Concert Review Essay
The concert review is a core requirement in this course. It is due Friday 7/26 by 8pm. During the 8 weeks in which the course takes place, you must attend a full-length concert of popular music, and write a critical analysis based on a variety of issues. ?Popular? here is defined broadly, which could include pop music, blues, hip hop, R&B, jazz, rock music, country music, and other genres. Comprehensive concert listings can be found in The San Diego Reader (free, and at sdreader.com, or find a link in the Online Resources folder on the Course Menu).
The purpose of the concert review is to utilize the tools we develop throughout the course to critically engage with a live musical experience. It is your responsibility to attend an appropriate concert in which music is the main event (musical theatre, church services, and dance performances do not qualify) ? if you?re not sure, send me an email at the Email Dr. Walton link on the Course Menu. For concerts in clubs or cafes, you must stay for at least two sets (2 hours).
After attending the concert you must write a 1000 word minimum essay contextualizing the concert within the matrix of concepts, personalities, and music examined in the course. In general, think of this essay as a ?critical analysis? in which you need to explain the points you are asserting. In this way, the assignment is an ?argumentative? essay. The easiest way to conceptually approach a concert review is to imagine that you are describing the event to someone who is not at all familiar with the music. So, in addition to recounting the context for the concert – the venue, ambiance, and audience, you must also describe what the music sounded like ? the instrumentation, musical style, attitude of the performers, and sound quality.
Please address the following points:
? Date and venue of performance
? Who was performing, and what instruments did they play?
? Describe the ambiance and/or decor of the venue – were there any special effects?
? What was the audience like?
? Describe the attitude of the performers, and clearly define the style of popular music that they played.
? What performers is the music most closely connected to? Identify other artists, bands, or musical styles that may be possible influences on the artists that you heard perform.
? Describe in some detail (with a good paragraph for each), five of the songs/pieces performed, identifying the name of the song, using various musical terms from the course. This is the core of your essay, and should be at least 500 words. For each piece, describe the general character, which could include vibe, tempo, intensity level, degree of improvisation, and performer interaction.
? Did the music communicate to you on a deeper emotional or psychological level – why, or why not? Was there a particular performer (or performers) who you really connected with – why or how?
? How does the performance fit into the development of American popular music ? how does it relate to the American pop tradition as we?ve studied it in this course?
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