Cañada College MUS 202 music appreciation




CLASS NOTES for Spring 2010


Lyrics assignment [middle of the term]


Reference info


Elements of music 


Meter and subdivision 


Groove v. flexible tempo, pop v. classical:  Greg Sandow on rhythm

Design in music


6 (or 7) Kinds of Meaning in Music  and  4 Types of Difficulties in the Arts


Notes on language & music and contrasts between popular and classical music


Song forms – descriptions of common song forms to help you analyze your song project.

Text painting – examples of the variety of relationships between words & music.

Notes on melody – help in analyzing the melody of your song for your analysis project



CONCERT REPORT date due 3 May, 2010. 


            Concerts are listed on the syllabus.  Alternatives need to be approved in advance via email.  Possibilities may be found at the following links:


Many good choices at Stanford University listed on their music department’s calendar

Also look under the calendar link at the bottom of the San Francisco Classical Voice website pages or check the classical listings on

The San Francisco Symphony website is worth exploring, and it lists their concerts. 


Tips on Taking Notes During a Piece of Music when in class.


Extra Credit (due last day of class for full credit)





Harmony (blues and other chord progressions) and form is demonstrated here.


A critic reflects on the live concert experience, authenticity, and rock.


A discussion of excessive compression on CDs. 

Douglas Wolk explains why people like to use the device: "Compression is like salt: a little of it makes everything sound better. Compressed voices sound more authoritative; compressed instruments sound more precise and energetic. Done properly, it gives sound more oomph." But: "Making CDs very loud means that you can't do much else with them. When a recording is ultra-maximized, its dynamic range is severely limited, and it loses what's called 'headroom' — the amount by which a recording can get louder than it is, the sound-engineering equivalent of available space. Without headroom, the entire recording starts turning into one dense, undifferentiated clump of sound."  posted on Alex Ross’s blog.


Steve Reich @ 70 website has excellent clips and info on this composer.


Great sources for arts news, complied from many sources:  Arts Journal (a daily digest), and Arts & Letters Daily, from The Chronicle of Higher Education.


Classical (and Post-Classical) music blogs of interest


by a critic who ventured into punk and other sorts of rock but ultimately returned to writing about classical music for the New Yorker magazine, Alex Ross:  The Rest is Noise


by a composer/critic Greg Sandow, who thinks the classical music world currently is like the Soviet Union just before the fall of the Berlin Wall.  He is also writing a book on-line about the problems faced by classical music.  The book appears chapter-by-chapter, people send in reactions, and he revises as he goes.  A great use of the Internet!


by a composer/critic rather positive or at least indifferent about the “death of classical music,” as long as Post-Classical music rises to replace it, Kyle Gann:  Post-Classic


great insights into what it feels like to be a thinking and working musician:


by a pianist based in New YorkThink Denk


by a classical singer in New York named Tom, who also has a lot to say about food.



It is not easy to determine the nature of music, or why anyone should have a knowledge of it.

Aristotle, Politics


rev. Jan 2010

David Meckler


music class web pages





Fall 2009 assignments and lecture notes Fall 2009  Fall 2009 syllabus


Spring 2009  Spring 2009 Class Notes.


Final Project Assignment


Final Essays Assignment




 Spring 2008 Final Exam due by e-mail or hard copy on Tuesday, 27 May at NOON.


 Guidance for Your Music Analysis Project

Step One – select a song, write a few thoughts about why it might be a good song to analyze; 

write out the lyrics and, based on the lyrics, make a chart of the form of the song.  This is a first draft and may be handwritten.  . 
Step Two – meet with me (5-10 minutes) before presentations start. 

Step 3 – Data Collection & Observations (.doc format) Detailed basic analysis –

Step 4 Interpretation (paper) and Step 5 Presentation (guidelines in .doc format).


Fall 2007 class journal

 Final exam Fall 2007 (.doc format)


Spring 2007 class journal

 FINAL EXAM SPRING 2007 (.doc format; includes the following live links)

Website on Steve Reich for question #3

Dudamel Beethoven audio example website for question #4.  Click “track listing” and then click the 1st track.

Levitin/Byrne discussion for question #7


Outline of second half of the course, Fall 2006, on classical and post-classical music issues