Assignments

This page describes the writing and project presentation assignments, and presents sample student work (courtesy of the students and used with permission).

Written Assignments

Pre-concert Forum Responses

Students must write a 2-3 page paper about each forum. Each paper should offer comparative responses to any two of the four presentations. Choose the two that you found most stimulating and/or provocative, intellectually and/or imaginatively. The two might be complementary or contradictory in nature—offering opposed or parallel views of the same issues.

Explain your responses by citing specific aspects of what the two speakers said and did, as well as what came up in conversations between the panelists or in questions from the audience, etc. To do this, you will probably find it a good idea to write down your thoughts right after the forums conclude. You can polish or refine them later, after you have had more time to reflect.

These papers are the best way we have of knowing how deeply you are engaged with the ideas underlying the seminar, the forums, and the concerts.

Concert Responses

After each concert, similarly to the above assignment, offer comparative responses to any two of the musical works played on the program, in 1-2 pages total. Choose the two that you found most stimulating and/or provocative, intellectually and/or imaginatively. The two might be complementary or contradictory in nature—offering opposed or parallel views of the same issues.

Explain your responses by citing specific aspects of what you saw as well as what you heard. The “liveness” of the event is important, as are the interactions between the performers, the specific sound qualities of each piece, etc.

This is not an music theory or music history class, and we are not expecting you to do the kind of detailed formal or stylistic analysis we require in other 21M subjects. Nor do we want you to “review” the concert in the manner of a music critic! Your responses should be based on how you like to think about musical experiences, especially in relation to the themes of this class.

Toward the latter end, please add one additional paragraph to your responses about the concert as a whole, addressing this question: Overall, how well did the concert work as a way of exploring aspects of TIME?

Please submit your responses to the forums and the concerts no later than the following Monday at 8 p.m.

Sample Student Work

STUDENTS FORUM & CONCERT RESPONSES
#1 #2 #3
Warren Chan (PDF) (PDF) (PDF)
Jared Sadoian (PDF) (PDF) (PDF)

Project Presentations

All students taking the class for credit must make a presentation, either individually or in teams of two or three, during the last week of the class. The presentations can be about an artwork (e.g., a novel, a painting, a film, or another piece of music), another sort of cultural object (e.g., a building, a musical instrument, or a specific type of media technology), or a scientific research project. (Team presentations might involve more than one of these.) No matter which approach you choose, the presentations should focus on issues of time, either as itself the central focus, or in relation to elements of form, spatial design, memory, or cognition.

The presentations might consist of musical performances (solo or chamber music), to be arranged in consultation with the instructors. If you have friends you want to perform with who are not taking the class, that is okay.

Individual presentations should last about 10-12 minutes. Teams can go longer, to a maximum of 20 minutes.

On the day of the presentation, each student should hand in a 3-4 page write-up of the project and what it has revealed.

Please choose a topic and submit your proposal online no later than 5 p.m after the fourth class session (C4). We will finalize the projects and presentation schedule by classtime the following day.

Sample Student Work

PROJECTS PRESENTATIONs
“Notation and Time in Music,” by Jared Sadoian See the Class 12 video
“Current research on music & the brain” by anonymous MIT student Slides (PDF)

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

theaters Other Video
theaters Lecture Videos
Music
assignment_turned_in Written Assignments with Examples
assignment_turned_in Presentation Assignments with Examples