The relationship between text and music

1) The relationship between text and music in a particular 20th or 21st century vocal work. How does the music reflect the text, how is it different, what is the role of the accompaniment? How does the composer use changes in melody, harmony, rhythm and/or key to portray various emotions, situations, or moods in the work? (Include actual musical examples to prove your point).

2) Discuss how a particular piece of music might be political. Does it critique a particular political figure, or government, or ideology? Is it making a comment on a specific political event, climate, or cause? In what ways does the composer convey its political efficacy? (That is, how does it produce, in sound, the result intended by its composer)?

3) Discuss a piece by a female composer. How does it compare with a similar piece by a male composer (i.e., a string quartet written in the same general time; or two settings of the same poem—is there a difference? What are the important stylistic elements in the work? Discuss what obstacles she had to overcome in achieving compositional success as a woman.

4) Using a specific composer and excerpts from specific pieces discuss the concept of national styles in music (Russian, English, Finnish, Norwegian, Spanish, American, Canadian—choose one). Are there recurring or typical national musical traits (or folk elements) that can be identified? Is there evidence of a mixture of national stylistic features? How is nationalism expressed in this particular composition?

5) Analyze the use of 20th century art music techniques in 20th century popular music – how has 20th century art music influenced late 20th/early 21st century pop music. You must concentrate on the 20th art music techniques and ground your comparison in actual research and/or analysis.

6) Discuss the presence of a particular literary or pictorial theme (and its musical representation) in an opera or programmatic instrumental work. How does the music (harmony, form, texture, performance indication etc.) reflect or support this theme?

7) Discuss the reaction of various 20th century composers (choose one) to Schoenberg or Stravinsky. How did Schoenberg or Stravinsky influence their music—how is this manifest in a particular piece?

8) Discuss the reaction of 20th century and/or contemporary composers to the advent of various technologies —with respect to a specific piece how has technology influenced its composition and aesthetic.

9) Discuss a work by a contemporary living composer. What compositional techniques does this work evince? How does this work relate to compositional techniques used by previous composers?

10) Discuss a work by a contemporary Canadian composer. How does this work promote a particularly Canadian identity? What compositional techniques do they use and how do they relate to those earlier in the twentieth century?

 
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