Please read this document carefully! A few things of which to take note:
You only need to write ONE REPORT.
The report may be on one OR two concerts. That is your choice.
Two concerts are required for full course credit.
You may email me photos of proof of attendance at concerts (or hand them in if class meets in person).
You are responsible for finding concerts to attend. Go to the link on the upper left and click on Some Places to Hear Live Music.
If you are not sure if a concert is acceptable for the paper, email me the information and I will let you know. Pop, hip hop, singer-songwriter, bachata, merengue, or stadium – style concerts do not count.
Ok, here we go:
Attend a music concert that includes music or composers we have learned about in our class and write a 2â€“3 page report. The music can be from ANY era from class, not just the Classical era. You may write about one or two of the concerts.
What is a concert report?
A concert report should answer the questions what, where, when, who, how, and (if possible) why. It should describe the concert in detail so that the reader will have a strong sense of what happened. In describing the concert, the reporter should select the musical events that seemed the most noteworthy, interesting, and unusual. Each reporter will have his or her opinions, but these are best expressed in descriptive rather than evaluative terms. If you describe the music well, everyone will understand your point of view.
Concert reports must by typed. The report should be organized into an introduction answering the questions what, where, and when (in a general sense) e.g., â€œA concert of the Bronx Symphony took place in the Gould Playhouse at BCC on April 6th at three in the afternoon.â€ There should follow a short description of the hall, the audience, the performers, etc., and any notable observations about the event. The body of the paper should be devoted to the music itself.
You are not obliged to describe every movement of every piece, but you should say something about each composition, e.g., tempo, mood, character, instrumentation, outstanding passages, overall shape, texture, style, etc. A good technique is to write notes about the music in your printed program as you listen. If there are solo performers their performance should be described and characterized. If there is a conductor he or she should be mentioned. If you are reporting on a concert of chamber music you should notice how the performers interact and whether they seem to play well together. After you have described the program you may wish to include some remarks comparing this concert with other musical events you have attended. You may wish to say something about how the concert compared with your expectations. The report should have some sort of conclusion.
The concert report should not contain information copied from the printed program, such as a list of all the performers in the orchestra. Nor should the report include quotations from musicological essays in the printed program. This is not a research paper; it is a report in your own words describing what you observed at the concert. Do not use words whose meaning is unclear to you. Remember that the important thing is to tell the reader what happened.
When discussing the performers please remember that they are interpreting music that was written down by the composer. They are not making up the music as they go along unless they are improvising as per the composer’s instructions. They play the score in much the same way actors speak the lines of a play. Your remarks about the performers should be limited to comments on their interpretation: Did they play or sing in a convincing manner? Did they seem to be in control of what they were doing? Were they dramatic or understated? Did their performance move you?
Proofread your work. Write in the simple past tense. For instance, “The third piece on the concert was the third movement from Haydn’s Third String Quartet.” Subjects and verbs must agree in number. The report will be graded on content, organization, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Reports must be submitted on the due date.
Following Along at the Concert:
One of the hardest tasks is to follow the program – to know where you are in the order of pieces. You will find guidance in the printed program you are given on entering the concert hall. Many musical compositions are divided into movements or independent pieces, much like the chapters of a book or individual songs on a CD. These movements are almost always indicated in the printed program by their tempo indications, i.e., Allegro ma non troppo, Moderato, Andante, Presto, etc. You can find information about what these tempos mean in the book or online. A movement may range in length from a few minutes up to a half hour or more. It is important to try to follow the movement from beginning to end. The best strategy for understanding what you hear is to try to remember the opening of each movement. Thatâ€s when you will hear the initial musical idea. Listen for repetition, variation, and contrast. If you start to daydream and lose track of the form (as almost everyone does) you can usually find your way back if you remember and recognize the beginning themes and/or motives.
Movements are usually separated by pauses of about ten to thirty seconds. Sometimes the players will re-tune their instruments between movements. Experienced concert-goers rarely applaud between movements; they save their applause for the end of the last movement of the piece. The performers are trained to ignore applause between movements and will only bow at the end of the piece. Sometimes a group of songs or short compositions will be listed together in the program. These should be listened to as if they were movements in a longer composition. Look for hints in the music that will tell where you are. If a movement is marked Allegro the tempo will be fast, if marked Largo it will be slow. If the movement is from a vocal work, listen to the words, even if they are in a language you donâ€t understand you may hear words you recognize from the title. Look for orchestrational or stylistic traits that are normal for the period when the piece was writtenâ€”a harpsichord usually means Baroque music, lots of dissonance usually means twentieth century music. Try to feel the mood of each movement; sometimes there will be a clear change of mood within a movement as one section ends and another begins.
Reading the Program:
The printed program usually lists the title of the work and the key it is in, followed by an Opus number e.g., Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67. On the right side of the page are the composerâ€s name and dates, e.g., Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827). Underneath the title the movements will be listed in order: 1. Allegro con brio, 2. Andante con moto, 3. Scherzo e Trio, Allegro, and 4. Finale, Allegro, Trio, Presto. If the concert is devoted to the works of one composer that fact will be explained in the program. If the program has a theme – music about nature, or folk song arrangements, or musical theater songs from 17th century London – that theme will be noted in the program. Try to be aware of any factors that unify a musical program.
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