Phase Three Instructions
Now that you’ve completed the preliminary research (Phases 1 and 2) and identified a research focus, start to organize the information that you’ve found into foundational sections of the project. For Phase Three, you’ll submit:
TOTAL: 3 pages maximum (4 pages if you have text)
Required Parts (Instructions Follow):
TITLE: A working paper title (that cites the work) — be creative! Engage your reader from the first moment!
THESIS: One, concise sentence that states your paper’s thesis (argument)
FIRST PARAGRAPH: The first paragraph of your paper that sets up the background, goals, and structure of the paper/project
MUSICAL/TEXTUAL ANALYSIS: A detailed, one page analysis graph (including score ex.) of your single movement/piece
LITERATURE REVIEW: A one page evaluation (with footnotes) of the two most important scholarly sources that you’ve found in relation to your topic.
Formulating a Title and Thesis:
1) Based on your research questions and proposal, decide what one main theme or point you want to communicate in your paper.*
A. If your point is too broad, further refine and limit the topic.
B. If your point is too small, broaden the scope.
2) Write out your thesis as a complete sentence.
3) You will continue to revise your thesis as you continue to research and rethink the work, but it is important to state your argument as clearly and as early in the process as possible.
4) Out of your thesis sentence, devise a title for your paper.
A. Titles should communicate the essence of the thesis (first position)
B. Titles should name what pieces/movements will serve as the focus (second position)
— Verdi’s Depiction of Hell: An Analysis of “Dies Irae” from his Requiem
— Baroque and Classical Elements in Haydn’s Quartet op. 76 #3 (II)
— Schubert’s Style: Compositional Process in Schubert’s “Im wunderschönen Monat Mai”
— Educational Outcomes in the K-12 Curriculum: Mozart’s The Magic Flute as Pedagogical Tool.
• As I’ve noted in the Phase Two submissions, DO NOT try to prove that a piece is “good” or “bad”, why it is popular, or why you like it. Instead argue how a piece works or why it is a good example of a style, or what it might connote—thesis topics that can be argued and defended. [See my comments on your phase two submissions or see me for further help.]
Writing the First Paragraph:
1) The first sentence(s) should capture the attention and good will of the reader: what is most striking about the piece in relation to your paper/project? You might start with an interesting relevant quote or anecdote, a statement about the paper’s overarching theme (nationalism, compositional process, etc.), or an otherwise attention-grabbing written device.
2) The second sentence(s) should state your thesis: what is it that the paper/project will prove/demonstrate?
3) The third, a “steering sentence” should list the topics in the order that they will appear in the paper (Plan A), or provide a brief overview of the project contents/outcomes (Plan B). This sentence will provide a structured outline for the reader, allowing them to move easily and effectively through your research.
Analyzing the Music
1) Record important background information
A) Note the date of composition, premiere, etc.
B) Record extenuating circumstances of composition
2) (If pertinent) summarize the program/plot of the music.
3) (If pertinent) analyze the text in detail (type out the entire text in original language with translation).
A) Lay out and number the large organization of the text (strophes, sections, etc.)
B) Identify the main points of the text. (subject, progression of ideas, etc.)
C) Analyze the details of rhythm, rhyme, metaphor, etc. that support those points.
4) Analyze the music in detail
A) Identify and label the large sections of the music.
B) Analyze the smaller details of melody, rhythm, harmony, accompaniment, etc.
C) Identify the main point (content) of the piece.
5) Create a one-page, line graph of your musical analysis (use Microsoft word, Prezi, or other system)
A) Label important measures and large formal breaks
B) Show harmonic structure, modulations of whole and chordal analysis of themes
C) For every important theme/motive, provide exact score quotation (screenshot, scan, or transcription)
Literature Review: Analyzing Secondary Sources
Select two most important sources that you’ve found so far (you can include others later, but focus on two for now):
1) Evaluate the author of the review/criticism:
A) Find out the author’s credentials
B) What is the author’s nationality?
C) Where/how was the author educated (PhD if so done where on what?)
D) Where in the author’s career was the work written?
2) Read the Preface/Forward/Introduction to determine the intended audience:
A) Is it an academic communication?
B) Is it a commercial publication or for professionals?
C) Is it a personal writing (creative style, subjective, letter)?
3) Evaluate the scholarship:
A) Skim the work noting length, scope, organization, examples
B) Summarize the main points of the writing (relevant to your piece/topic)
C) Separate fact from opinion
D) Weigh the evidence (including examples, research type, etc.)
E) Identify the writing style (e.g., rhetorical, conversational, poetic)
F) Identify the bias/point of view of the article.
4) Write a one paragraph summary of these main points for each source:
A) Identify author and background
B) Identify the audience
C) Provide a brief critical evaluation of the source — what are the main points, what are the biases, what does the work ultimately seek to prove?