MUS 114 Listening Experience

MUS 114 Listening Experience

Playlist/Program Notes Project/100 points

Due Date: Tuesday, Nov 13

Note: audio references/YouTube addresses must be included with the paper

A grade will NOT be assigned without this information

*Late projects: 10-point deduction per day *All projects must have a title page that includes the title of your project and the names of all students involved with the project. ASSIGNMENT DESCRIPTION For this assignment, you will create a playlist and program notes for a concert. The playlist should include four songs/pieces of music of your choice. The goal of the assignment is to consider the overall experience and effectiveness of a collection of musical presentations upon the listener. The choices for your playlist should reflect a variety of styles/genres, performing mediums, and moods. You can base your playlist on an overall theme or concept, or you can simply create a mosaic of musical experiences. The program notes for each selection should include the reason(s) why you have included it in your playlist, a brief introduction to the piece and performing artists, and information regarding the musical presentation and its impact upon the listener. Your project will also include a reflection of the assignment. The assignment will be graded upon organization, clarity and writing quality, as well as content.

Working Format for the Project:

For this project, you may work in groups of 2 or 3, or if you prefer you may work alone.

If you choose to work in a group, the assignment must be presented as ONE document arranged as follows:

Sections I and II: as ONE document from the group (all students are involved in writing these sections together)

Section III: as an INDIVIDUAL document (one from each student in the group with name included)

The grade for each student will include the total from the first two sections, as well as the individual total for each student from section III.

In this way, it is possible for students in the group to receive DIFFERENT grade totals.

Submitting the Project:

Your project must have a title page that includes the title of your project as well as the names of ALL students involved in the project. ALL parts of the project must be typed and stapled together.


(20 points) Section I: The Playlist – In this section you will present your playlist. Include the title of each song and the composer/songwriter/performer(s) as well as the genre/style of the selection and the year the song was released.

NOTE: an audio reference/YouTube link must be included with each title for reference.

(60 points) Section II: The Program Notes – In this section you will discuss each selection on your playlist. Each discussion should be one to two paragraphs in length and include the following: 1) the style/genre of the piece, including any important information or historical reference regarding the selections connection to the style/genre; 2) the reason why you have included it in your playlist; i.e. why you like it, what it means to you, or what it represents; 3) information regarding the history of the selection or the performers involved; 4) information regarding the musical presentation (particular musical elements or performance practices) and their impact upon the listener.

(10 points) Section III: Personal Reflection(s) – In this section you will write an overall reflection/assessment of the assignment. Did you enjoy the process? Do you feel that you have a better understanding of the musical aspects of the selections you have included on your playlist? Explain your ideas in detail.

NOTE: Each student must provide their own reflection/assessment of the assignment

(10 points) Section IV: Overall Presentation *this section is completed by the grader of the project

Novice (1-3) Lacking in required content. Poor writing style for collegiate level, writer encouraged to seek assistance.

Competent (4-7) Fair to Good representation of required content. Good writing style for this level, but lacking in form and/or one of the following: grammar, spelling, sentence structure.

Proficient (8-10) Very Good to Excellent representation of required content. Excellent work for this level of collegiate writing.



Includes the “title” of your project and name(s) of student(s) involved in the project as well as class section number



1. Nocturne in F Minor, Op 55 Frederic Chopin

Genre/Style: Nocturne/character piece – 19th Century Solo Piano

Performer/s: Arthur Rubinstein

Date: 1842

2. Information for 2nd piece

3. Information for 3rd piece

4. Information for 4th piece


The Program Notes

1. Chopin: Nocturne in F Minor, Op 55:

This Nocturne, or “night piece” as it was called, is a type of character piece written for solo piano during the 19th century. Nocturnes are usually slow, lyric, and melancholy and were intended for the intimate performances of the 19th century salons. They were first introduced by the Irish composer John Field but were adopted and made famous by Frederic Chopin. This piece is included in my playlist because it is one of the first pieces by Chopin that I studied as a young piano student. Through the study and performance of this piece I came to understand and appreciate 19th century romanticism and how it comes to life through the piano works of Chopin. I have always enjoyed playing this piece because it brings me back full circle to my first experiences as a young pianist learning about Chopin and the expressive nature of his music. I also enjoy teaching this piece to young students because I enjoy watching them explore the piece and its interpretive potential for themselves. The performance I have chosen is done by Arthur Rubenstein, one of the great pianists of the 20th century. During his career he enjoyed international acclaim as a performer and is regarded as one of the finest interpreters of Chopin’s music. I often use recordings of his performances in my study of Chopin.

The F Minor Nocturne opens with a simple melody in homophonic texture. The melody is visited several times during the beginning of the piece and with each repetition is expanded through the use of ornamentation and rubato. I particularly enjoy the middle section because it is such a bold contrast to the opening melody. The loud octaves and forceful chords of this section produce a dramatic effect for the listener. The mood of the entire piece is ultimately swept away with a last flourish of fast running notes and arpeggios which feels very much like a cadenza. The increase in tempo and dynamics progress to a large climax only to dissolve and fade away at the very end. The final chords bring a very simple and peaceful end to the piece. The use of rubato in this piece allows the performer a great deal of interpretive freedom which ultimately allows for Chopin’s expressive intent to be the focus of the musical experience.

2. 2nd Selection and discussion

3. 3rd Selection and discussion

4. 4th Selection and discussion


Personal reflection(s)

There should be one reflection for each person in the group

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