Cultural Critique of the Blues


PURPOSE: The purpose of this activity is to listen and evaluate a musical selection, critique and assess the performance using descriptive musical terms, and represent those observations in an evaluative essay.

TASK: Choose one of the historical blues works that we have studied (use our discussion posts, assignments, blues timeline, YouTube channel, Alan Lomax site, etc.). Next, find a contemporary adaptation/cover/arrangement of the same work.

  1. Complete a comparative analysis of the two works.
  2. Construct an argument about the culture within which the original work was created and appreciated.
    1. I am interested in your interpretation about how this music was utilized by past and contemporary audiences and what the music meant/means to the listeners (and/or performers) during that time.
    2. How did the formal features of this music enable certain kinds of behaviors?
    3. What insight does this music give us into the culture of the past, and the culture of the present?
  3. I do not want a bio on the musician(s). Focus on the music.
  4. Do not include musical examples discussed in our text.
  5. Include a bibliography of at least 4 sources, NOT including the textbook. At least 2 sources must be from books or journal articles. Web sources must be from official artist sites, reputable news sites, or record labels. Wikipedia and are not acceptable sources. If you are having trouble finding sources, talk to Dr. Dyer or a GHC librarian.
  6. Use Times New Roman, 12 pt. font, double-spaced. Head your paper with your name, formatted as (DoeJ_Essay#4.pdf). Assign your file the same name. Plagiarism will result in a score of zero. You may use any citation style you prefer (e.g. APA, Chicago, MLA), however, be consistent and use the same style throughout. -WLD


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