Final Project – Composer Research Paper
MUS 110 Composer Project
Project Description: Pick one composer we studied in this course. You may NOT use Mozart or Beethoven.
1) Write a brief biography of the composer that includes some facts about him that were not included in the text. Some things you might want to include: birth and death dates, where he lived and worked, events that influenced his career choice and his writing, any peculiar facts that make him interesting, etc.
2) Then, using correct musical terminology, describe in detail 2 – 3 of his compositions. Some things you might want to include: stylistic period his music belongs to, genres the pieces fall in, musical characteristics of the works … use the textbook descriptions as a guide for this part. This should not be generalized statements about his overall musical output, but very specific information about the pieces you chose. You should not use Google for this section of the project; listen to the pieces then tell me what you are hearing in terms of texture, dynamics, form, timbre, etc. Because you need to listen to and describe the works, do not pick an entire opera or symphony; instead, pick a specific aria from the opera or a particular movement of the symphony.
3) Finally, tell me why this composer’s works are of interest to you. If you were introducing this music to your friends or family, what would you say to get their interest? Again, make sure you use the musical vocabulary we learned in the course.
Notice that there are three parts to this project: biography, description of compositions, and explanation of why this person’s work is of interest to you. Also note that section 2 is not a list of composition titles; rather, it is a description of several works that should mirror the listening guides found in your text.
While the quality of your content is more important than the length of your paper, to adequately address all required sections most papers will be 3 – 4 pages long. Remember to cite the sources you use in your research (using any standard citation method of your choice). As this is a college research paper, it’s important to use reliable academic sources. Sites like Mental Floss or personal blogs might be entertaining but are not reliable. Good sources include Britannica, Biography, university websites, and sites affiliated with major symphony orchestras. Also, it is very important that you avoid plagiarism; be sure to reword any information you are using, or to use quotation marks and source citations for any passages you quote. Spelling and grammar will be considered when assigning your grade, so proofread your work! The tutoring center is a great resource if you need a little help polishing up your final product.
Although the last module includes information on some relatively current performers, this assignment is to be done on a COMPOSER. If you have any doubt about the person you have picked, feel free to email me with your choice before doing a lot of research.
Guidelines for Grading:
35% – quality of biographical information, including citation of sources
30% – quality of description of the composer’s works, including correct terminology
20% – quality of the explanation of why you chose this composer, with correct terminology
15% – spelling, grammar, appropriate length, interest and creativity
The paper should be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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