MUSC 11D: Introduction to World Music

Learning Goal: I’m working on a music writing question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.

Assignment #1: Close Listening

Over the course of the next two weeks, pay attention and find two different contexts where you hear musical sound. This can be a live music event, such as somebody busking on the street, or music playing on the overhead speakers at a store or restaurant. Observe and take note of your surroundings, then answer the following questions about each of those musical interactions. Please write your answers in complete sentences.

Musical interaction #1:

  1. Where and when did you hear music?
  2. What kind/genre of music was it? If known, list performer, genre, and song title(s).
  3. Describe the musical sounds. (i.e. What instruments/voices did you hear? Was the

volume loud/soft? What kinds of timbre did you hear?)

4. How is the musical experience delimited? (That is to say, is the music ongoing or does it have a specific start/end time? How do you know it is over? Is it contained in a specific space, like a concert hall or cafe?

5. Describe the setting. Did you hear this music indoors or outdoors? Did the setting impact how you interacted with the music? What connection and/or impact does the music have to the setting and what is happening there? How did external sounds from the environment impact your listening experience?

6. If the music was performed live, describe the performers and how they are

distinguished from audience members. (Are they dressed differently? On stage? Behind security?)

7. Did you observe others listening to the same music? If so, how did they interact with the sound? Were they engaged in other activities besides active listening?

8. If the music was mediated (pre-recorded audio or video), describe the type of media and how listeners are expected to interact with the media and respond to the music. (Are they expected to quietly listen, to sing along, or to avoid singing along?)

Musical Interaction #2 (please answer the same questions)

    1. Where and when did you hear music?
    2. What kind/genre of music was it? If known, list performer, genre, and song title(s).
    3. Describe the musical sounds. (i.e. What instruments/voices did you hear? Was the

volume loud/soft? What kinds of timbre did you hear?)

4. How is the musical experience delimited? (That is to say, is the music ongoing or does it have a specific start/end time? How do you know it is over? Is it contained in a specific space, like a concert hall or cafe?

5. Describe the setting. Did you hear this music indoors or outdoors? Did the setting impact how you interacted with the music? What connection and/or impact does the music have to the setting and what is happening there? How did external sounds from the environment impact your listening experience?

6. If the music was performed live, describe the performers and how they are

distinguished from audience members. (Are they dressed differently? On stage? Behind security?)

7. Did you observe others listening to the same music? If so, how did they interact with the sound? Were they engaged in other activities besides active listening?

8. If the music was mediated (pre-recorded audio or video), describe the type of media and how listeners are expected to interact with the media and respond to the music. (Are they expected to quietly listen, to sing along, or to avoid singing along?)

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