[SOLVED] Musicological Article

[SOLVED] Musicological Article

Musicological Article This week you have two assignment options. The first prompt is to write a short essay based
on a musicological article connected to the theme of the week’s class, allowing you to dig
deeper into the topic that we have covered in this week’s lecture. This week, I would highly
recommend this option for singers, and/or those who have a strong interest in opera,
and/or students who are interested in music business and economics. The prompt asks you
to consider reasons behind the enduring appeal of bel canto opera houses in today’s opera
The second prompt is a guided research assignment, which allows you to conduct
preliminary research for your final project.
Options for both prompts are provided below. (Option 2 starts on pg. 4).
Option 1 – Essay on Bel Canto Arias and the Opera Business

Italian bel canto opera is big business. It has appealed to audiences since the midnineteenth century, and it continues to financially sustain opera houses around the globe
today. Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma is a case in point: a new production of Bellini’s classic
opened the 2017-18 season of the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, and its most
famous aria—Norma’s Druid Prayer “Casta Diva”—has become a marketable commodity in
its own right, incorporated into the repertoire of the most famous singers.
In this week’s assignment, you will use Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma (1831) to consider why the
musical formulas that made Bellini’s opera so popular in the nineteenth century continue to
resonate with opera-going audiences in the present day. To focus your essay you will pick a
performance of Norma’s aria “Casta Diva,” and consider the ways in which your chosen
singer interprets Bellini’s music. You have five performances to choose from (all the videos
are on GauchoSpace). Each of these performances is detached from the opera, and has
been marketed in its own right. Pick One:
• Marian Anderson performing for National Radio Broadcast in the U.S.A, 1943.
• Maria Callas recording for National Radio Broadcast in Italy, 1957.
• Leontyne Price in a recording with the London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, 1980.
• Renée Fleming performing in concert at the Palace of the Czars in Saint Petersburg,
Russia, 2010.
• Kimmy Skota performing for an opera gala in Maastricht, Netherlands, 2012.
Once you have chosen your performance, you can decide on one of two approaches for
your short essay:
• An essay in which you focus on your chosen performer’s version of the aria, and how
it connects back to ways that bel canto opera was performed in the nineteenth
• An essay that uses this performance as a lens for examining the continued
commercial success of this aria (and this opera) in the present day.
Regardless of which focus you pick, your aim is to write a short essay in which you draw out
the historical precedents for this aria, and reflect on the continued relevance of these
precedents for present day opera performances. As you prepare your assignment, you will
want to compare the score and the libretto for the aria to your chosen performance, and
then think about the connections to Hilary Poriss’s discussion of “trunk arias” in the article
you read for section this week.
You will need to have a thesis for your essay, and include evidence that considers several
reasons why bel canto opera arias remain marketable with opera-going audiences. To come
up with a thesis, consider the following questions (some of which you will likely want to
address within your essay as well!):
• The aria is in bel canto style. What parts of this style stand out to you when you are
listening, and how would you describe the music for these sections? How has your
chosen singer inflected this music in her own voice and style? What is it about the
music that makes this aria captivating for audiences?
• Where is your chosen singer performing? Who is the intended audience (radio
listeners, gala attendees, market sales), and what might this tell us about the ways
that bel canto opera is marketed?
• Think about the original production and performance context (use Hilary Poriss as a
guide here): to what extent does your chosen performance continue some of these
conventions? Where are the differences? To what extent are these conventions
taking on new forms in your chosen performance?
• Think about the original purpose of this aria within the opera. Do you think the
“drama” of the original plot plays a role in this aria’s continued marketability, or
have audiences reconceived of the “drama” in this aria and placed it elsewhere?
• Why (and how) do you think this aria continues to capture its audiences in the
present day?
You will need to consult the following resources to complete this assignment:
– Lectures for Week 9 of Music 10B.
– Score for Vincenzo Bellini, Norma – “Casta Diva.”
– Article: Hillary Poriss, “Making their way through the World: Italian One-Hit
Wonders,” Nineteenth-Century Music 24, No. 3 (2001): 192–224.
– [Optional] Essay: Russell Platt, “Norma and the MET Opera’s Leading Ladies,” The
New Yorker (September 29, 2017).
– Recording of your chosen rendition of “Casta Diva” (links on gauchospace).
This is not a research paper: you do not need to consult any sources beyond this list.
Aims and Expectations
Your essay should be between 600 and 750 words (2–3pages), though you can write up to
900 words if you would like. You should have a thesis, evidence, counterevidence, and a
conclusion. Include at least one paragraph where you discuss specific musical content using
the appropriate terminology: do not be wishy-washy and vague! You will be graded on your
writing style, your ability to present an argument about the historical precedents for bel
canto’s opera’s continued success and support your argument with evidence, and your
incorporation of feedback from earlier assignments.
• Use Times New Roman, 12pt font with one-inch margins in your document.
• Save your work as an MSWord doc with the title Your Last Name_10B Week 9
Assignment (for example: Sprigge_10B Assignment 9). Submit to GauchoSpace by
the assignment deadline.
• For Citations:
o When you cite Poriss, put her name in parentheses at the end of the sentence
with the citation, and include the page number for your reference (e.g. Poriss,
o When you refer to specific moments in the score, use measure numbers.
o When you make to connections to lectures from Music 10B, cite using the
following format (Music 10B Winter 2021, Week 9, Lecture #).
o When you refer to specific moments in the performance you have chosen,
use minute and second markings from the YouTube clip.

