What kinds of expectations might audience members have had when encountering a new work in this genre?

Published by Jeannie R. Ferrell

Nov 18, 2022


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In an essay of at least three pages, present and defend a clearly articulated thesis regarding the cultural significance and meaning of a musical work in the classical tradition. The essay should examine one of the following works:
1. Dvorak: String quartet in F major, Op. 96 ( American)
2. Chen/He: Butterfly Lover Violin Concerto
3. Williams: Imperial March, from The Empire Strikes Back
4. Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker, Two Dances ( Dance of the Sugar Plum and Trepak)
5. Schubert: Elf-King
Additional research about the work and its composer outside of the textbook will be necessary to complete this assignment.
The essay should be organized around a central thesis that is clearly stated in the introduction. The essay should integrate the following issues and material into the development of this thesis:
1. Identify a cultural theme or value exemplified by the work you have chosen, and link this theme or value to the sociopolitical context in which the work was produced. Why is this theme or value of relevance to the production of this work?
2. Who composed the work? Describe at least three important aspects of this composer’s social and cultural environment that shaped his or her professional life.
3. To what period in music history does this work belong? Define at least three important aspects of the musical style of this period. In broad terms, how does this work reflect the cultural, aesthetic, and/or political values of this period?
4. What is the genre of the work (i.e. opera, cantata, program symphony, etc.)? What are the basic characteristics and historical background of this genre? What kinds of expectations might audience members have had when encountering a new work in this genre?
Select at least one movement or extended section of the work and describe its distinctive stylistic, dramatic, and/or formal aspects as they relate to the cultural and aesthetic values of the period.
The paper should be organized clearly by stating and developing a central thesis across the essay, supported by detailed description and examples. It should be proofread carefully and have no significant errors in grammar, syntax, and spelling. The essay should be at least three pages (1000 words or more) in length and should indicate ALL sources consulted in a bibliography.


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