PROJECT: COMPOSER UNDER SUSPICION
A composer who lives during Classical times has come under suspicion. He has been accused of not using true Classical style in his music. You have been hired to investigate his music and determine whether or not these allegations are true.
This project will give you the opportunity to investigate the music of a Classical composer. During the project, you’ll accomplish the following:
Research a lesser-known Classical composer and examine his music to see if it truly follows Classical style.
PART 1 – INVESTIGATE A COMPOSER
1. Choose a composer.
Using your best detective skills, you must find out all that you can about a Classical composer of your choice. Then you’ll report on whether or not he truly uses Classical style in his music.
First, you must choose a composer who lived during the Classical era. Choose from the list below, or find a different Classical composer. (You may not investigate Haydn, Beethoven, or Mozart.)
Johann Christian Bach
2. Investigate the composer.
Find out as much as you can about the composer. Read about his life and his music. You’ll at least want to know:
country where he was born and/or lived
influence on Classical music and/or other composers
musical style, forms, or pieces he’s known for
listening samples of his music (at least two)
3. Analyze the music.
As you investigate, you should especially be concerned with his music. Listen to the two pieces you chose. Then, answer these questions to help you decide if he’s a "good" Classical composer that follows the rules of Classical music writing.
Does he write in the established Classical forms?
Is his music simple, orderly, and balanced?
Does he follow typical Classical style elements in the melody, harmony, tonality, rhythm, and expression he uses?
Does he follow the music trends of the day (like instrumental over vocal or secular over sacred)?
PART 2 – WRITE YOUR REPORT
Since you’ve finished your investigating, you must now fill out an investigative report detailing your findings.
First, print out the investigative report.
Use the guide below to help you fill in each field of the report.
Guide to filling out the Investigative Report
student’s name Date of complaint:
current date Nature of complaint:
Composer suspected of not conforming to Classical music style
Date of birth:
composer’s birthday City and Country of Birth:
composer’s city/country of origin Date of Decease:
composer’s date of death
Explain suspect’s influence on other musicians (if any):
influence on other musicians (through teaching, friendship, musical legacy, etc)
Summarize influence on Classical style (if any):
affects on Classical music, if applicable List most famous pieces or genres:
pieces or forms/genres composer is best known for
List works analyzed by officer: official names of both pieces student analyzed
Followed established Classical forms?
how (and if) two pieces named above followed established Classical forms (like sonata-allegro, theme and variations, rondo, minuet and trio, opera, etc.)
See also U04L03 Classical melody, harmony, tonality, rhythm, expression?
how (and if) two pieces named above followed Classical style of melody, harmony, etc.
See also U04L02
how (and if) two pieces named above adhered to Classical traits of order, simplicity, and balance Classical trends followed? (instrumental/secular)
how (and if) two pieces named above followed established Classical trends of instrumental over vocal and secular over sacred music
One to two paragraph summary of musical style and whether or not it adheres to traditional Classical style
Use the Grading Rubric to evaluate the completeness of your project. Your teacher may also use these guidelines in grading your work.
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