Music Question

This assignment builds on the ideas about music and cultural difference elaborated at the end of the “microtiming and rhythmic flow” video lecture this week, and gives you another chance to work on close listening skills. It is a kind of experiment: You will reflect on musical examples by listening to the sounds alone, without having any information or knowledge about the traditions and their context.

To start, review the tracks on this Spotify “WA3 playlist.” (Links to an external site.)Pick 2 tracks from the playlist and listen carefully to each several times. Try to choose tracks that are unfamiliar to you, i.e. if you know the style well, choose a different one instead. The tracks with singing may be in languages you cannot understand, but again, you are not expected to seek out lyrics or translations, and should focus your attention on the sounds alone.

Next, write 2 paragraphs that address the following sets of questions:

  • Summarize the features of each track that especially stand out: What qualities do you hear as the most important characteristics of each track? You can discuss any aspect of the music you consider important, including rhythm, melody, harmony, the way the music changes over time, or other qualities. But rather than only describing the overall feeling or emotion, you should also connect that aspect to specific sounds and details that you notice through careful listening.
  • Compare the 2 tracks you selected: In what ways are they similar, and in what ways are they different? Here again, try to focus on the kinds of sonic details that you are noticing, and how you think they impact the way the music feels.

You can address each of the question groups above in a paragraph, or write a 2-paragraph response that is organized in some other way, as long as it addresses all of these questions overall.

Grading Criteria

To earn a grade of Complete, your response must meet the following criteria:

  • You address the questions listed above, in a way that reflects careful listening.
  • It does not contain significant grammar or spelling errors, and reflects time spent revising your writing. If it has extensive grammar problems and the meanings of some statements are not clear, the TA will ask you to revise it.
  • It follows the basics of the instructions above, i.e. it discusses 2 songs/pieces of music from the Spotify list linked above, and is roughly 2 paragraphs long.

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