Daily Prompt: Critical Eye
Write about the subject you usually blog about as if you were a music critic.
I do not brag to know how to be a music critic. My hubby says I have that look…that critical eye that says it all without saying a word. That is not what I think that they meant here.
I decided to go and acquire some assistance on this matter and http://www.iup.edu/honors/page.aspx?id=27011 was more than kind to furnish me with all of the material that I hope I will need.
Writing a Music Critique
What Is a Critique?
A critique analyzes, interprets, describes, and evaluates an event, answering the questions: “How? Why? How well?” A critique does not have to be entirely negative; it may be positive, negative, or a combination of the two.
The object of this exercise is to listen to music with a discriminating ear. This does not mean that you cannot also enjoy the experience as well. A good critic walks into an event with an open mind, seeking to gain insight through a particular performance. There is also a human side of being a critic. Although your critique will not be read by the performers, you should always keep in mind that there are real people involved who in most cases have put forth their best efforts. Not withstanding, an honest critique can also be a source for valuable, constructive suggestions.
When writing your critique, please include the following:
Introduce the titles of the piece(s), composers, place of performance, date of performance, and performers involved. If it is an operatic, musical, or vocal performance, include the text’s authors as well as a brief description of the plot (if known).
How Do I Write a Critique?
The very nature of music resists attempts to verbalize it—that said, when doing analysis, avoid overly sentimental, “precious” description of musical events, as they just take the place of more serious discussion.
Avoid the “one thing after another” or “listing” approach to writing—that is, always reporting the musical events in the order in which they occur (i.e., the first movement does A, B, and C, and then the second movement does D, E, F, etc.)
You may critique the performers, conductor, organization of the event, and even the audience.
Instead, try and answer the following questions:
- What was your overall reaction to the performance?
- What was the strongest element of the performance?
- What was the weakest element of the performance?
- Was the event well-organized? Was there any element of the performance that detracted from your concentration or enhanced it?
- If the performance is vocal, how did the text correspond with the music? Did the music communicate the text effectively?
- If the performance was purely instrumental, what visual images and/or emotions might have been conveyed by the music? Did the music communicate effectively?
- If there was a conductor, did you feel the conductor communicated his or her interpretation of the music to the players and the audience?
In addition, a simple method of describing the actual music itself is SHMRG: Sound, Harmony, Melody, Rhythm, and Growth (texture/formal structure). Even though many of you are not Music majors, you can list one thing about all or a few of these items that caught your attention. Since our minds cannot retain all that our ears hear in most cases, focus on a few key events and hold on to them as the music unfolds.
Some helpful hints:
- Listen to the pieces in advance. The Music Library has an enormous collection of recordings, and the Classical Music Library or Naxos database, available on the IUP Libraries website, is also a good resource.
- Read the program notes while waiting for the performance to start.
- Choose the right seat—usually the back of the floor section or the front portion of the balcony are the best acoustical places to sit.
According to http://www.iup.edu/honors/page.aspx?id=96803 writing has very easy concepts to follow:
Writing requires a thinking process. Most of the problems students have with college writing are not matters of grammar and punctuation, but are matters of learning how to think critically, how to generate ideas, to organize, and to support those ideas with concrete, specific evidence. Your own experiences are important in thinking and writing, but most college writing involves relating your experiences and thinking to the important ideas of others. In this course, reading and thinking about other people’s ideas is part of the course. Responding in both an affective (meaning “in the realm of the emotions”) and a disciplined, critical way to the important ideas of what we read is part of the writing process.
Revising and learning to edit are a major part of the writing process, even for experienced professionals. You will have a chance to revise the paper after it has been peer edited and read by your unit professor. The final paper grade will be based on your final revision. Individual conferences with professors contribute to student growth as writers. In addition to two scheduled conferences per semester, we invite you to come in any time you need help. Unit papers are only one of the ways in which writing is incorporated into the core courses. Writing instruction, pre-writing activities, journals, critical-reading exercises (including problem solving, some of it collaborative), group work, and conferences with faculty will be part of each unit.
Perhaps it is my lack of coffee this morning, I am not sure but I can’t seem to find my critical eye as I normally blog on food or daily prompts so I will go and find my eye and coffee while you can check out what the other great Daily Prompt Writers had to say:
- Ilya Fostiy. A Village | Inside My Glitching Mind
- I intentionally avoid music reviews | Daily Prompt: Critical Eye | likereadingontrains
- Daily Prompt: Critical Eye « Mama Bear Musings
- Rhapsody In Blue Turf | The Jittery Goat
- Daily Prompt: Critical Eye | JUkk
- Living in the moment: Dance to your own tune. (Daily Prompt-Critical Eye) | liveuntil