Option 2 – Guided Research Assignment
Complete this assignment using the template provided on GauchoSpace.

For the final project in Music 10B, you have the option to choose between four pathways: a
topical essay, a thematic recital, an expanding the canon program, or a “choose your own
adventure” option for those who want to pitch a different format (you will need approval
from Dr. Sprigge first!). Regardless of which pathway you choose, you will need to do some
research for your final project, and you will be discussing at least one piece of music written
during the time frame for this course (1745 to 1848).
This assignment helps you prepare for the final project by leading you through guided
research based on one composer who will be part of your final project and one of the works
they composed. Though you might end up including more than one composer in your final
project, this prompt will be a good starting point, and you can build on what you do for this
prompt in week 10. In addition to preparing you for the final project, this assignment gives
you practice at conducting research—a skill that might serve you well in a range of contexts
during your degree, and hopefully beyond as well.
Choose one piece of music that will be part of your final project. If you are struggling to find
a piece (or a composer), consider focusing on one of the people and/or genres that we’ve
been studying over the past few weeks, and take this opportunity to explore music by the
so-called “Romantic Generation.”1 The romantic generation includes: Vincenzo Bellini,
Hector Berlioz, Frédéric Chopin, Josephine Lang, Franz Liszt, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel,
Felix Mendelssohn, Franz Schubert, Clara Schumann, and Robert Schumann.2
Once you have chosen a composer that will be part of your final project, follow the
guidelines below to complete the research template provided (download this template
from GauchoSpace).
Step 1 – Basic Information
Pick a piece by your composer van that you have not performed (and/or listened to, and/or
analyzed) before. Look the composer up in Richard Taruskin’s Oxford History of Western
Music (available online through the library: a link is on GauchoSpace, in the “Web
Resources for Music History” forum), and find the music (score) for the work you would like
1 Charles Rosen, The Romantic Generation (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995).
2 A general marker for the “romantic generation” in European music history is a composer born
between 1795 and 1815, thus allowing them to engage with the literary, visual, and musical currents of
Romanticism. Note that the term “Romantic” does not apply to music from the entire nineteenth century.
to look at. If you need ideas for works, look the composer up on the Grove Dictionary of
Music and Musicians.
– To submit:
o List the important information for the piece, including: the title, the key, the
number of movements, the date of composition, the genre of the work, and
where the composer was working when they wrote it (city).
o Give the bibliographic information for the score you have found using the
Chicago Manual of Style.
o Write a brief summary of what the textbook tells you about the composer,
and an explanation of why you chose this work (beyond the obvious
assignment requirement!).
– To help you prepare:
o Look at the Taruskin book to read his discussion of your chosen composer.
o Use Grove Music Online to find a list of your composer’s works and an
overview of their career.
o You could also ask your teacher/conductor/professors for suggestions, or
check out the list of music used in movies on the International Movie
Database (IMDB).
Step 2 – Listening
On Naxos, Spotify, Apple Music or YouTube find recordings of the piece you have chosen.
Make conscious choices: think about the demographics of your chosen performers and
consider diversity as you are choosing your performances.
– To submit: List the performer, the year of the recording, and how you accessed the
recording. And then …
o If the piece you have chosen is fifteen minutes long or less (e.g. a single song,
a character piece): Submit a short (1 paragraph maximum) summary of two
performances, noting similarities and differences (for example: tempo
differences, balance between performers, types of instruments, setting, etc.).
Note that your performances don’t have to be dramatically different
interpretations of the work!
o If the piece you have chosen is longer than fifteen minutes (e.g. a symphony,
a song cycle, an act of an opera): Submit a short (1 paragraph maximum)
summary of one performance, noting the characteristics of the piece and its
interpretation (as you would do in class).
Step 3 – Research
Using the resources I have listed below (under “research resources”), find one of each of
the following types of sources that mentions your composer and/or the piece you have
MUSIC, AND RILM OR JSTOR INSTEAD. All of these resources are available online through
the library: use the search function or for RILM and JSTOR, click on “databases” and search
by letter name. (I know, putting this in capitals might seem like a bit much… but if there’s
one thing you take away from this class, I hope it’s the ability to find and discern accurate
Provide full citations for each type of resource using Chicago Manual of Style formatting. A
guide to the Chicago Manual of Style is available on GauchoSpace, and also through CLAS.
Submit a one-to-two sentence summary of each resource as outlined below:
1. A piece of scholarly writing that contains biographical details about your chosen
composer (could be a stand-alone book, an essay within a book, or an article).
o Provide a one-to-two sentence summary of this reference(s): what is this
