Concert Reports GuidelinesConcert Reports Guidelines
•YOU MUST ATTEND THE COMPLETE CONCERT, and you should discuss, at least briefly, every piece on the program. •You may not write about a concert in which you are performing. •Write clearly and cogently, proofread your work and ensure there are no syntax, spelling, or grammatical errors.
Things you may wish to write about in your report (3-4 double spaced-pages for each report): • How did the concert compare to your other musical experiences?This concert• Was the music new to you?• Did it make sense?• What fascinated you, moved you, or surprised you? Why?• Where did the concert take place?• How did that affect your experience?• How many players were there?• Were they in close communication with one another?• Were they directed by someone?• What struck you about the way they represented themselves and the music?• Did you like or understand their approaches to the music?• Could you hear or feel important differences between the live performance and the recording? Use the vocabulary introduced in this course.• Describe the texture, harmony, meter, rhythm, melody, and form. How does this music compare to other repertoire studied in class?• Were there program notes?• Did they help your understanding of this music?• What were the music’s most expressive, exciting, or difficult qualities?
Now, keep in mind that right after you attend a program is the best time to write about it!
HOW YOU WILL BE ASSESSED ON THIS ASSIGNMENT: Carefully written, thoughtful, and insightful assignments will receive top marks. Work that only skims the surface of the material, is poorly written or is otherwise sloppy will not receive the highest mark.
How to Write about Music: Vocabulary, Usages, and ConventionsIn writing about music, it’s important to use certain terms correctly, with regard to what they mean and the form in which they are written.
Some Basic Performance Vocabulary: Here are a few terms you’ll need to use in discussing musical performances; some of these are misused surprisingly often.
Composition, piece, and work. These may all be used, more or less interchangeably, for a single, complete piece of music (“The first composition on the program was very short”; “The second piece was the one I enjoyed most”; “This is a contemporary work”).Song. This is a relatively brief work for a solo singer, which is not part of a larger work like an opera or an oratorio (though it may be part of a song cycle, and the term is also correct for a solo passage in a musical comedy or operetta). Note that song should not be used for an instrumental work, or for an aria.Aria. This is a passage for a solo singer in an opera or oratorio. If it is being performed out of context, as part of a concert or recital, it is still referred to as an aria. Some arias are independent compositions; these are called concert arias.Vocal, vocalist. Vocal means of the voice; it is redundant and therefore incorrect to speak of a “vocal song.” Vocalist is simply a synonym for singer.Choral, chorus. Choral means of a choir (thus a choral work is a work for choir), and a chorus is a relatively large choir, or group of singers.Ensemble. This can refer to any group of performers, but it is most commonly used for smaller groups. (A large group would be referred to as, say, an orchestra, chorus, or band.)Chamber music. This refers to any music written for a chamber ensemble—a string quartet, a piano trio, a chamber orchestra, and so on. (Music for a soloist, or for a soloist with accompanist, may or may not be chamber music.)Symphony. This is a composition for orchestra, usually in four movements. The term should not be used as a short form of “symphony orchestra” (the term to use in that case is orchestra.)Program. A word with several meanings: (1) An entire concert or recital (“I enjoyed tonight’s program”). (2) The printed booklet given to audience members at a concert, opera, recital, etc. (“I found that reading the program notes helped me understand the music”). (3) A literary text, a place, an event, or the like, on which a musical composition is based (“Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique has an autobiographical program”).Performance. This term typically refers to the actual act of making music (“a virtuoso performance”), though it is sometimes used to mean a musical presentation (“The performance consisted of six works”).