Explain the difference between meter, tempo, and rhythm.
Week 1 Written Assignment
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Week One Written Assignment (choose one option)
Discuss the power and influence of the church in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Why was the church such a powerful institution, and how did the church’s power affect the European world? In your answer, address the church’s impact on society, on politics, and on the arts (especially music). Use specific musical examples from the reading to support your answer.
Compare and contrast the cultures of oral and literate transmission in music. Describe the development of musical notation from our reading and its effect on musical style. For instance, what kinds of techniques and genres were made possible by musical literacy that could not be sustained in a primarily oral culture? Are there any important “oral” or “nonliterate” features of contemporary musical practice? How have conceptions of musical orality and literacy changed over the twentieth and twenty-first centuries?
Discuss William Byrd’s approach to text setting in the Agnus Dei from the Mass for Four Voices. What techniques does Byrd utilize in order to allow the words to define the structure of the movement? How does he create a musically interesting piece on such a brief, repetitive text?
Dowland’s “Can she excuse my wrongs” was not fixed as a permanent “classic” in only one form but rather generated many adaptations and arrangements. Think about the stability of works or popular songs you know. Name current popular performing traditions in which adaptations (rather than single, fixed “works”) are the norm, and compare these to the adaptations of Dowland’s piece.
Explain the difference between meter, tempo, and rhythm. How are they different? How are they related? How do these three ideas work together to create infinitely adaptable, distinctive, and interesting musical sounds? Provide one modern musical work (with a link) and comment on its use of meter/tempo/rhythm as compared to one of the musical examples from the reading.
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