Add-an-Example Project

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Our textbook, The Oxford History of Western Music, provides a history of art music in the literate tradition that traces its roots to medieval Europe. That history is necessarily incomplete. No book can discuss every composer, work, trend, movement, or region. However, our textbook has some glaring omissions. For this project, you are going to identify and correct one of those omissions. At the end, you will submit an “addition” to the textbook that will focus on a single composer and work. You will provide historical context and musical analysis, to include a listening guide. In other words, your final submission will provide the same information that we currently find in the textbook and anthology. Excellent projects will be published in the Music Instruction & Pedagogy Repository on Humanities Commons for use in music history classrooms around the world.

Your example can be drawn from any period. The only requirement is that it is suitable to the scope of the textbook (that is to say, it should belong to the European compositional tradition, broadly defined). While you are free to select your own topic, I offer the following suggestions, all of which are poorly covered in the textbook:

  • Music for wind ensembles of any description
  • Music for solo instruments other than piano
  • Music for films or video games
  • Music from Southern, Eastern, and Northern Europe
    • The textbook focuses on Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, England, and Russia, with limited examples from Poland, Finland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. Other European countries are not represented (Spain, Portugal, Greece, Croatia, Serbia, Sweden, Lithuania, Denmark, etc.).
  • Music from Central and South America, Asia, and Africa
    • The textbook has no examples
  • Music from non-Christian traditions
    • The textbook has no examples
  • Music by female composers
    • Composers to consider: Francesca Caccini, Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre, Louise Reichardt, Maria Szymanowska, Louise Farrenc, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Emilie Mayer, Cecile Chaminade, Ethel Smyth, Alma Mahler, Rebecca Clarke, Germaine Tailleferre, Margaret Bonds, Joan Tower, Ellen Taafe Zwilich
  • Music by non-white/marginalized composers
    • Composers to consider: Joseph Bologne (Chevalier de Saint-Georges), William Grant Still, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Margaret Bonds, Hale Smith, Harry Burleigh, Julius Eastman, Wynton Marsalis, Duke Ellington, George Walker, Tan Dun, Toru Takemitsu, Bright Sheng, Alberto Ginastera, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Claudio Santoro, Luis Humberto Salgado, Raven Chacon

This project will take place in the following stages:

  1. Proposal – You will propose a composer and work. You must offer a justification as to why the composer and work are worth studying. You must indicate which chapter you are adding your example to.
  2. Annotated Bibliography – You will submit an annotated bibliography. It must include at least one book, one peer-reviewed article, one relevant article from Oxford Music Online, and one Internet source. For each source, you will explain why it is reliable and summarize its relevant contents.
  3. Draft – You will submit a complete draft of at least 800 words. In it, you must provide information about your composer, the context in which they lived and worked, and their historical significance. You must also provide an analytical description of your chosen work, including a listening guide. Please also provide a link to a streaming performance and some captioned public-domain images.
  4. Final Submission – Following revisions guided by instructor feedback, you will submit your final project.

Submitted by: Esther Morgan-Ellis

  • Listing ID: 2328
  • Resource Type: Assignment
  • Geographic Area: multiple regions
  • Audience: undergrad, major
  • Century: multiple centuries

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