The Song Essay asks you choose a song and explain how the music conveys the message of the song. You must demonstrate your understanding by applying musical terminology correctly.
Choose a song that we have not covered in class that you can include as a YouTube link with your paper.
Use your active listening skills to observe the musical elements and their interaction with the song’s lyrics. Pay attention to how they change over the course of the song, and use musical terminology that we’ve learned in class. Here are some questions to guide your listening and writing:
Summarize the general idea of the song in one sentence.
What is the form of the lyrics (stanzas, repetition, verses, refrain, etc.)? What is the musical form?
What is the highpoint or most important line?
What instruments do you hear? Are instruments added or subtracted during the song?
Describe the main melody. (Stepwise, Conjunct/Disjunct, Shape, Structure)
Describe the rhythm. (Busy vs. calm beat, type of meter, changes in tempo or meter)
Describe the dynamics. Do they change?
Describe the timbre of the singer’s voice. Any changes?
What is the texture? (monophonic, homophonic, polyphonic, heterophonic) Does it change?
Which of the elements is the most effective/unusual?
Which elements communicate the message of the song?
The final submission must be 500 words (minimum) with no typos or errors in spelling or grammar. General instructions for written assignments follow at the end of this document. Begin your essay with the title of the song, the name of the singer or group, and a link to a YouTube video recording of it.
Proofread your essay before submitting it on Canvas. Read the model essays at the link below so that you are clear about expectations.
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