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Format: 1250 words minimum (no maximum), double-spaced, Times New Roman 12-point font, 1-inch margins.
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Compare and contrast two different versions of the same piece/song by two different artists/groups/ensembles (for example, an original and a cover of a song). This assignment essentially builds on the assignments for Discussion 2 and Discussion 3, and should demonstrate not only your understanding of the concepts learned throughout the course, but also an improvement from your earlier assignments. ***You may NOT analyze the same pieces/songs you used in your previous assignments, or anything that has been discussed in class or in the textbook.
You should begin by identifying the piece/song, its composer, the artist(s), the style/genre, and the year in which each version was composed or recorded (in general, you want to provide a brief overall history of each version). Your introduction should be followed by a brief description of the genre(s), including history and general stylistic features, as well as the general social/cultural significance of the music. The majority of your paper, however, should provide a detailed analysis and comparison of both pieces of music. In what ways are the pieces/songs similar or different? Could the reasons for differences in musical elements (melody, rhythm, tempo, etc.) and lyrics be purely artistic, or is there a deeper message? Be specific and develop your ideas and observations, making sure to use the following musical terms, elements, and concepts.
Melody/Harmony: Identify individual melodies and note where they are first introduced and subsequently reappear in each piece. Are they short and easy to remember, or long and complex? Is there a lot of repetition? Are the melodies harmonized? Are there differences in the melodies (such as use of different pitches, or even entirely different melodies) between the two versions of the piece/song, and if so, what could be the reason? Is melody the most important part of the music, or is it rhythm?
Rhythm: Beat, accent, meter, syncopation, etc. How does the rhythm affect the music, and is it used to create special or interesting effects? Does the rhythm contribute in any way to the overall mood of each song/piece?
Tempo: How does tempo affect the song/piece? Do both versions have similar tempos, or are they different?
Dynamics: Identify changes in dynamics and discuss the effect they create.
Instruments/Timbres: What types of instruments are used, and what do they sound like? What is the relationship between voices and instruments? Are the instruments used purely for accompaniment or do they also play melodies/countermelodies or even extended solos/improvisations?
Word-music relationships: For songs that include lyrics, you must discuss the relationship between the lyrics and music for each version of the song (think back to our discussions of Schubert’s “Erlkönig,” Arlen’s “Over the Rainbow,” Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sun is Burning,” etc.). In addition looking at the instructions for Discussion 3, you should address the following:
Do the lyrics comment in some way on any social or cultural issues, including historical events, social practices, race, gender, politics, etc?
Are the lyrics of both versions of the song exactly the same, or are there differences?
If there are differences, what are the reasons behind the change, and how does that change affect the music’s meaning?
Is the change controversial or subversive in any way?
You may include complete lyrics at the end of your paper, but this does not count towards the 1250-word minimum.
****Note: Always aim to be as specific as possible when describing the music, and be sure to develop any ideas or observations. Do not make statements without developing them further. For example, don’t just state that “the music’s rhythm was complex,” but explain why you think that is and provide examples.
Research: You will need to do some research to find out more about the styles/genres and their general characteristics and stylistic features. The compare/contrast section of your paper, however, must consist solely of your own ideas.
You must cite your sources properly (using the style most common in your own academic field). A bibliography or works cited list does not count towards the minimum word count.
In addition to providing a bibliography/works cited list, make sure to cite sources within the text (using either footnotes or in-text citations).
You may not use Wikipedia or similar sites as sources. If you are not sure if you may use a certain source, please ask.
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