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Unformatted text preview: A G UIDE TO W RITING C ONCERT R EVIEWS The concert review can be a strange and challenging genre, but it also allows for creative thinking and can be enormously rewarding. In what follows I provide some rough guidelines for preparing for and writing reviews. What is a concert review? A good concert review should allow a reader who was not at the event to have some sense of what happened; you should provide basic information such as where and when the concert happened, and what was on the program. But a concert review should not be a blow-by-blow description of the pieces featured on the program, nor should it be a simple description of what happened from the minute you walked in the concert hall. You may well want to write up a narration of that sort of your own purposes, but your review should have a larger point, an argument that shows thoughtful reflection on the concert as a whole. Perhaps you noticed a common theme that joined all the pieces together or perhaps there were tensions and contrasts between the works that seemed important. Your paper should have a thesis, but-- and heres the most enjoyable part of these papers-- your thesis can be quite creative. Be careful not to conflate/confuse the works on the program with their performance. I realize that previous sentence has deep philosophical implications (what is the difference between a musical work and an individual performance? Where do works exist? Does a work exist if no one is playing it?), and I dont intend for you to grapple with such ontological difficulties. However, be sure to keep your discussion focused, as much as possible, on the particular performance of the work that you heard. Do I need to prepare anything before going to a concert? I recommend doing a few hours of preparation before a concert. Most often, programs are available on line, so, at a very minimum, you can look over the program and the read up on the composers and history and significance of the works featured on the program. (Use Grove Music ) Better yet, when possible, I recommend listening to a few other performances of the works. Being familiar with the music will help you appreciate the particular choices made by the musicians in the concert you attend. How much detail should I include? Do I need to discuss every piece on the concert in my review? Obviously this will depend on the concert; I would rather read a thoughtful review that made a clear point about two important pieces on the program than a superficial review that superficially described all four pieces. Ideally, you will find a way to link all (or most) of the works, but if two of the pieces raised fascinating questions for you, dont feel you need to cram the entire program in your reviewjust be sure to let the reader know what the entire program was....
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This note was uploaded on 11/04/2009 for the course MUSIC 021 taught by Professor Gray during the Spring '09 term at UPenn.
- Spring '09