PART I (50%): Listening Guide Prepare a listening guide to one of the six following Beatles albums (UK versions): â€¢ Rubber Soul (December 1965) â€¢ Revolver (August 1966) â€¢ Sgt. Pepperâ€s Lonely Hearts Club Band (May 1967) â€¢ Magical Mystery Tour (November 1967) â€¢ Abbey Road (September 1969) â€¢ Let It Be (May 1970) Your listening guide will provide an overview of the album as a whole, and discussions of at least three songs from the album. Two of the songs must be songs NOT played or discussed in lecture or in section, while at least one song can be a song played/discussed in lecture and/or section (you may discuss additional songs so long as you meet the requirement of discussing two songs not discussed in lecture and/or section). Use course material â€“ historical, musicological, etc. â€“ to create a narrative for understanding the album. Your overview of the album can include information on the composition and recording of the songs, but the larger focus should be your overall impressions of the album. You may also compare any of the songs to other music, from the past or the present. Remember, this is an exam, not a term paper: in preparing and writing it, you should draw on materials from the second five weeks of class, including readings, lecture notes, listening, videos, discussion sections, and the weekly online writing questions. You do not have to do any additional research for this exam, but if you want to include additional information, make sure to footnote your sources. Some questions to ask yourself when choosing a focus for your exam include: What do you think is interesting about this album, what stands out to you? How are the Beatles addressing their audience? How are the Beatles responding to other music they know? What emotions or ideas do you hear the songs conveying? What (if anything) do you think the Beatles are saying about themselves with this album? How does this album relate (or not) to the Beatlesâ€ earlier 2 work? How does the album cover relate to the listening experience? What do you think a listener in the 1960s would have thought about this album? What do you think about the album as a listener in 2019, and how does that compare with what you think listeners in the 1960s would have heard? The songs you choose will give you the opportunity to provide evidence for your overview of the album. Your discussion of each song must include specific musical details, as we have been discussing them in class. You do not have to account for every element for each song! Instead, think about what particular musical element(s) contribute to your impression and understanding of the song. Musical elements include: Things composers play with: Meter & Rhythm; Melody; Harmony; Instrumentation (including voices); Texture; Form; Lyrics/language (see slides, Week 1 Class 1) Things performers play with: Composer instructions; Training and skill; Timbre (sound characteristics); Expression (tempo, dynamics, phrasing); Re-arrangement (for covers, especially forces); Recording techniques (see slides Week 1 Class 1) And things Listeners play with: Paratexts; existing knowledge (about musicians, other music, etc); Listening contexts (see slides Week 2 Class 1) You may of course discuss the lyrics of songs, but make sure to consider purely musical elements as well. Additionally, your framework for interpreting/understanding the album and its songs can be based on concepts you know from outside this class, from other classes or fields of study that seem appropriate, including (but not limited to) gender, sexuality, masculinity/ femininity, race, class, nation (US and/or UK), consumerism, music industry politics, teenage identity, etc. but it is not necessary to include material from outside this course.
Part I: 3-5 pages, double-spaced, 12-point font, 1 inch margins. For other formatting questions, ask your TA.
ALBUM: Abbey Road, Songs: Come Together, You Never Give Me Your Money, and OH! Darling
PART II (50%): 2 Essays (25% each) For Part II of the Final Exam, you will write an essay for each of the following two prompts. Each essay will be worth 25% of your Final Exam grade. 1. When the Beatles stopped touring in 1966, their music was no longer constrained by the requirements of live performance. How did their recording practices change after 1966? Compare the Beatlesâ€ experiences recording their earliest studio albums with their work on later ones, especially Revolver (1966), Sgt. Pepperâ€s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), and The Beatles (1968). Then, choose at least one song from the pre-1966 albums and at least two songs from one of the later albums (or singles recorded and released at the same time) and describe how each was shaped by recording technology and practice in the studio.
Choose whatever 2 songs you want from before and and 1 from after: Example: Please Please Me, and She Loves you as well as Eleanor Rigby.
2. Throughout their recording career, The Beatles were influenced by twentieth-century trends in the visual arts as well as trends in music. First, discuss the ways in which at least two of the Beatlesâ€ album covers used modern art in creating paratexts that helped shape the listenersâ€ experience. Next, discuss the ways in which the Beatles adapted surrealist techniques of collage, montage, juxtaposition and non-sequitur, and distortion in their music, citing specific examples from the Beatlesâ€ music.
PART II: The two essays TOGETHER should be 3-5 pages long. Double-spaced, 12-point font, 1 inch margins. For other formatting questions, ask your TA.
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