:
The Story of Crosby, Stills and Nash, Rolling Stone Magazine, June 1969
CSN Take Madison Square Garden, New York Times review, July 1970, etc.
Note: This is a book and article list rather than a full bibliography, which might be required in another course. For hardcover books, you should include the publisher’s name. For magazines and newspapers, give the name and issue date.
You should be able to fit all the above information onto one page. You will need the rest of the pages to answer the short essay questions from Part II below.
Part II: Short Essay questions
There are 5 questions that should fit on the remaining pages. You can write a little more for some and a little less for others. Write clearly and informatively, and be concise. Demonstrate what you have learned about your composer and his/her music.
A. Why did you choose this composer? Had you heard this music before, or did you discover it for the first time during this project? Discuss aspects of the musical period, the style, or the musician’s catalog that attracted you.
B. Summarize important events in the composer’s life, such as musical family background, teachers or influences, first artistic successes, and later masterworks. Demonstrate why the composer was significant.
C. Out of your list of songs by your composer, choose three (3) favorite pieces and write a short essay paragraph about each one. Include the following:
a. Brief description of the work
b. When, where, and why the work was written
c. What you liked about the piece
· Be as specific as possible. For example, you could say, “I like the way the strings played long-running passages – it was very exciting.”
· Use the techniques we have learned in class to understand the music, and describe it in terms of its specific elements. For example, you could say, “The melody was very regular, but the rhythm was syncopated and uneven.”
D. Now, of the three works you chose above, take one of your favorite pieces and answer the following question about it: How did this piece make you feel? Be subjective. You may have juxtaposed reactions, or opposite emotions such as happy/sad, relaxed/tense, light/heavy.
Choose the words that best describe your feelings about the music. Relate these feelings to the elements of the music itself. For example, you could say, “The slow rhythm and complex harmonies made me feel very tense. It built up to a strong climax, when suddenly, the rhythm became fast and pulsating and the harmonies changed quickly.”
E. In conclusion, think about the composer you chose and the music you listened to. Answer these questions:
How did listening to this composer’s music and learning about his/her life affect my appreciation of music?
What discoveries did I make about the music and about myself as a music listener? The purpose of this question is for you to journal your experience with the music.
-Your assignment must be 3-5 pages in length (no more or less), and it must address both Part I and Part II.
– A standard writing style format is preferred but not required. Any one of the following writing styles is encouraged: MLA Format, Chicago Style, Turabian, or APA. Otherwise, keep your writing typed and double spaced, with 1-inch margins and 12p Times New Roman font. For more information on Jazz Blues Rock and Roll Music check out :
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