Discussion Exercise

Here is this week's discussion exercise.  Please read the instructions carefully!

Part One:

Listen to the two musical examples below.  The first is an excerpt from Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring.  The second is a menuetto from Mozart's popular work Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (A Little Night Music). After listening, answer the discussion question.

The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky
Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Mariss Jansons, conductor
© EMI Records, LTD

"Menuetto" from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
© 1996 ITP Nelson Publishing, A division of International Thomson Publishing
Used with permission from the International Thomson Publishing Global Rights Group.

Some poeple find the music of Igor Stravinsky difficult to listen to and/or appreciate. Why do you think this is? How does it compare with the example by Mozart given here? Is Mozart easier to listen to or appreciate? Why or why not? Explain your answer in detail. Do you think it is any easier for modern audiences to listen to and/or appreciate Stravinsky's music than it was for people in the early 1900's? Why or why not?

What is your personal reaction to this musical example? Do you like it or do you find it distasteful? Explain in detail why. (When giving your answer you should keep in mind the genre of this work - an instrumental work composed for orchestra. Your reasons should not contain references to the characteristics of other unrelated genres. For example, you shouldn't criticize it for not having lyrics because it's not vocal music! Similarly, you shouldn't criticize Stravinsky for not using electric guitars because there are no guitars in orchestras. What characteristics of this orchestral instrumental work do you like or dislike?)

Is it natural for people to reject ideas and innovations that are new? If so, why do you think this is? What are some other examples of music and/or art that were rejected at first and later accepted? (You may discuss works from any time period and genre for this part of the question.) Why were they rejected and what led to their eventual acceptance? Is this initial rejection a sign of greatness? If a new type of art or music is accepted right away, does that mean it is less innovative or good? Explain in detail.

Here are the requirements for all discussion answers:

  • Your answer must be at least 500 words or no credit. Answers that are shorter than 500 words will get an automatic zero.

  • Answers must be clearly written in complete sentences with good grammar, punctuation and spelling. Use a new paragraph when changing ideas or making a new point. No text messaging shortcuts please!

  • Be sure to explain your answers in detail. Don't just list them.

  • If you use any sources such as books, articles, or web sites for information, you must identify those sources (i.e. name of source, URL, page number, author, publisher, etc.).

  • It's okay to use an occasional quote or reference to another source. However, the majority of your posting should be comprised of your own thoughts and opinions on the subject. I want to know what you think about the topic, not what someone else thinks.

  • Your answer must be posted 12:00 midnight on Thursday. (Note that this is earlier than the due date for other parts of the assignment! This is to allow your classmates ample time to respond to your posting.) Any answer posted after 12:00 midnight on Thursday will receive a zero.

  • This part of the assignment is worth 20 points.

To view grading criteria for discussion answers click here.

Part Two:

Write a response to two other students' postings.  Your responses should follow these guidelines:

  1. Your response should be thoughtful, insightful and substantive.  You should demonstrate that you have thoroughly read the original poster's answer and carefully evaluated his or her arguments.

  2. Your response must add new insights, information, observations and/or arguments to the discussion.  You should not merely reiterate and/or agree with what has already been said.  Remember, this is an assignment to exercise your critical thinking skills and not just a chat room.

  3. You should critically evaluate the original poster's statements and arguments and explain in detail whether or not you agree and why or why not.

  4. Please focus your comments on the content of the original poster's answer (e.g. his or her arguments, reasons, assertions, examples, etc.) rather than on things like grammar, spelling, and punctuation.  Of course, this does not mean that I don't think grammar, punctuation and spelling are important!  I do and they will definitely factor into my grading.  However, I would like you to focus on content.

Your responses must be posted by 12:00 midnight on Sunday. Your responses are worth 10 points each. In order to get credit for your responses, you must meet these requirements:

  • Each response must be a minimum of 150 words or no credit.

  • No more than two students may write a response for the same posting. If two students have already responded to a posting, please select a different posting to respond to.

To view grading criteria for discussion answers click here.

Posting your answer:

Do not send your work as an attached file. This makes it more difficult for your classmates to read your posting and respond.  If you compose your answer is a word processing program, use the cut and paste features to post your answer to the discussion forum.

Go to the course home page and click on the "Discussion Board" button.

Click on the link that says "Discussion 2."

If you are posting your answer to the discussion assignment, click on "Thread."

If you are posting a response, click on the subject of the posting you are responding to and then click the "Reply" button.

© 2012 Joy Kairies.  All rights reserved.

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