Guiding Questions for Video Discussion Assignments
Answer these questions as you complete your Video Discussion Assignments. View and study the Listening Guide for this song and use the material to assist you in writing your discussion assignment.
About the Genre:
1. From what genre is this performance?
2. Where and when did this art form originate?
3. Who are some of the most famous artists within this genre?
4. Why is this genre important?
5. What other genres of music were influenced or borne out of this form of music?
6. How popular is this music today?
7. What are some of the traits of this music genre? What does it sound like? What instruments are commonly used? What are some of the common themes of the lyrics?
About the Song:
1. What is the song’s title?
2. What is the song about?
3. Describe the instruments, performance style, rhythm, melody, and form?
4. How does this song connect to your life? Copy out lyrics that illustrate this point. 5. What do you like most about this song?
6. What do you not like most about this song?
7. How does this song make you feel?
From our text, we have come to understand that the fundamental element of music is called meter and is made up of beats which are arranged together to form measures. These regular (and irregular) metrical patterns form the rhythm of a particular piece of music. Syncopation, defined as a “disturbance or interruption of the regular flow of rhythm” (Hoffman) occurs when accents or rhythmic stresses are heard in places where they would not be expected. (Ibid)
While a more pedestrian definition of syncopation would be “the regular shifting of each beat in a measured pattern by the same amount ahead of or behind its normal position in that pattern.”(Oxford). Miles Hoffman offers a broader definition, explaining:
“The regular metrical patterns, or the regular flow of rhythm, the first beat of a measure — the downbeat — is the strongest beat, where the most rhythmic emphasis, or weight, is felt. Syncopation shifts this emphasis, or, to put it another way, it places the accent on the wrong syllable. A syncopated rhythm is one that places stress on a weak beat, or that creates a strong impulse on a subdivision of a beat, an in-between beat. Weak beats and in-between beats are also known collectively as “offbeats,” and syncopated rhythm may be thought of as “offbeat rhythm.” (Hoffman)
The four most common types of syncopation and their characteristics are:
○ Suspension syncopation is defined as holding a beat from a previous note.
○ Missed Beat syncopation stresses a rest where a beat should be emphasized.
○ Off Beat syncopation “occurs where the musical notation has split notes up, for example starting a measure with a quaver and ending it with a quaver, or even the use of dotted notes that extend their length.” (Plante)
○ Even Note syncopation occurs when the composer accentuates even beats rather than odd beats.
Syncopation does not require repetition of syncopated rhythms throughout a piece of music and may repeat, be unique or appear as a bridge between elements of the composition. Syncopation appears in almost all genres of music from the Middle Ages to Rap and Hip-Hop, from Beethoven to the Beatles but is commonly associated with Ragtime and Jazz music.
Hoffman, Miles. The NPR® Classical Music Companion: Terms and Concepts from A to Z. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York 1997 Web: 13 September 2010 thru: http://www.kennedy-center.org/nso/classicalmusiccompanion/syncopation.html
Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press 2007-2010 Web: 13 September 2010 http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com.libdata.lib.ua.edu/subscriber/article/grove/music/27263?q=syncop ation&search=quick&pos=1&_start=1#firsthi
Plante, Chris and Loraine. Web. 13 September 2010
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