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MUS189 Section A

Concert Comparison Assignment Guidelines


DUE: Monday, November 23, 2015
From week one of our class, Great Ideas in Western Music, we have relied
heavily on recorded performances. Recordings have given us the opportunity
to listen repeatedly to different pieces and particular sections of pieces in
order to catch their peculiarities.
This kind of listening is liberating and of course helpful when you study music
closely for the first time. But there are costs. The very experience of listening
to a piece of music on an iPod, or watching a music video on YouTube tends
to be too abstract and disembodied when compared with the live
performance. The mere presence of instrumentalists or singers on stage at a
live concert helps organize our experience as both listener and viewer. Not
only can we identify the source of the sound, but we can also observe how
musicians use their bodies in ways to communicate particular qualities of
feeling: singers smile and sometimes grimace, violinists sway, clarinetists
dart etc., etc., etc. In addition, we can see how conductors enact the
dimension of time in a piece so that we, too, can keep track of what is going
on. Equally important, we can survey how audiences behave at different
kinds of live performances. Depending on the nature of the concert, the
audiences deportment, the liberty of applause, the attitude of performers,
even the clothing may change. These details of the concert-going experience
tell us not only about musical styles, but also about the deeply ingrained
values embedded within varying cultures of concert performance.
The main purpose of your concert comparison assignment is to articulate the
specific nature of a live classical performance as opposed to a different
concert, be it another type of a classical music event or a pop concert. So, to
begin:
1. ATTEND TWO CONCERTS:
a. One must be a classical/Western art music concert (this
includes musicals, ballet, and opera)
b. The other may be a concert genre of your choice
(Possible two-concert pairs might be: an opera and a symphony
orchestra concert; a symphony orchestra concert and a pop concert;
a musical and a contemporary classical music (avant-garde)
concert; a ballet and a world music concert. There are many
combinations that are possible!)
2. You must attend both concerts in the FALL 2015 semester.
Concerts that you attended prior to this semester may not be used.

3. TAKE NOTES AT THE CONCERTS of everything you observe that has


to do with the totality of your concert experience: the venue, the
audience, the musicians and ABOVE ALL, the music.
4. TAKE A CONCERT PROGRAM from the classical concert you attend.
You will need to attach this program to your Report. If an event runs
out of concert programs, take a photograph of one if you can. A
concert program is not needed for the second concert program.
5. CONDUCT A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS that describes what the
concert experience (visually AND aurally) was like in each concert in as
much detail as possible. Please use the terminological tools that you
have been learning about in this class every week in your discussion of
the music. In addition, you are welcome to talk about what you felt
while listening to the music and observing the concerts environments.
a. Keep the following questions in mind when making an outline or
brainstorming for your analysis: how were the two musical
experiences different, and how did that difference affect YOU?
What, for YOU, made the biggest difference in a live classical
music performance as opposed to a recorded one, or a nonclassical one? Do you think classical music is still blooming, or
would you rather predict its impending demise?
6. FORM
a. Your analysis may take any discursive form you wish, you just
need to make sure you have written 1200 to 1500 words.
b. Ideas include creating: a webpage or blog (WordPress), an
infographic, a Prezi, a short story or poem, a newspaper column,
a comic book, a Facebook page, a series of Tweets, a short film
(using YouTube, PowToon, etc.), BE CREATIVE! If you are unsure
about your idea just run it by me.
7. THE DETAILS
a. All assignments must include:
i. The types of concerts attended.
ii. The dates and locations of the concerts.
iii.
The names of the performers or ensembles.
iv.
The types of instruments used.
v. Descriptions of the venues and audiences.
vi.
Musical terminology learned in the course of the
semester to describe the music of the concerts.
b. All responses should be written in complete sentences. In
addition to content, your Assignment will be evaluated on
grammar punctuation, and organization.
c. Length: 1200 to 1500 words
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d. Include your name, course number and section (MUS189A), and


date
e. DUE: Monday 11_23_15. If you do not turn in the assignment
at the beginning of class on this date you will receive a zero (0)
grade for the Concert Comparison Assignment.
You have 13 weeks to complete this assignment: please do not wait until the
last minute to complete it. NO late assignments will be accepted.