Fall 2009

Each paper should be 8-10 pages long, not including the Bibliography, typed in 12 point font with 1” margins, and should contain Chicago,Turabian-style footnotes and a complete and correctly-notated bibliography. The Chicago or Turabian style places bibliographic citations at the bottom of a page. If you have questions about how to cite sources, please refer to Kate Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, or look at the following web page: (U. of Wisconsin)

Sources for your research should include the public library, encyclopedias, biographies, and the Internet. Please use at least 5 good sources in addition to the internet.  They must be submitted both in hard copy and e-mailed to They will be due no later than week 11 of the semester which is November 15th. Extra credit will be given if the paper is submitted early...  Each student will submit their term papers for publication to the class website and be required to read and comment on two other student papers. Please DO NOT copy from the internet but submit your paper in YOUR OWN WORDS!  A term paper is the result of your own research and YOUR opinion not a copy of previous work.  That is why you have multiple sources and differing viewpoints and then decide on your own opinion. Please look at the assignments below and answer the specific questions as stated unless given permission to do a different investigation of the topic.


 Click here for: “How to write a term paper. 

GUITAR COMPOSITIONS OF THE 19TH CENTURY: Guitar compositions of the 19th century haven't received the attention they deserve, and we are unfamiliar with music which demands a brilliant technique and often superior ability. Please choose from the following composers and speak about their history, availability, and technical difficulty: Fernando Sor, 1778 – 1839; Niccolò Paganini, 1782 – 1840; Dionisio Aguado, 1784 – 1849; Luigi Legnani, 1790 – 1877; Matteo Carcassi, 1792 – 1853; Julián Arcas, 1832 – 1882; Franz Schubert 1797 - 1828; Henrik Rung 1807-1871. 

THE SPIRITUAL IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY:  Trace the development of the African American spiritual from approximately the beginning to the end of the nineteenth century.  Cite ten examples of spirituals which were also freedom songs.  Explain any changes which came to African American music after the Civil War.  Explain the influence of the spiritual, and particularly the arrangements of Harry T. Burleigh, born 1866, upon the music of Antonin Dvorak, as well as Burleigh’s connection with Edward MacDowell. 

TCHAIKOVSKY:  HERO OR VILLAIN?  Please write on the life and music of Russian composer Peter Illich Tchaikovsky. Demonstrates how the composer’s gift of melody, technical proficiency, and his contributions to ballet, symphony, and opera definitely make him one of the greatest composers of all time. Also write on his personal life and his struggles with his Christian faith on his problem with homosexuality and how his music was regarded in academic and political (Court) circles.

SAMUEL COLERIDGE-TAYLOR: Write an examination of his Influence on African American Musicians. His best known work, which was immensely popular during his lifetime, is "Hiawatha", a trilogy based upon poems by Longfellow. He also wrote other works, such as the songs "African Romances", the "African Suite" for piano, and "Five Choral Ballads", a setting of poems on slavery by Longfellow, which include influences from native African music.

JOHN PHILIP SOUSA: "Salesman of Americanism, Globetrotter, and Musician" Please write about Sousa, known as the "March King," who ranks among the most famous American composers and conductors. On December 25, 1896, he composed The Stars and Stripes Forever, the official march of the United States of America. Sousa was the inventor of the sousaphone. His band was the most popular musical act in the world for over 30 years. The first American musical organization to go on world tour and a band that whose members were the best in the world on their instruments.  

DESCRIPTION OF GIUSEPPE VERD’S OPERA “La Traviata”: This was composed in 1853. In the 151 years since that time, it has become one of the best-known and most frequently performed operas in the Western world. The story of the opera revolves around the courtesan Violetta Valery and the man she loves, Alfredo. Misunderstandings and confusions separate the two who are reunited by the end of the opera, only to face the death of Violetta. Please write about the background of the story, an analysis of the music, and its affect on the opera world on the 19th century in general.  Please listen to 4 different recordings and compare the sopranos and their interpretation.

ORGAN MUSIC OF THE 19TH CENTURY: There was a great change in style of composition and also sound of the organ in the 19th century. Please investigate the repertory and compare this music with the classical and Baroque sound of the organ.  Mention Charles-Marie Widor and César Franck, and some of the following composers:  Anton Bruckner, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Johannes Brahms, Léon Boëllmann,, Louis James Alfred, Lefébure-Wély, Joseph Ignaz Bieling, Armin Knab, Franz Xaver Schnizer, Sigfrid Karg-Elert, and Arthur Piechler. 

GEORGES BIZET’S CARMEN:  Please discuss Bizet's Carmen and decide whether it should be designated  a "realistic" or “Verismo” Opera. Analyze the music and the difficulties in the first performance and various later versions of the opera. Please view or listen to at least 4 different recordings or film versions of the story and report on their differences. 

