Music Theory/History and Literature of the 20th Century

Length and FormatThe term paper should be 7-10 pages in length (double spaced, with 12-point Times New Roman font and 1-inch margins).Format the paper using the Chicago Manual of Style (footnotes and bibliography). Use The Chicago Manual of Style and A Manual for Writers, 8th Edition by Kate L. Turabian as guides. Both of these resources are available in the Biola University Library.
SourcesYou will need a minimum of five sources IN ADDITION TO any entries in the Grove Dictionary of Music that you might consult in order to write a satisfactory paper of 7-10 pages. Proper use of appropriate sources will factor into your grade.
TopicsYour paper should discuss some element or elements of art music as practiced in Western Civilization during the 20th century. Your paper should include both historical and analytical components, though how much you focus on each of these areas will differ depending on your topic and the aspects of that topic you discuss.If you choose to focus mostly on analysis of one or more compositions, you should put the music in its historical context. The historical context will include such things as information about the composer relevant to the music studied; influences on the composer relevant to the music studied; the cultural, political, social, religious or other context in which the music was written when relevant; and the impact of the music on other composers, compositions, other art forms, and society.
If you choose to focus mostly on historical, social, political or other matters, you need to connect these areas to one or more specific pieces of music and explain how your topic is relevant to this music. For instance, if you write a paper about the limitations and pressures on composers in Soviet Russia you might focus mainly on Soviet laws and guidelines for artists, and personal recollections of composers. Nevertheless, your paper also should refer to specific compositions created in Soviet Russia and discuss how they were shaped by the realities within which they were composed.Below are general suggestions for paper topics. You may use these as starting points, or come up with your own topic. If you take this latter route, make sure to meet with me about the topic early in your research process to verify that it is a viable and acceptable topic.
1. Focus on a particular aspect or a few related aspects of one composer’s work. Be careful that you do NOT just give a broad overview of a composer’s life and what he or she composed. Your paper should have a narrower focus than that, and should probe deeper than merely providing a basic composer biography and listing the names and types of compositions he or she wrote.
Poor topic: The life and music of Dmitri ShostakovichThis would only work if you were writing a 500-page book.Possible topic: Shostakovich’s atonal musicIn order to write a successful paper on this topic you would need to figure out a specific point or points to make about this atonal music so that you avoid merely listing the relevant pieces and giving a blow-by-blow description of them. A plausible solution would be to focus on influences on Shostakovich’s atonal music, particular musical features, and the social and political ramifications of writing it.Good topic: Did Shostakovich include coded protests against the Soviet government in his music?Such a paper would investigate the research on both sides of the issue (on the one hand, evidence that he incorporated such coded messages and on the other hand research that argues against his incorporating such messages), and then draw a conclusion based on this investigation (i.e., given the evidence, what is most likely true about the situation)?
2. The interaction of music and politicsDiscuss the relationship between music and political systems and events in the 20th C. You would want to focus on a particular political system, a particular political event, or the interaction of the music of one composer with politics.A possible focus might be…Music in Soviet RussiaMusic in relation to a particular war (WWI, WWII, Vietnam War)Richard Strauss and the Nazi regime
3. The interaction of music and dance in the 20th CMany prominent 20th-century composers collaborated with prominent choreographers and dancers. Discuss some aspect of this phenomenon (e.g., the collaboration of a particular composer with a particular dancer; the role of dance on the development of a composer’s compositional style).
4. The interaction of music and visual arte.g., Debussy and impressionist painting (How was Debussy influenced by impressionist painters? How does his music demonstrate the artistic outlook and goals evident in impressionist paintings?)
5. NationalismNationalism was an important element of the music of many composers in the 20th century. Discuss nationalism in conjunction with one or more composers and pieces.
6. Influence of folk songs, jazz and popular musica. Investigate the influence of folk songs, jazz, and/or popular music on a particular composer, group of composers, artistic movement, etc. Some composers who are relevant in this context are Bartók, Kodály, Stravinsky, Milhaud, Vaughn Williams, Ives, Copland, and many others.
b. The impact of ethnomusicology on the compositions of a particular composer or school of composition (e.g., Cecil Sharp and his impact on British music).7. Emulation of earlier composers and/or styles by composers of the 20th Ce.g., the impact of Bach on the music of Villa-Lobose.g., Demonstrate how the neoclassical works of a particular composer or related group of composers both emulate and update Baroque or Classical music.
