Instructions: Your task is to attend and observe a music event, and analyze it as part of a music-culture; then to share your experience in a short talk, as well as create a brief ethnography
(written documentation) of the musical expression.
Select a performance of live music this semester, at either an event sponsored by the university or off-campus. We will discuss your topic in class during the month of February. You may attend
any type of event in which music is performed, including but not limited to: religious services on or off campus, cultural shows, sporting events, dances, weddings, karaoke, performances by the
Music Department’s ensembles, street music, etc.
Decide soon what performance you will attend, including: the date and location, genre of music, names of performers (if known). In addition, think of and write out (at least) five preliminary
questions — pertaining to the performance, the music, and/or the community/culture — for which you hope to find answers in the course of attending the performance. You do not need to list
these in your paper.
Attend this performance of music. Be sure to arrive early and stay until the end of the performance.
Observe various aspects of the performance, try to answer your Preliminary Questions, and include summaries of both of the following areas in your report:
Genre, Musicians, Music, Ensemble
• What is the genre of music?
• What are the names of the composers of the music? When did they live?
• Who are the musicians, and what is their group’s name?
• What instruments are being played? In what textures?
• Are there solos? Solos with ensembles? Only ensemble playing?
• How long are the pieces of music? How many pieces?
• Is there much repetition?
• Do the musicians improvise or play composed music, or both?
• What rhythms can you count? What are the tempos? Is there variety?
Context, Audience, Interaction, Behavior
• What is the physical space where the music happens? Describe it.
• What is the setting and context of the performance?
• Is there anything unusual about the performance?
• How does the audience behave? Are they all doing similar things?
• Describe the behavior of musicians and audience – imagine your reader has never
been to any concerts and has no way of knowing how people act.
• What do some of the musicians and/or audience members and/or event staff have to
say to you? Interview them if possible.
• How do musicians and audience interact?
• What is the purpose and meaning of the performance?
• Is a community formed because of the show? Is it re-affirmed by the show?
Describe the concert for someone who has never heard this type of music; that is, assume that your reader has no knowledge of the performance genre or community.
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