Term Paper Guidelines, and Timeline Guidelines
1. Choose a composer who seems interesting and relevant to you (Please use George Gershwin). Focus
on an aspect of his/her work such as “importance as performer and teacher,” or “influence upon
other composers,” or “opera compositions,” or “…as reflective of his/her era.” Do some research to
discover any other potentially fruitful angle. For example, if you are also interested in painting,
consider comparing musical and visual Impressionism.
You may not select a “popular” music topic unless you find relevant connection to this course.
2. Gather sources and assemble a bibliography. You must use at least 5 print sources and 5 on-line
sources. Avoid the Wikipedia site. Always consult the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.
3. Investigate the historical, artistic, political, or philosophical context of your topic. How and
why are extra-musical events important? You must cite and explain at least 5 appropriate musical
compositions as examples of larger historical relevance. This is a major feature of this paper.
4. This paper should be approximately 10 pages long, typed in Microsoft Word, Times New Roman size
12 font, double-spaced, default margin settings.
5. You must cite all sources and ensure that quotations are properly attributed. Style of citation
for bibliography and notes must follow correct standards (MLA or Chicago Manual).
6. Please proofread and prune out the excess verbiage. Try reading your paper out loud. Do a spell
check! Check in your research sources for spellings of musical terms, composer names, and
composition titles. Do NOT misspell your composer’s name!
7. The paper will be graded as follows:
25 % Content: original prose successfully linking relevant examples to the main focus
25% Required elements: explanation of significant musical examples and larger context
25 % Research: the degree of research, number of appropriate online & print sources)
25 % Presentation (correct citation, appearance of work, grammar & spelling)
8. Plagiarism will not be tolerated and will result in a grade of F for this project.
Not every musical composition is a “song.”
All music conveys emotion. This is not some startlingly new invention.
Define terms. Be clear. Don’t sprinkle terminology as if seasoning a salad.
Avoid colloquialisms and informality in term papers and essays.
Avoid “you,” “your,” and personal pronouns unless absolutely necessary.
Avoid generalizations and hyperbole.
Please use complete sentences. Observe noun-verb agreement.
Please think about verb tense. Use the past tense when writing about past events.
Do not use apostrophes for plural forms.
Capitalize German nouns.
Do not refer to your composer by his or her first name.
And don’t start sentences with conjunctions.