8. The use of quotations in compositionsA number of 20th-century composers incorporated quotations of compositions (by earlier composers, by contemporary composers, and by themselves) in their own compositions. You could investigate the use of such quotations in the works of a single composer (WHAT quotations were used, HOW were they used and WHY were they used), the use of such quotations by a particular group of composers, or some other aspect of this phenomenon.
Some suggestions for finding and narrowing down a topic
1a. Browse through one or more of the following (or similar) books, looking for a composer or topic that seems interesting to you:Wright/Simms textbook, chapters 63-83
Machlis, Joseph. Introduction to Contemporary Music. New York: Norton, 1979.call number = Ml197.M11 1979Morgan, Robert P. Twentieth-century Music: A History of Musical Style in Modern Europe and America. New York: Norton, 1991.call number = ML197.M675 1990Simms, Bryan. Music of the Twentieth Century: Style and Structure. New York: Schirmer Books, 1996.call number = ML197.S585 1996Weiss, Piero, and Richard Taruskin. Music in the Western World: A History in Documents. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Schirmer, 2008.call number = ML160.M865 2008
1b. think about what music, artistic movements that impacted music, composers, or other relevant individuals you find interesting.
From your above search, make a list of names or terms. Next proceed to numbers 2 and 3.
2. To find general information about topics you find interesting, and to help you further narrow down or solidify your topic, consult the articles in the Grove Dictionary about the names or terms on your list. Grove Music Online can be found in the Articles and Databases section on the Biola library website. A hard copy of the Grove Dictionary can be found in the reference section of the library.
3. Look at the following to help you further narrow down or solidify your topic and to determine if you will be able to find enough good sources:a. Worldcatb. RILMc. JSTORd. Proquest research librarye. Proquest dissertations and theses
4. I will be happy to meet with you to brainstorm paper topics or to discuss the viability of a paper topic. However, make an appointment only AFTER you have tried numbers 1a and 1b above, so that you have at least a general idea of some topics or composers you find interesting.
Some general suggestions and advice:1. START EARLY so that you will have ample time to decide on a topic, acquire your sources (some of which you may have to acquire through interlibrary loan), read and digest the information in your sources, compile the information you need from each one to address the topic of discussion you have chosen, edit carefully, and put together any musical examples, tables and figures you need.
2. DO NOT use any of the following, as they are NOT ACCEPTABLE resources for anacademic paper:a. Wikipedia. Wikipedia is quite helpful for learning about topics. But it is NOT an appropriate source for an academic paper.b. Blogs, on-line reviews, other websites. Unless you are writing a paper evaluating current popular opinion about a topic, do not use blogs. The same goes for on-line reviews. In general, avoid websites, unless there is a good reason to think a particular website is an excellent source of reliable information (e.g., it is the website of a recognized expert on the topic you are discussing).
3. Ask for help, suggestions and advice throughout the writing process. I am happy to meet with you to help you narrow down a research topic, to discuss the viability of a paper topic or how to go about doing research, or to help solve any problems you might encounter.
Some suggestions to help in the process of writing the paper:1. When taking notes from your sources, MAKE SURE to distinguish between quotations of a source and paraphrases or summaries of a source. Either quote the source directly in your notes (to be used as a quotation in your paper, or so that as you are writing the paper you know precisely what your source said so that you can use the idea but restate it in your own words) OR take the time as you are taking notes to digest the information completely, set aside the source, and then restate the relevant portion of it in your own words. Either way, make sure you clearly note the title and page number of your source so you can correctly cite it in your paper. If you do not do so, you could very easily inadvertently plagiarize a source (either by unknowingly quoting it directly without indicating it is a quotation, or by unknowingly paraphrasing too closely) or cite it incorrectly.
2. Make sure you have a thesis statement, and make sure the body of your paper works to support your thesis statement. In other words, you should have a clearly-defined point you are trying to make, and all the information in the body of your paper should support that point in some way.
3. Use the resources of the writing center. In addition, provided you give me ample time, I am happy to look over an outline or a draft and give advice. But do not approach me for the first time the day before the paper is due for such help.
4. Edit thoroughly. Starting early will give you ample time to edit well. Poor editing (leading to poor syntax, incorrect grammar or incorrect spelling) will result in a lower grade on the assignment.Rely on your mind, not solely on spell-check or grammar-check, to find errors. Read through the paper to make sure it makes sense, flows well, and that you support your thesis statement while avoiding random, extraneous information. Have a friend read through the paper with these same things in mind. Reading the paper out loud can be especially helpful.