source? How does the author discuss the composer’s biography (e.g. as the
sole focus of their writing, to situate their analysis of a specific work, as part of
the cultural context they’re describing).
o HINT: DO NOT USE WIKIPEDIA FOR THIS! Instead, start with either the
Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians: each entry has a bibliography that
you can use as a starting point for research. If there’s not a full stand-alone
biography of the composer published, use the Grove entry for this stage of
the assignment instead. Or try using JSTOR (available online through the
library): JSTOR is a repository with links to major scholarly journals,
2. A scholarly article written within the past 15 years that mentions your composer or
your chosen piece.
o Give a one-to-two sentence summary about the topic of the article or the
context the composer/piece is mentioned.
o HINT: Start with JSTOR or RILM, but be sure to narrow your choices to
“articles.” You could also look at the “further readings” at the end of the
relevant chapter in Taruskin.
3. A scholarly book or essay that is not a biography of your chosen composer written
within the past 15 years (either that mentions your piece or the genre of the work
you’ve chosen).
o Give a one-to-two sentence summary about the topic of the article or the
context the piece is mentioned.
o HINT: RILM will help here. You might also put the work you’re looking at into
google books – note that you’re not necessarily looking for biographies of
the composer, but anything where they are referenced and discussed.
4. [If you can find one]: A public news article that mentions your composer (can be a
music specialist news resource like a classical music website, a radio station website,
or a general news resource like NPR, the NY, Chicago, or LA Times, or even
magazines like the Atlantic or the New Yorker).
o Give a one-to-two sentence summary about the type of article you have
found (for example: review of a concert or recording, opinion piece,
biography, reconsideration of the composer, etc.).
5. A website for a classical musical organization or performer (anywhere in the world)
that is performing/has performed music by your chosen composer in the past 5 years
(or has plans to this season or next).
o Give a one-to-two sentence summary of what and where the
organization/performer is, and what works they are programming (if they’re
programming a lot of the composers works, give the main genre).
6. A primary source (i.e. from the time the composer was alive) that mentions activities
around the time the composer was writing your piece.
o Examples could include: a concert program, an essay from a music journal, a
painting or a daguerreotype (=an early type of photograph), a review in a
newspaper, a diary entry, a letter, a musical treatise. This is not a finite list!
o Give a one-to-two sentence summary about what the source is and where you
found it.
o HINT: This might be the trickiest part of the assignment. Try using RISM as a
starting point here (available through the library’s databases) to see if the
composer had letters or other types of written sources. You can also look at
secondary sources, like the books and articles you found in stages 2 and 3,
and see what primary sources these authors are using. Another option would
be to try online archives of performance organizations that date back to the
nineteenth century. Finally, you could check out ARTSTOR to see if you can
find a painting or daguerreotype (= an early type of photograph)
7. One other source of any format that mentions your composer or your chosen piece.
o This can be another source in one of the formats listed above, or something
completely different (e.g. a blog essay, a pedagogy resource, a dissertation, a
scholarly source that falls outside of the temporal parameters I listed above).
Step 4: Reflection
What have you learned about the process of researching and listening to the composer and
piece you’ve chosen so far? What questions does the research you’ve done for this
assignment leave you with – about the piece, about the composer, about the time period
and location in which they were working, about classical concert programming in the 21st
century, about ideas for your final project? You might also reflect on which parts of the
assignment you found easier, which presented the most difficulties for you, and why that
might be the case.
– To Submit: One paragraph (ca. 250 words), double spaced.
Aims and Expectations:
This assignment helps you develop research skills that will be useful for writing about music
in a range of formats in this course and in your future careers. The prompt is laid out as a
step-by-step guide for getting started on music research. You get credit for showing your
work at each stage. Along the way, you will gain experience working with a number of key
music databases, academic research guides, the library catalog, and public musicology
websites. These are crucial resources for musicologists, music theorists, performers, music
journalists, and music lovers alike. In this way, the template is more than an assignment
prompt: you can adapt for a range of purposes down the line (for example: preparing
program notes, expanding your repertoire, writing research papers and grant proposals,
concert programing, and much more).
Complete all of the stages I have laid out above on the template provided. You will be
graded on carrying out the stages outlined above and presenting your findings in a tidy and
organized fashion (including Chicago style citations) and giving the relevant details for each
of these stages. For sections where you are writing in full sentences and paragraphs, we will
evaluate your writing style.

