To complete the assignment you should:
Attend a musical performance featuring a minimum of two (2) musicians. Performances in lecture do not count. You can choose any style of music and the performance can also include theater, dance, or other content. Make sure, however, that music is central to the performance.
Describe in detail the musical and broader aesthetics of the performance (suggestions below). Based on your observations and our class discussions, analyze the performance and offer your interpretations of its pertinent social, cultural, or political meanings.
Make sure the paper is typed, double-spaced, with 1” margins, and in a reasonable 12-point font such as Times New Roman. Do not exceed three pages or adjust margins to accommodate going over the page limit.
Make sure your paper is well organized, written in clear, concise language, and free of spelling and grammatical errors.
Make sure your paper contains proper citations for outside resources, including notes from lectures. Please see your GSI if you have questions about citations.
Guiding themes and suggestions:
The objective of this assignment is to encourage you to think analytically about the music, experience of the performers and audience members, and the larger aesthetic, social, or political context of the performance. Your reading, listening, and class work should inform your observations. Do not simply guess at what you are hearing. Back up your points with evidence from the performance and/or secondary sources from the class or outside resources.
As you write, think about how to convey these various elements of the performance to someone who was not there. In particular, help them to understand why this performance was important.
Take notes during the performance rather than reconstruct it in following days (taking into account, of course, the etiquette of the performance and being respectful of the performers). You will need to incorporate specific observations into your report, not just general impressions. Write as much as you can immediately after the performance.
Below, you will find a list of elements to consider when observing the performance and analyzing it in your report.
Different performances will be interesting for different reasons. Observe and write about as many of the following aspects as you can or are applicable to your event:
Describe the physical and social environment of the performance. Is it indoors or outdoors? How do the performers and audience fill and use the space? Is this a place devoted solely to performance? If it is built to serve other purposes as well, how does that affect the performance? How would you classify the overall “feel” of the space: luxurious, utilitarian, seedy?
What are the intended purposes of the performance? For example: community outreach, cultural education, dancing, listening enjoyment, political protest, socializing, or religious worship. Why are people (musicians and audience) there? Are the musicians performing for pay, for practice, to show off their skill? A student ensemble performing in Sproul Plaza, for instance, differs greatly from a professional band in a club. Did the audience come specifically to this event or is it a street performance where people wander by?
Socio-cultural background of the music, the musicians, and the audience
To the best of your ability, give some sense of who the performers and audience are (age, gender, race, socioeconomic status, etc.). With what sort of people is this kind of music most commonly associated? And if you don’t know, ask somebody there!
How did the audience appear to experience the event? Note any interaction between the musicians and the audience, when people seem most interested or affected by the performance.
How would you describe the music, its sound, and its style? You may find that it is interesting to focus on a few songs/pieces or aspects of the performance rather than recounting the entire event. What instruments are played and how do they contribute to the music? Perhaps draw a diagram that shows the layout of the performance space and the various performers and their instruments.
Interaction between performers
What does each musician contribute? Who is the leader? How do they communicate? If there is dance, how does the dancer interact with the musician/s? Does the dancer also make music?
The effect of the performance on you personally
Write about your interests, your previous knowledge and experience of this kind of music, your interpretations, your questions, what you did and didn’t like.
Be sure to include the following information:
Names of performers or group
Location, date, time, and length of the performance
Type of event — concert, church service, dance, fund-raiser, etc. — and admission price
Last Updated on