Concert Report Assignment

For your  Concert Report/Research project, there are four options:

  1. you will attend an approved live "World Music" music event, and write a specially formatted report
  2. A Fieldwork project that involves interviewing a traditional musician. Ron will provide instructions to those who pursue this option
  3. Attending multilple workshops in a "word music" style, such as those offered at Ashkenazy or La Pena Cultural Center.
  4. Teach a section (to be agreed on) from the texbook.

For the Concert Report option, the report will have the following elements:

  • You must stay for the entire event, with rare exceptions to be discussed on an individual basis. Proof of attendance--a ticket and original program from the event, stapled to the Report
  • summary of the program, with a list of all of the pieces performed--if there is not written program, you will need to ask the performer(s) for the names of pieces.
  • An objective description of at least six of the pieces performed, evenly distributed between the first and second half of the program.
  • A subjective response of the same pieces listed above
  • summary of the elements that comprise the musical style you heard. If there are multiple styles present at the performance, focus on one
  • If the event was quite "Western," such as salsa, or Afro-beat, an evaluation of the elements/influence of each of the musics present
  • Finally, an overall subjective response to the performance itself, and your overall impressions of the musical style

Each of these elements are covered in more detail below

Summary of the program

At the top of the page, Under your name and class information, list the date of the performance, the name of the performer(s) or group(s) and all program titles in the order performed. 

  • Provide the printed program with your report, stapled to the back of the Report. If the program page is part of a larger pamphlet, remove the program page. Do not submit the whole pamphlet.
  • If there is not a printed program, write down each title as it is announced. If not all are announced, talk to performer(s) to get the titles.
Roncito Dunn
Music 1C
Fall 2013
Date of program: October 15, 2013
Groups: Marimba de San Cristobal de las Casas, Los Lobos
Program: Marimba De San Cristobal: No Compro Amores; Si Compro amores; La Bamba; La Guacamaya; Ojos Verdes; Ojos Negros. Intermission
Los Lobos: La pistola y el Corazon; La Bamba; Sisquiri; Lindo Tejas; Los Borrachos

Objective description [to be written for six pieces, or each extended sections of longer works]

This description will focus on the musical aspects of the performance that you hear. If dance is part of the program, you can include descriptions of the interaction of dance and music. The purpose of this exercise is to have you work with the musical components we are studying in class. You should describe the instruments, the texture, the rhythms and meter to the degree that you can hear them, the tempo, dynamics, formal aspects (ABA, Strophic, through-composed, etc.) or any other salient musical aspect heard in each piece. Avoid descriptors like "beautiful,"" sad," or similes such as "flowing like a waterfall," etc. I want to force you to use the musical vocabulary of the course to try to convey musical elements that you hear.

Your notes should be taken in real time--no need to record the music (and in most cases, this is strictly forbidden). 


"La zandunga

Objective Description

This piece was typical of the marimba grande, in its inclusion of a tiple instrument, and four players on the grande. The drummer kept a steady rhythm, marking the simple triple meter without flourish. The texture was homophonic throughout, with the tiple usually maintaining the melody. I thought that I could hear distinct sections in the song that alternated--maybe something like a verse-chorus alternation A B A B. However, in the middle, the texture suddenly thinned--it was still homophonic, but some players dropped out, and the tiple played a solo that seemed improvisatory. I heard the tremolo technique that we learned about in class, and the charleo buzzing was really evident. [if you attend a concert where many of the elements are the same, try to vary the things you describe in each--focus on the differences in the pieces/songs]

Subjective response [to be written for the same six pieces above]

In this section you can talk about your impressions of the piece. Similes, mood, your likes and dislikes are all fine in this section. What do you think the musicians were trying to convey in this piece? Were they successful? 

Subjective Response

I liked the bouncy rhythm of this song, and the contrast between the verse and refrain--though it was hard to tell which was which. The mood of the song was rather sad--I guess the minor key brought that out, but with the bouncy rhythms, there seemed to be a mixed message!  I felt I thought that the electric bass was a strange addition to the group, since it just played mostly the same note that the bass player of the marimba grande played. 

You will continue this pattern throughout the paper, then write a

Summary of the elements that comprise the musical style. If there are multiple styles present at the performance, focus on one. This should be at least one lengthy paragraph, and may include information from the textbook, with proper citation.
  • Pieces will vary a lot; instruments change, some pieces are vocal, others instrumental. Some songs are long, short, fast, etc. But if you were trying to describe to a friend what makes cumbia, tango, mariachi, or whatever music identifiable as a style, based on your one listening experience, what would you include? Here are some common concepts from which to choose
    • What are the common rhythmic elements? What instruments typically drive the rhythmic elements? 
    • What are the common instrumentations?
    • What are the common vocal elements? What are the vocal techniques used commonly--raspy, clear, falsetto or yodeling?
    • Are the melodies long, conjunct, disjunct, with big or small range, etc?
    • What are the common textural elements--polyphonic, homophonic, heterophonic?
    • These are just a few elements--you can include more. 

Lastly, however, I would like for you to discuss how the performance you heard compares to "traditional" versions of this genre or style? What elements are kept from earlier incarnations of this music? What are the Western Elements (popular music, Western harmony, etc, that were present? 

Finally, an overall subjective response to the performance itself, and your overall impressions of the musical style.
  • This should be a paragraph of six to ten lines. Include likes, dislikes, professionalism, choice of program, overall ambiance. Be honest--You don't need to have liked the music.
  • You must go to a concert from Ron's list, and seek approval for any that are not on the list. Failure to do so is grounds for failing the assignment. 

  • You must use proper MLA format, citing your source(s), if any, with great care given not to plagiarize information. Writing guides are available at the Learning Center and online

  • You must use in-text parenthetical citation of your source(s)

  • The length of this report will be between four and five pages, using

    • 12-point font

    • 1" margins (see MLA format)

    • 1/12 or double spaced text

    • Longer papers, using multiple sources, will be accepted.

  • You must staple the program to your concert report

Deadline: You should write the Report as soon as possible after attending the program:

  • Fill out your notes the same night, so that you don't forget all the details!

  • The deadline for turning in the Report is One week from the date of the performance. Weekend performances may be turned in one week from the next Monday after the performance. Late papers will lose 5% of their value for each date beyond the One week deadline.

  • Don't procrastinate about going to a program--there are limited opportunities available and not much time in which to complete this requirement; if an upcoming program seems interesting, GO!

College-level writing is expected; my grading standards weigh writing and language use heavily. Use tutorial services for help with writing issues; Take advantage of office hours for help with research, music issues.

Scoring:  This is an entry-level academic paper--it is easy to do well on it if you follow the instructions.

Papers will be scored on a number of elements, including
  • Format (20%): following the guidelines provided

  • Writing (30%): Use of academic, college level English; proper grammar, spelling, word choice, no more than three grammatical errors per page; logical paragraph sequence and development

  • Content (50%): information relevant to the music under study and careful observations of musical elements in Objective Observation sections

Top Reasons students receive poor grades on Concert Reports

  • Poorly edited, poorly formatted papers, papers missing any required component, or too short in any of the required sections

  • Plagiarism, the failure to quote and/or cite sources (this is grounds for failing the paper)

  • Late papers (these will lose 5% per day)

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