Ethnomusicologists study the ways that music has meaning and purpose for individuals, families, and communities. This essay asks you to use some of the techniques of ethnomusicology to discuss the meaning of music for someone that you know.
For this paper, we ask that you interview somebody about their favorite popular music. Then you must use some of the ideas, personal experiences, or opinions expressed by this person as evidence to support some kind of argument that you are making in relation to the music. Your argument may deal with any aspect of the music or music scene but it must also connect in some way to the social issues and processes dealt with in this class (e.g. globalization, technology, appropriation, representation and politics of identity, etc.) Our weekly readings provide great examples of arguments that make these types of connections. You can refer to these readings to see how others have made these types of connections.
In this paper you MUST GO BEYOND simply describing a genre of music, or a music scene. You are expected to synthesize the information from your interview with themes from the readings in order to make a strong thesis statement that will guide your paper. Ideally, you should record this interview so you can go back over the recording later and quote your interviewee directly. If you don’t have an audio recorder, take careful notes so that you can accurately paraphrase what was said during your interview. You must also use three additional written sources and cite these readings using in-text citations as well as a “Bibliography” or “Works Cited” section at the end of your paper. One of these source must be an academic source, and the other two can either be academic or journalistic. You should also cite your own interview using this format: (p.c., Bob Smith, 28 October 2011, Isla Vista, Cal.).
Make sure to give your essay a sensible title, keep your writing focused, support yourself with examples, and communicate your ideas clearly and effectively. You will be assessed for strength of your thesis, the focus and structure of your explanation, and the technical aspects of your writing (spelling, grammar, organization).