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What to Listen For in Music

In the PDF listed here, “What to Listen For in Music,” Aaron Copland discusses the three planes of music listening.

Your assignment is to write about your reactions to any composition you choose from any music style based on your understanding of the three planes of music listening. That is, how do you react to the music on the sensuous level, on the expressive level, and on the musical level? If you choose music that changes moods, you must write about your reactions to each mood change from the perspective of each listening plane.

You may not use any of the music that is in the text book for this course as the subject of this assignment.

When you submit the assignment, you must include the following.

The title, the composer, if known, the performer(s), and, if the music is available on YouTube or some other Web site for free.
A brief introductory paragraph in which you write about why you chose that particular music.
One extended paragraph (or several short paragraphs) for each of the three planes of music listening in which you illustrate your understanding of the concept of each of those levels. You will use references to the music you chose to illustrate or to support your comments for each of the listening planes. You may find that your reactions to the music based on the different listening levels are not always clear cut; include comments about that in your submission.
A summary paragraph in which you write about how your music listening perspective(s) has (have) changed as the result of doing this assignment.
You are to write this in the first person singular; that is, as yourself, using “I” as the subject, not “we” or “you.”

Write the assignment in a Word document and submit it here as an attachment.

Your grade for this assignment will be based on

how much thought your submission shows you put into doing the assignment;
how clearly you organized and presented your ideas;
the accuracy of your spelling and all aspects of sentence/paragraph construction. In other words, you will be held to the same standards as if you were writing this assignment for a composition course.

Last Updated on March 21, 2018

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