Sonata no. 2 John Cage
1 Play this recording for friends who are not familiar with Cage’s prepared pianos and ask them to identify the instrument(s) they hear. What are their responses, and what do those responses suggest about Cage’s aesthetic goals in writing for prepared piano?
Yardbird Suite Charlie Parker
1 Keeping in mind that this is a mid-tempo bebop record, compare Yardbird Suite with Lester Leaps In, definitely an up-tempo swing record. What are the similarities and differences, not only in the solos but in the role of each instrument in the ensemble?
“El cayuco” Tito Puente and His Orchestra
1 How does the sound of Puente’s band differ from the sound of jazz ensembles studied so far?
2 On the basis of what you can hear, how important would you say improvisation is in this music?
3 What is the balance of vocal sections to instrumental sections in “el cayuco,” and what does that imply about the role of singers in Latin dance music?
“Tonight” Quintet, from West Side Story Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim
1 What aspects of the “Tonight” ensemble add to its operatic effect, and what aspects deem definitely non-operatic? How does each set of attributes help or hinder the dramatic situation?
Chapter 15 Reflection Questions
1 What effect did émigré composers have on music in the postwar United States?
2 What factors led to a widening gap between postwar composers and the audience for classical music?
3 How does bebop differ from swing, and how do those differences account for the shrinking audience for jazz in the postwar years?
4 Compare modern jazz with the music in the postwar classical sphere.
5 Is Bernstein’s argument for the musical as an American classical art form convincing? Why or why not?
Chapter 17 Listening Questions
“It’s Mighty Dark to Travel” Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys
1 Like bebop in relation to swing, bluegrass continues earlier string-band styles, but with a generally faster tempo, greater emphasis on virtuosity, and heightened intensity (despite the impassive vocal delivery). What aspects of American life in the 1940s might have contributed to the appeal of these new, supercharged styles?
“Lost Highway” Hank Williams
1 What aspects of the performance reinforce the mood of the lyrics, and what aspects seem to work against that mood? What would be the song’s effect if the latter aspects were either eliminated or changed to agree with the former?
“Good Rocking Tonight” Wynonie Harris
1 Although each chorus follows the traditional 12-bar blues chord progression, the lyrics do not conform to the archetypal AAB format (as in “St. Louis Blues”). Instead, certain points in each chorus allow for new lyrics, and others are always the same and thus constitute a refrain. Examine the lyrics and consider their pattern; how might each chorus be described as a verse-and-chorus structure?
“School Day” Chuck Berry
1 What arguments could be made for and against the following statement? “When the thirty-year-old Chuck Berry wrote a song about high school, he was selling out by merely pandering to the teen market instead of expressing his own artistic ideas.”’
“If I Had a Hammer” Pete Seeger
1 In the space of two words near the end of each stanza (“sisters / All”) the melody quickly moves from its lowest note to its highest. What is the interval between the two? Does that wide interval, unusal in a song designed for group singing by amateur musicians, make the song hard to sing? Why or why not?
“Only a Pawn in Their Game” Bob Dylan
1 Compare Dylan’s performance with Woody Guthrie’s rendition of “So Long, Its Been Good to Know You.” Consider vocal style, guitar technique, rhythm and phrasing, and any other aspects that catch your attention.
2 Compare the music, lyrics, and social function of “If I Had a Hammer,” the other topical song in this chapter, with those of this song.
Chapter 17 Reflection Questions
1 What features distinguish the new popular styles of the postwar era—bluegrass, honky-tonk, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll—from mainstream popular music? What similarities tie them to that mainstream?
2 In what ways was rock and roll a distinctly new genre in the 1950s? In what ways was it a continuation of earlier styles?
3 What were the principal trends in folk music after World War II? What social and political developments are reflected in the subject matter of the new topical folk songs?
Chapter 18 Listening Questions
“My Favorite Things” John Coltrane
1 Listen to this song as it appears on a Broadway cast recording or the film soundtrack of The Sound of Music (I’m sure it is on YouTube). What features of the song do Coltrane and his musicians retain in their version, and what features seem entirely different?
“Todas las tardes en Granada” from Ancient Voices of Children George Crumb
1 Many commentators have noted the ritualistic character of Crumb’s music. Is that evident here? If so, how?
“Wouldn’t It Be Nice” The Beach Boys
1 How does the subject matter of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” resemble the teen-oriented lyrics of 1950s rock and roll songs, and how does it differ? How does the musical treatment relate to the lyrics?
“Mama Tried” Merle Haggard
1 Some critics have noted that “Mama Tried” is not fully autobiographical: Haggard did turn twenty-one in prison, but he was not serving life without parole. Do the discrepancies between song and biography weaken the song? Why or why not?
2 Do the aural contrasts, from solo acoustic guitar to full ensemble with background singers, succeed in creating an aesthetically pleasing effect, or do they seem incongruous? Why?
“Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” James Brown
1 The fadeout ending of this song suggests not that the song has reached a conclusion but that the music continues on, beyond our ability to hear it. In live performance, Brown and his band might stretch this song out for several more minutes. What features of the song encourage that kind of expansive, variable performance? What are some strategies that Brown and his musicians might use to create a longer performance?
“I Heard it through the Grapevine” Gladys Knight and The Pips
1 Listen to Marvin Gaye’s version of this song, which you may find more familiar. How does it resemble Knight’s version, and how does it differ?
2 The function of the Pips in this song is somewhat analogous to the role of the horns in “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.” How are they similar and how are they different?
Chapter 18 Reflection Questions
1 If jazz originated in the realm of popular entertainment, what elements of entertainment, if any, survive in jazz of the 1960s.
2 How did 1960s rock differ from 1950s rock and roll?
3 What common factors connect rock, country, and soul music in the 1960s?
Compare and contrast the two leading soul music labels, Stax and Motown.
Looking for the best essay writer? Click below to have a customized paper written as per your requirements.