MUSC1506 Music in Western Culture
Weight: This assignment counts for 40% of your final mark for this unit.
Version 1 counts for 20% of your final mark
Final version counts for 20% of your final mark
Due: Version 1 is due 11:59pm, Friday 16 October
Final version due 11:59pm, Sunday 22 November
Length: 1500-1750 words
• You can go 10% over or under before you start losing marks: down to 1,350 or up
• Footnotes and bibliography are not counted in the worNd count
• Quotations are counted in the word count
Write your essay topic, and your student number at the top of your essay document
e.g. Notation – 40000000
Do not write your name in your essay document
Choose one of the essay questions listed below and write a 1500-1750 word essay answering
Essays must cite all the sources you consult, in Chicago Style, and include a Bibliography.
Everything you need to know about citations in the Conservatorium Chicago Guide including the
formats to use for different sources so you can easily copy the correct formats for your citations.
The version 1 essay MUST HAVE FOOTNOTES AND A BIBLIOGRAPHY.
This version will be marked against the standards of a finished, polished essay.
We are having you submit a first version so we can give you comments and help you improve
it: so it is to help you write a better essay and become better at essay writing.
You CAN submit it in dot points, or submit an incomplete essay for the draft – we’ll still mark
it and try to help you with feedback – but YOU WILL GET VERY LOW MARKS unless you
submit a full, polished essay at the correct word limit (and did we say??) FULL FOOTNOTES AND
A large proportion of your mark will be based on how well you have responded to the
feedback provided on your Version 1.
If you just resubmit the same essay without improving it, you will likely FAIL the final
How to fail
(so if you don’t do these things, you’ll probably pass):
- Not enough footnotes
- Not answering the essay question or not answering ALL of it
- Essay is too short
- Essay is incomprehensible i.e. we can’t understand it
- The final version is not improved based on your marker’s comments on Version 1.
See the 3rd & 4th pages for information on how to do well in the assignment.
Choose one of the following questions:
- Outline the developments and innovations in musical notation, c.800-1600. Which
developments strike you as particularly important? Perhaps consider this last question in relation
to the later history of music.
- Burkholder et. al describe Ockeghem’s works as demonstrating “exceptional compositional
virtuosity” (p.185, 10th ed). What do they mean by this? Outline the range of “compositionally
virtuosic” techniques of counterpoint that Ockeghem used during his career. What might explain
why he was composing like this? (Alternatively, answer these questions in relation to Lassus.)
- Aside from religious music and music for dancing, what were the main social roles of music in
the Baroque period? How did these roles shape the sounds of the music (i.e., how did composers
- What were the most important factors in the rise of the public concert in the
- Fandom is often thought of as something that emerged only in the twentieth century, in
response to popular music. To what extent was intense adulation of musicians by audiences
evident earlier? Were there particular audience behaviours or any other evidence for a kind of
nineteenth-century fandom? Choose either Beethoven or Liszt and assess these questions.
- Choose either Stravinsky or Debussy. How much did dance music influence this composer’s
work? What was its influence?
How to avoid plagiarism
Click here: https://canvas.sydney.edu.au/courses/26266/pages/how-to-avoidplagiarism?module_item_id=861996
For short instructions on how to avoid plagiarism
A guide in Chinese to understanding plagiarism https://library.sydney.edu.au/help/onlinetraining/downloads/iResearch_Print_Plagiarism_Chinese.pdf
University of Sydney help with academic writing
A lot of help on all aspects of academic writing can be found here:
The Learning Centre has very good, free workshops that you can attend – but BOOK EARLY
as they can be hard to get into http://sydney.edu.au/stuserv/learning_centre/workshops.shtml
Advice: how to write a good essay
• State your overall response to the essay question succinctly and clearly in the opening
paragraph. This may mean you end up writing your introduction when you’ve finished the
rest of the essay, or you might rewrite the introduction after writing the body
• Write simply and clearly: short sentences, simple language – you get a lot of marks for
sophisticated thought, but not that many for a sophisticated writing style
• Have an argument, not just a set of ‘facts’
• Use evidence to demonstrate to your reader why your interpretations and arguments are
right: you must convince your reader, tell us why we should think the same as you.
• Paragraphing: each paragraph should have a main point. When you have a new point,
start a new paragraph
• Group related information / discussion / issues together. If you structure the essay well
the discussion won’t jump around randomly between different points – what’s related goes
• That said, there’s no perfect structure. Usually there are at least a few good options for
• Every footnote will have a page number, unless you’re citing a website.
• Use the spell check on your word processor – it’s not always correct but it will probably
pick up some typos
• Make sure you answer all the parts of the essay question
• Put together a draft well before the due date so you have time to improve it (setting
yourself a deadline is a good idea)
How we mark you: the academic grade descriptors
We will be referring to these as we mark your essays. Read them, they’re excellent!
High Distinction (85-100)
Work of exceptional standard. Demonstrates high level of initiative in research and reading; sophisticated
critical analysis of evidence; high level engagement with theoretical issues, innovative use of reading/research
material and impressive command of underlying debates and assumptions; properly documented and written
with style, originality and precision.
Work of superior standard. Demonstrates initiative in research and wide, appropriate reading; complex
understanding of question and ability to critically review material, in relation to underlying assumptions and
values; analyses material in relation to empirical and theoretical contexts; properly documented; clear, welldeveloped structure and argument with some signs of literary style.
Highly competent work demonstrating potential for higher study. Evidences broader understanding than pass
level; offers synthesis together with some critical evaluation of material; coherent argument using range of
relevant evidence; some evidence of independent thought, good referencing. A high credit (70-74) shows some
ability to problematise and think conceptually.
Work of acceptable standard. Written work meets basic requirements in terms of reading/research; relevant
material but tendency to descriptive summary rather than critical argument; makes a reasonable attempt to avoid
paraphrasing; reasonably coherent structure; often has weaknesses in particular areas, especially in terms of
narrow or underdeveloped treatment of question; acceptable documentation.
Fail (below 50%)
Work not of acceptable standard. Work may fail for any or all of the following reasons: Unacceptable
paraphrasing; irrelevance of content; poor spelling; poor presentation; grammar or structure so sloppy it cannot
be understood; failure to demonstrate understanding of content; insufficient word length; absence of
referencing; late submission without explanation.