GIUSEPPE VERDI AND ITALY:  “Viva VERDI” became a political slogan, showing patriotism and support for the Italian king, as well as a tribute to a wonderful opera composer.  Besides discussing the music of Verdi, tell how he changed his world, through his political involvement in the life of Italy. Please compare his work to his contemporary Italian opera composers who WERE NOT politically involved.  Were there also composers in other countries with similar agendas, such as Russia?

BEETHOVEN THE 9TH SYMPHONY AND HIS OPERA FIDELIO, Society and Music; Historical Context: One of the fascinating areas of research is the historical period surrounding a composer’s work. In 1815, during the Congress of Vienna, “perpetual spying was the order of the day” (Talleyrand). Artists such as Beethoven, who were known for their republican views, were suspect. Beethoven’s anxiety increased; he had financial reversals and there was the disappearance or death of many of his aristocratic supporters.  Beethoven, in his new symphony that would have Schiller’s ode as the centerpiece, meant to leave to posterity a public monument of his liberal beliefs. Fidelio, was about politics and imprisonment without just cause. Please write about his decision to fashion two great works that would convey the poet’s utopian vision of human brotherhood as a statement of support for the principles of democracy at a time when direct political action on behalf of such principles was difficult and dangerous.  

THE BALLET MUSIC OF THE 19TH CENTURY:  Not a separate subject in our text, this is a very interesting topic.  Speak about the various composers and their works.  Tell about the great dancers of the century, as well, and how they changed their art.   

THE VIRTUOSO PERFORMER:  Trace the development of the virtuoso performer in the 19th century.  Mention several areas—instrumentalists, including pianists; vocalists, conductors, dancers—who influenced the performance of their times.  Include information on “child prodigies.”   

WAGNER’S RING DES NIBELUNGEN: When Wagner set the Ring to music, he intended the orchestra to act in the fashion of a chorus from a classic Greek tragedy, setting the mood and commenting on the action. In order to allow a nonverbal musical line to reflect on the plot, Wagner developed musically complex symbols to communicate his thoughts to the listener. Wagner's Ring Cycle is possibly the most complex musical work in existence. Wagner's basic method was to develop an extensive set of musical themes, leitmotivs, associated with important characters, plot elements, objects, and motivations in the cycle.  Please write about Wagner’s use of leitmotivs.  Note: The leitmotivs exist in families with many derived from a basic set of themes of the plot. A large number of leitmotivs are related and transformed in the course of the action of the Ring cycle. While meant as musical humor, Anna Russell’s explanation of the cycle will be a good place to start. 

HOW DID ORATORIO CHANGE FROM THE 18TH TO THE 19TH CENTURY?  Please look at the oratorio and cantata and show the difference both in style and importance in society.  Include in your discussion, but do not limit yourself to the following selections:  Beethoven Missa Solennis, Symphony No. 9; Berlioz — L’Enfance du Christ, La Damnation de Faust, Requiem; Brahms — A German Requiem; Bruckner — Te Deum; Faure — Requiem; Gounod ‑ St. Cecelia Mass; Mendelssohn — Elijah, St. Paul; Rossini — Stabat Mater; Saint-Saens — Christmas Oratorio; and Verdi — Requiem.

FANNY MENDELSSOHN AND KLARA SCHUMANN:  Research the lives of two outstanding women musicians of the 19th Century.  Critique their music in comparison with the music of their brother (Mendelssohn) and husband (Schumann).  Trace the development of Klara Schumann’s career, her relationship with her husband and her influence on Johannes Brahms.   

Extra Credit papers available to all students:

1. Does Music Construct Society Rather than Reflect Cultural Identities?  Please consider the question of the interaction between music and culture and discuss the influences that music has on culture or how music influences society. You may come to an unusual conclusion, and there is no definite answer. This paper is definitely one of your opinion rather than researching a particular event or composer. Please try to limit yourself to the 19th century; however, you could use some examples of other periods. In discussing this topic, consider various types of music, with attention paid to the interpretation of music, the nature of a consumer society, and the way in which music may be seen as propaganda.

2. LISZT AND HIS MIGHTY INFLUENCE:  Franz Liszt (18ll-1886) was one of the most influential people in the 19th Century.  His generous support of many composers helped them to be published.  Discuss Liszt’s life and far-reaching influence in the realm of music, as well as his promotion of Hungarian music and his many arrangements that promoted Wagner, Bizet, and Verdi, among many others. You could also include an analysis of selected Lieder and Opera Transcriptions of Franz Liszt. 

3. NATIONALISM IN RUSSIAN MUSIC:  Nationalism was a very important factor in the 19th Century, and it was no less important in music than in anything else.  Explain the emergence of nationalism in the Russian school, and talk about the “Mighty Five” and their influence on Russian music.  Cite examples of folk and religious music which inspired Russian music in the 19th Century.  

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