Assignment Formatting:
– Use the template provided on GauchoSpace for this research assignment. This will
ensure that your formatting is clear and that you’ve completed all of the assignment
– There is information about how to cite using Chicago style on GauchoSpace (follow
the links), or through UCSB’s CLAS website.
– Save your work as an MSWord doc with the title Your Last Name_10B Assignment 9
(for example: Sprigge_10B Assignment 9). Submit to GauchoSpace by the
assignment deadline.

Research Resources:
You will likely not use all of these resources (and you may use others not listed here), but
you will find it helpful to know about the following materials as you go through this
– The list of “Web Resources for Musicology” available on GauchoSpace.
– Off-campus Login to the library website, so that you can access the following web
o Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
o Naxos Music Library
o RILM (Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale) – bibliographic
information for music research.
o RISM (Répertoire International des Sources Musicales) – database for primary
o JSTOR – lots of pdfs of journal articles.
– The Music Library, so that you can find:
o Books! (I know… radical) and Scores. Many of these are available online
through an emergency lending program.
o You could also e-mail the music librarian, Dr. Folk-Farber, who might be able
to help you with resources.
– Public (Musicology) Resources:
o Arts Columns of the New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post,
LA Times, Chicago Tribute, Boston Globe, other major-city newspapers
o Websites of the Avid Listener, VAN Magazine, Not Another Music History
Cliché! Blog
o Websites for classical performance organizations (e.g. Chicago Symphony, LA
Philharmonic, LA Chorale, New York Philharmonic, Camerata Pacifica, etc.)
o Websites for individual performers (with concert schedules, for example) https://www.plagiarism.org/article/citation-styles

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