Musical Links Investigation Guide: Step One – Choosing the Music and Analysis Links

The Musical Links Investigation (MLI) can be broken down into sequential, manageable steps which provide a framework for success.  After the student understands the meaning of culture and analysis links, the next steps of selecting music with analysis links is crucial to the success of the paper.  Please note the role of the teacher in this important aspect.

STEP ONE: CHOOSING THE PIECES

Using your understanding of culture and musical analysis links, list several pieces of music and possible musical analysis links using Chart A below. The “brainstorming” of pieces is your starting point for this process. At this point, you are simply using your musical library and listening songs with musical analysis links in mind.

Ideas for Musical Analysis Links Step One

Continue to add pieces until you have found at least two pieces having TWO similar music analysis links. This is one of the most challenging aspects of the MLI. Know the task of selecting pieces with strong musical analysis links will provide the necessary solid foundation for your MLI. Take the time to find two pieces that have two solid links.

CHART A: IDEAS FOR MUSIC SELECTION

STEP TWO: PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS USING A VENN DIAGRAM

Using your two selected pieces, complete a preliminary analysis. An in-depth, sustained analysis will be completed later in the process.

A Venn Diagram is a visual aid to organizing your musical links and provide confirmation that your two chosen pieces have strong music analysis links. A Venn Diagram is a graphic organizer with two overlapping circles. The section that overlaps shows the musical analysis links common to the two selected pieces.

Venn Diagram – elements

Complete a brief analysis for your first two chosen pieces using the Venn diagram. This is a summary will help you organize the similarities or musical analysis links as well as differences between the pieces.

STEP THREE: CONFIRMING THE MUSICAL ANALYSIS LINKS

Using the music analysis similarities/links from your Venn Diagram’s overlapping circles, use a narrative approach to list the links and chart the locations where they occur. When choosing the musical links it is important they occur frequently enough to allow for a sustained musical investigation. For example, both pieces are in 4/4 time does not provide for a sustained investigation.

To confirm the choice of musical analysis links, detail locations for your musical evidence supporting your thesis. Your musical links are the thesis of your paper; the examples support and provide evidence for this.

In your narration, write the following:

  1. What? Name the musical link
  2. Who is playing? Identify the instrument/voice
  3. Where is this happening ? The location in seconds or measures
  4. Why/how? Write a short argument discussing the use of the link at this location

Here is a narrative example for musical analysis link of sequences.   Remember this analysis is only for the musical links you listed and not for the entire song.

Selection One: This orchestral movement begins with an full string orchestra stating an 8 measure homophonic melody played forte in the A section. After the 8 measure melody, the violins play a contrasting legato melody which utilizes the interval of M6th. This 4 measure melody is then sequenced down a whole step in m. 13. (Continue listing sequences to the end of the song using a score for this piece)

Selection Two: This world music pieces begins with an introduction from 0 – .05 seconds. In the A section, at .06 a female vocalist enters singing what could be considered the A section melody which is sequenced down 3 seconds later. I’m not sure what the interval is. (Continue listing sequences to the end of the piece using seconds as there is no score for this piece.)

To help you organize your thoughts, it may be helpful to use the following chart:

CHART B: MUSICAL ANALYSIS LINKS AND THEIR LOCATIONS

CHART B: SAMPLE USING SEQUENCE EXAMPLE

CHART B: LINK ONE: SEQUENCES

STEP FOUR: PEER REVIEW AND TEACHER APPROVAL

Make a decision BEFORE you start writing the MLI if these pieces will indeed provide a sustained investigation.

  1. Discuss Chart B with your classmates.
  2. Receive teacher approval prior to beginning writing the paper.  Note the first bullet below in the role of the teacher. Primary sources are recordings and scores. You may have access to analysis from other sources of your piece as well.
  3. Using the rubric from below, self assess your musical selection and musical analysis links. Reflect with your teacher and classmates.

The IB Music Guide recommends:

Role of the Teacher and Assessment

The role of the teacher in the early stages is to guide the student’s research and analysis to meet the requirements and accurately provide a framework upon which the student can build a successful MLI.

Prior to the student’s completion of the first draft, the teacher is expected to:

  • Require each student in the early stages of the investigation to provide a conceptual framework detailing the proposed musical links, similarities and differences, and primary and secondary sources.
  • Encourage and support students in the preparation of the work and facilitate access to resources.
  • Provide guidance about the writing skills needed to complete the musical links investigation
  • Ensure that the students understand what constitutes academic honesty and an authentic piece of work, including citation of sources.
  • Encourage students not to rely on one source for all of their information.

Step Five: SELF-ASSESSMENT

Discuss your self-assessment with your teacher and classmates using criteria A from the MLI rubric.

CRITERION A

THE MLI CHECKLIST – MUSICAL CULTURE AND MUSICAL ANALYSIS LINKS

When you have finished this section, use the following checklist to ensure you have completed the beginning steps to your MLI. With the assistance of your teacher, the work you have completed will provide the foundation necessary for your success.

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