World Music

For any written project, it’s safe to start with the basics. Who, what, when, where, how, why (did you like/dislike).  What impressed you most about the performance? Why?  Why did you like/dislike the music? Did one song stand out from all the others?  Describe the performers. Were they connecting with the audience or just ignoring them? Were they expressive or just going through the motions?  Can you connect the musical terms and concepts you learned from the student guide with the live performance of the musicians? Explain using examples. Your paper should be at least 300 words and must be submitted online. Concert Reports: The Live Experience Attend a musical performance and write a summary of your experience, as indicated below in “What to Look For at the Concerts.” Unless told otherwise by your instructor, you will complete two concert reports during this course. To give you time to pick and attend these concerts, the assignment is given now and is due at the end of Lesson Nine. For the most mileage, make sure at least one of the concerts are by professionals playing music in the cultures we are studying (either traditional or contemporary world music from those cultures). The second concert can be from any world music culture in the world. Do not include Western popular music, jazz, or Western classical music unless it includes significantelements of world music. Music rooted in traditional folk cultures, such as Irish music or Klezmer, is fine. If you are taking this course in an area that does not have live world music, you can rent DVD performances or see if there are suitable performances on television, but live performance is preferred and worth traveling to hear. Most areas have cultural performances. In your report, be sure to note whether the music was in a concert or a cultural setting, and whether it was contemporary or traditional world music. Was it pure or cross-cultural? Include a description of the environment you saw it in. Was there something you learned about the culture from the performance or the performer(s)? Be prepared to bring a notebook and pen to write down information from the concert. Remember to include the following details: Date of concert. Name of non-Western European Concert or Event attended. Place of concert. Type of concert. The name(s) of performer(s), or group(s). Title of the compositions and dances (if included). Description of any visual effects (i.e., movement, dance, costumes, stage scenery, director, narrator, and so forth). Culture of the music and/or dance (include any historical considerations you can give, based on research, conversations with performers, or concert program, if any). Description of music using specific musical terms (i.e., melody, harmony, rhythm, texture/instrumentation, dynamics, timbre, and form). Why did you choose this concert? What did you like or dislike about this concert and its environment? Choose one composition that you enjoyed the best and explain why (please add the title, composer, instruments/timbre, form, tempo, and anything else that may have added to your musical experience). Carefully read through the list of what to look for below and make any additional observations.Before attending each concert, you may want to look up information on the composer(s), performers, styles, and pieces ahead of time. You can look these up on the Internet or in other reference sources (including later lessons of this course). What to Look For at the Concerts Review the items below ahead of time, perhaps even bringing them with you! While it is important to be supportive of the performers and allow yourself to continue to simply enjoy the music, some added levels of appreciation and sensitivity can make your experience richer. Here are some things to consider and comment on in your paper. They will help you be more specific about your reactions. One way to experience a work of art or a piece of music is to be completely innocent and receptive, and be aware, in effect, of how your body, mind, emotions, and spirit are transformed. You can essentially become the work and describe your experience. Describe the effect of this performance on your body, mind, and emotions. A live performance can be a chance for the performer (and composer) to enter into communication with the audience. To what extent do you feel the performer or performers responded to what was happening in the room during the performance? (Maybe they didn’t!) Do you feel they were intimate and giving or simply going through the motions? Did they seem to be in familiar territory or were they “going for it,” digging deep into the material and discovering something as they played? The performer’s state of consciousness has an effect on what is communicated. Did you feel the performer and/or conductor was emotional? intellectual? expanded? contracted? transported? fluid? enjoying? at ease? What were your clues? Were your clues physical, musical, or intuitive? What visual elements contributed to the performance? Were you expected to participate? If so, did you participate fully? In the playing, were there sensitivity and variety in the dynamics? Did the tempo seem satisfying? Was the performer comfortable with periods of silence or very low volume? Did you feel that the music seemed to arise out of silence or was it purely active? If it was an ensemble, were the performers listening or communicating with each other? Was it different during solos (if any)? Was vocal music a part of the performance? If so, what qualities of voice were part of the style? What musical forms or structures did you notice? Was there a good balance of repetition and contrast in these pieces? What aspects were inventive or surprising? Which elements were attractive? In terms of the characteristics that contribute to making you able to identify music as being from a particular culture, what elements stood out or seemed important? What made the music clearly from this culture? What else did you notice about the following elements: melody, harmony, rhythm, timbre, dynamics, texture, form, cultural elements? If any of the elements bothered you, why? If you were already familiar with any of the music or players, how did this performance differ from what you have heard? Could you recognize a basic melody or repeating melodic patterns? While you are there, think about some of the typical concert conventions. Why do you think people clap? How do you think that affects the performer and audience? Who were the audience members? Were many from the music’s native culture? Did they follow any conventions that struck you? How did your expectations affect your experience? Did you feel different or changed in some way after the performance? Would you recommend this performer or any of the music to someone else? How did having awareness of the aspects above affect your experience or enjoyment? If this is your second, is your answer to this any different from what it was for the previous concert? If you have attended both traditional and contemporary world music concerts for this assignment, did this approach work well for both?

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