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1. You will submit an analysis comparing two pieces of music from different genres. For example, you may choose a classical piece and a popular piece; a North Indian classical piece and an Arabic piece; a piece of contemporary electronic dance music and a country song, etc. This is not a formal essay, so you need only use citations if you borrow ideas or material from other sources. You can also use first person in your writing. Your analysis should be 700 words in length.
2. Listen carefully to the pieces several times, focusing on elements of pitch, rhythm, scales, harmony, and any other musical elements you think are relevant, including timbre, form, or gesture.
Use the following questions to guide your listening and analysis:
How do the two pieces differ in their approach to surface rhythms? Do they both use complex, busy surface rhythms?
Is the meter easily discernable? Do they use the same meter throughout? Is it a common meter?
Is the rhythm straight or does it swing? Is it consistent throughout?
What instruments are used to support the rhythmic structure of the music?
How would you describe the tempo of each piece? Is the tempo consistent throughout for each piece?
Does the rhythm support the piece or drive the piece? Is it the focus of attention or does it sit in the background?
What is the range of pitches used in the pieces? Are all the notes very high? Very low? Somewhere in the middle? Do different instruments occupy different ranges (e.g., bass very low, voice very high)?
Do you think the pieces are in a major or a minor key?
Do the pieces use scales or pitches that can’t be easily classified as major or minor (e.g., microtonal pitch material, Arabic maqam, jazz modes, atonal or chromatic pitch material, etc.)?
Is the texture of the pieces homophonic, monophonic, polyphonic, or heterophonic? Does the texture remain consistent throughout the pieces?
What is the surface rhythm of the melodies like? Do the melodies move quickly or slowly? Are scales used as material for technical complexity or primarily as melodic material?
Do the pieces have any harmonic elements? (Remember that many genres of music outside Western classical music don’t feature harmonic elements as we know them.)
Is the major or minor key easy to discern? Does it remain consistent?
Do the pieces sound tonal? Do they produce dissonance by moving outside the basic tonal chords?
Do the chords sound more complex or dissonant than basic triads and dominant seventh chords?
Are the chords restricted to one instrument, like a guitar, or are several instruments playing the chords?
Are the chords played as solid chords or as arpeggios?
How do these pieces demonstrate the use of sonic functions as described by 12-tone in the video about Taylor Swift? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQGCs9JA4oY
What are the different timbres used in these pieces?
How do these pieces differ in the way they use form?
If there are vocals, how do they contribute to the overall musical impact of the piece? Are the lyrics particularly powerful? Are the sounds of certain words given particular melodic or rhythmic emphasis? Do the vocalist(s) have a unique vocal timbre?