Explore a range of songs by one core musician from this course that succeeds in capturing a sense of a uniquely Canadian place and the Canadian experience (through, for example, imagery, setting, and circumstances)

Choose one of the topics below and write an essay of 1500-1800 words (approximately 6-7 pages double-spaced, 12pt font). I am interested in the quality of your own ideas and analyses from the song lyrics (primary sources) as well as the ways you’ve further illuminated the discussion with scholarly secondary sources (including books, articles, interviews, and web sites.) You must therefore re-familiarize yourself with the conventional rules of documentation (either MLA or APA) as you will be providing both “internal parenthetical” references and a list of Works Cited at the end.
Except for topic 3, these topics refer to the Core musicians in our course only. Do not choose other artists from outside the course (except for topic 3).
TOPICS
1. Explore a range of songs by one core musician from this course that succeeds in capturing a sense of a uniquely Canadian place and the Canadian experience (through, for example, imagery, setting, and circumstances). For this topic, you would want to consider songs throughout the songwriter’s career whose lyrics “paint a picture” of the place we call Canada and/or whose themes lend themselves to a comprehensive and focused study of life in Canada. The historical, cultural, and political milieu of the time, as well as biographical details, would also prove powerful factors during the song’s genesis and rootedness in Canada.
2. Explore one core musician’s lyrical rendering of loneliness through an investigation of the musician’s songs and their contexts. This topic invites a thorough exploration of songs with a specific focus and message on loneliness. Along with your close reading/listening to the song’s lyrical power and musical arrangement, your research will naturally gravitate toward investigations into your musician’s personal experiences behind the song’s inspiration (including books, interviews, articles, reviews).
3. Choose one Indigenous musician or band (besides Buffy Sainte-Marie) that has received critical recognition, and investigate the artistic vision, biographical and historical factors, and musical appeal of the musician (band). For Buffy Sainte-Marie, you’ll need to narrow your focus to one stage of her career: either early life, mid-career, or current directions. For Robbie Robertson, there is much to uncover in mid-to-late career (see Red Road Ensemble and Music for Native North America). Please clear your topic with me before beginning.
Reminders of Useful Steps to Follow for a Successful Research Essay
1. Start with songs (primary sources). Before you conduct any research, begin with your own listening and interpretation of songs/albums (primary sources) you’ve selected for the essay ( a minimum of 6). From your own fresh impressions and assessment of the songs’/albums’ main directions, its musical and lyrical strengths, formulate your own main idea emerging from your engagement with the topic and songs. Look at the songs’/albums’ main message, compelling lines, technique, and patterns. That is, familiarize yourself first with the primary sources of your assignment—the songs/albums.
1. Once you’re satisfied you have the “keys” to the primary works—that is, you’ve established a “working thesis” to guide you– you’re then in a position to probe deeper into the research you’ve lined up. And now that you’re focused on the main material, it will be much easier to find relevant secondary material –quotes from books, articles, interviews–that shed light on your argument (between 5-8 sources). As mentioned your research may reveal historical and biographical factors that shaped a song or album’s creation, as well as other factors that weighed in on its reception, popularity, and legacy.
A good starting point at the research stage is our own LSO 125 Resource site and the list of books (see attachments). These will likely direct you to Seneca Library’s databases—just use key words. From your search, draw up a list of all of the relevant or promising secondary sources (Works Cited) that your search has pulled up for you. Format your sources using either MLA or APA styles. Here is the Seneca Library link:
https://seneca.libguides.com/c.php?g=498632&p=3414051
2. Focus your research essay sharply around your own overarching argument and main points of explanation. Pay attention to paragraph organization and development. Integrate quotations correctly and grammatically. Be sure to document both primary and secondary sources correctly both internally after you’ve integrated them and in your list of Works Cited at the end of your paper. Strive to write clearly and concisely. Proofread carefully.
Your essay will be assessed on three major criteria:
1. the quality of its insights and depth of research, and essay organization
2. the degree and quality of development—that is, quotations from song lyrics and secondary sources that validate your points
3. the quality of writing—especially grammar, punctuation, quotation integration, spelling, and documentation.

Leave a Reply