The final exam for Understanding Music will be in two parts. The first part will concern the 20th-century composers and music we will be learning about during these last few weeks of class.
40% of your final exam will consist of writing at length about elements found in 20th century music:
Tonality vs. atonality; new treatment of rhythm and meter; presentation of political and social ideas in music; and incorporation of traditional material from various countries in Europe as well as Asia and America.
The next 40% will be to write a paragraph or two about four of the composers on this list: Debussy, Ravel, Mahler, Richard Strauss, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Ives, Copland, Bartok, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Gershwin
The remaining 20% will involve an essay that will draw upon the work of the entire semester. All Lake Land College students who are enrolled in Understanding Music will write an essay (or two mini-essays) about two of the topics below. Here is the essay prompt exactly the way it will appear on your exam. Your essay will be read by the other members of the faculty who teach Understanding Music as part of the assessment process. We include this essay in order to determine how well the course is designed and how well the faculty has presented the material.
The composers of western art music whose music we have studied this semester did not live in isolation. They were affected, both as individuals and as composers, by the events that unfolded and the ideas in circulation during their lifetime. Explore this connection: choose TWO of the following topics and prepare a discussion in essay form, referring to specific composers, genres, and musical works in your response.
1. Discuss the impact of the Roman Catholic church on western art music in the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods.
2. Discuss the impact of ancient Greek and Roman societies and their values on western art music.
3. Discuss the impact of the Enlightenment on music in the 18th century (the Classical period).
4. Discuss the connection between music , art, and literature in the Romantic period.
5. Discuss the impact of revolutionary movements and/or the search for national identity (Liszt, Dvorak, Debussy, Ives, Bartok, Mussorgsky, Wagner) upon music in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.