Introduction to Music Paper Topics


Your paper assignment for this semester revolves around the study of one of the following two Units.  Please pick a paper topic from either of these two units prior to spring break. Topics must be approved by the professor prior to spring break. Your papers are to be at least 7 -10 pages in length with one inch margins, double spaced. Type face is to be Times New Roman 12 point font. Any other formatting will not be accepted.  Papers will be graded once.  No revisions will be accepted. One letter grade per day late will be deducted from the final grade of the paper after it is graded.

Documentation: Papers must have either end notes, or in-text documentation that details the author and page number of your sources.   Papers must have a bibliography.  Endnotes and bibliography do not count toward your 10 pages of content.

Points will be deducted for spelling and grammar errors.


Unit One Composer Study


Take one composer from the approved composer list and research him or her thoroughly.  The following questions must be brought to bear in your paper.

What period did your composer work?

Why did this composer rise to greatness?

What historical events took place during the composer's life and how did these events shape the composer's career?

What type of patronage did the composer fall under?

Describe his or her musical style and compositional process.

Compare his style to other composers (two) who worked during his lifetime?

What was this composer's contribution to music and who did he or she influence in the future?

Then take two pieces of music from this composer and compare/contrast them keeping the issues of style, form, beauty, and function in mind.

Come to a critical analysis of the composer's work in one specific area. 

This should not just be a boring biography.  The depth to which you come to a conclusion will determine the depth of your grade.


Unit Two: Special Topics

Research fully one of the following topics.


The development and change of the Mass from the Middle Ages to Today. Cite examples and composers over the years and build a comprehensive overview of the development of this religious rite.


The Development of the Trumpet and the Trombone from antiquity to today.  Cite examples of construction styles, functions and build a comprehensive overview of these instrument's growth and development.  Discuss how these instruments have been used over the centuries and how this use and function  has changed.


The development of the pipe organ from antiquity to today. Discuss examples of construction styles, functions and build a comprehensive overview of this grand instrument throughout the centuries. Also detail clearly how these instruments have been used in church music as well as symphonic music.  Detail the most important composers of organ music and focus on one Baroque organ composer and one Twentieth Century organ composer.


The history of church choral music and hymn singing in the United States from its roots in Europe till today.  Cover all styles of choral and hymn singing from the early years of American History till today.  Cite influence from Europe to how this music has developed into several styles today.


The history of Celtic Music in Europe and it's development into the Western Hemisphere. This should be a comprehensive view of all the genres of Celtic music and how it has developed from antiquity to today. Discuss who you think has the greatest impact on Traditional Celtic Music. Describe the offshoot styles of Celtic music that are now present in Canada and the U.S. Discuss what forms of music Celtic music influenced and what types of music were born out of Celtic music in the U.S.

Music of War: World War II.  Discuss and detail how music influenced culture both in the United State, Japan, and Western Europe during the War.  What effects did the World War II have on music. How did mass media affect music during this time. Be very specific, citing music, musicians and composers of both popular styles as well as classical music. How did the war affect classical music during the twentieth century.


Music of War: The Concentration Camps.  Detail a history of how music was used in the German Concentration Camps during World War II.  Describe all aspects of musical style, what was being performed, the purposes for each style and the specific impact music had on the culture of those imprisoned as well as the German SS.


Music and the Reformation:  Discuss how music changed during the Reformation under Martin Luther.  Included in this paper should be a discussion of how the worship of the newly formed protestants changed from the Roman Mass.  A further discussion should include Luther's favorite composers as well as those whom Luther directly influenced for years to come.


Poetry and Lieder:  A complete overview of the Lieder of Schubert, Brahms and Robert Schumann.


The history of Electronic and Computer Music beginning in the early twentieth century till today.  Discuss major developments in Avant Garde electronic music and it's influence in modern popular music.


The History of Jazz music in America: Detail the history and forms of Jazz in America with the emphasis on three jazz composers that you believe were the most influential in the development of Jazz.  Make sure you make a good case for the composers that you choose.


The development of the string section from antiquity to modern times. A complete discussion of the origins of the violin, viola, cello, and double bass and how it has developed over the years.  Include developments in the areas of electronic instrumentation in the 20th and 21st centuries.


The development of notation from antiquity to the modern ages.  How did we get the notes that we write.  How has this developed from the middle ages to now. Include in your discussion and research the use of electronic media in the 20th and 21st century. From medieval scribe to computer software, how has notation changed over the centuries.