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Music in Civilization : “Opinionated Listening”

In this class, you’re developing your ability to describe what you hear. Tis paper is a chance for
you to practice and demonstrate this ability, and to use those descriptions in the service of an
interpretive argument about why you like or dislike music. Tis assignment focuses on the skills
of description. Later assignments will focus on skills of interpretation and argument.
Tis assignment asks you (1) use precise terminology to describe music that you hear, and (2)
articulate why you like or dislike what you hear, referring to the parts of the music you described.
Both of these goals are in the service of fostering the ability to make clear interpretive arguments
about music that are backed up by clearly-described evidence in the music itself.
Assignment Process

  1. Choose two pieces of music you know very well: one you like, and one you dislike. Tese can
    be of any style or genre, as long as you are familiar with them If you prefer, you could choose
    two pieces we’ve covered in class so far.
  2. Listen to each piece of music in the following way: in a quiet/calm place with few
    distractions, listen to the whole piece on headphones. Focus on moments that sound
    particularly interesting, important, or unique to you, taking written notes while you listen.
    Ask yourself: “What are the musical dimensions that make me have this overall impression/
    understanding of this music”? Listen again, this time focusing on those specific dimensions
    individually. Take more notes precisely and accurately describing these salient dimensions.
  3. In a clearly organized, carefully edited paper (500–750 words), write about your reasons for
    preferring one piece over the other, AND imagine why another listener might have the
    opposite opinion. For both parts of your argument, cite specific parts of the music as often
    and precisely as possible, referring to specific time-points (e.g. 1:24) in each piece in order to
    clarify your argument.

Sample Solution

“At the outbreak of the epidemic there was no city Board of Health in existence. The last board had been totally ineffective since it lacked sufficient authority to enforce its rules and regulations, and had been denied support by the city authorities” (Carrigan, 1853). No one was trained enough nor had been exposed to yellow fever enough to understand the specific cause and protection methods. People were left in the dark with the true severity of the infection and well as close by cases. “When informed of the first cases of yellow fever that appear in summer, the newspaper press almost invariably denies the truth of the reports, and, not unfrequently, showers upon the heads of those whose duty it is to pronounce upon the character of the prevailing disease, volumes of abuse and ridicule. If the cases multiply and the sign of the times plainly indiare the approach of an epidemic, the able editors of our valuable daily journals, under what i must pronounce a most erroneous impression of their duty to the public, studiously endeavour to conceal or suppress the true state of affairs” (Fenner, 2008). Newspapers were hesitant to release stories regarding yellow fever because businesses feared that word of an epidemic would cause a quarantine to be placed on the city and trade would suffer. In their defense, there was no trained physicians that could properly treat yellow fever so it became difficult to write a story solely based on guesses. “A cartoon posted in the Daily Item mocked the handling of fever cases in New Orleans by depicting sufferers from non-fever maladies, like a toothache and a broken arm, as yellow fever cases according to the Board of Health. By doing so, the newspaper vocalized its disapproval of the Louisiana Board of Health’s handling of fever cases and the medical knowledge of the board’s employed physicians” (Runge, 2013). People were aggravated with the lack of awareness and accuracy from journals, so they found comic relief in making fun of them. “Journals began to comment on the pestilence, blaming the city council and its do-nothing policy. Under tremendous pressure from public opinion and urged on by the Mayer, the Council on july 25 finally appointed a Board of Health” (Carrigan, 1853). Pathophysiology “The phenomenon of yellow fever was like a jigsaw puzzle with a number of missing pieces. Until those pieces were discovered the picture remained distorted until the discovery of the insect vector, the irregular spread of the pestilence presented a knotty problem in logic to speculative minds” (Carrigan, 1853). U.S Army surgeon Major Walter Reed made the first important contribution to the field of medicine with his study of yellow fever. During his time of service in the Spanish-American war, Reed found soldiers dying from both yellow fever and malaria. Unsure of the cause, Reed set out to appoint a commission to investi
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