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Research Guidelines for Music 48

Music 48 Paper:
Research Questions

The Music Faculty affirms that, in order to perform well, a fine musician must engage many aspects of music well beyond the technical demands of a given composition. Thoughtful inquiry into the historical/cultural context and the musical content of a composition are no less important than learning to play or sing the notes. We ask, therefore, that all Music 48 students do a research project and write a short paper on the composition they intend to play at juries.

The Music 48 Paper may be brief (one or two pages) but must include a detailed bibliography. Voice students should also include the text of the piece, as well as a literal English translation, if applicable. Your paper must be submitted directly to the Department's Administrative Coordinator (hard copy only, please!); the deadline may be found on the Lessons for Credit web page, along with the list of Music 48 AdvisorsAll first-time Music 48 students should make an appointment to talk with Donna Fournier before they begin working on this project. Students returning to the program are of course welcome to consult with her, too.

The following questions should guide your inquiry as you write your paper. You are encouraged to describe your learning process over the semester, since some understanding on the part of the faculty of what you focus on and how you approach the piece may help them evaluate your accomplishment. If you are having trouble with any aspect of this project, do not hesitate to contact your Music 48 Advisor and/or the Music Librarian.

a) When did the composer live? What earlier or contemporaneous composers may have influenced the composition of this work? Have ideas about performance practice changed since this work was composed, and, if so, how has your awareness of these changes influenced your interpretation?

b) What questions guided you in your study of the score? Are there different editions? If so, why might that be? Which one seems to represent most faithfully what the composer wrote? Have conventions of notation changed since the composer's era? Are there any notational idiosyncrasies or foreign language terms in the score that you found difficult to understand?

c) Music 48 advisors will give a non-binding grade to each student.

d) Does the form of the piece fall into a common generic/formal category (e.g., sonata, rondo, a dance form, ternary [ABA] form, etc.)? If it does not, can you make sense of it in your own terms?

For additional help researching your paper, please see the Music 48 Guide to Research.