Project #17368 - Synthesis Essay

Synthesis Essay General Info

The idea of the synthesis essay is for you to "pull together" some of the larger concepts that have been presented in class and look at them from a slightly different perspective.  Sure, we have done a reasonable historical survey of rock music through the 1970s, but what does it all mean?  This is your chance to chime in.


This is an essay so, by definition, it will contain your own personal point of view.  This is NOT to say it will simply be your personal opinion and nothing more.  Your point of view should be established, but this must be done in a logical and factual manner.  In the body of the essay, you must be able to support your point of view in some way that goes beyond, "because that's what I think". How well you support your ideas with relevant facts and information will determine how well you do on this assignment.  Don’t try slapping this thing together at the last minute. It WILL show.


The concepts you have been learning all quarter and refining in your homework assignments will come in very handy here.  These assignments have (ideally) built up a basis of knowledge and a way of thinking that will make this larger paper (5-7 pages) much easier to write.  I would suggest revisiting them as you prepare for writing this paper.


While this is not strictly a research paper you will need to do some outside research to find factual material that will support your point of view.  When you use quotes or material from other outside sources it MUST be properly cited using MLA, APA, or Chicago style (whichever you prefer or are most familiar with), just don't mix them.  If you don’t know how to do this, get an Style Manual and learn. There is no getting around this.  If you do not cite and credit your sources it is plagiarism, and Turnitin has a pretty keen eye.


Also note, the internet is a notoriously unreliable source of information, and Wikipedia is among the worst offenders.  Wikipedia is not a source.  Don’t use it.  If you do you WILL lose points.  Never rely solely on internet sources for any research work. The music library at Ohio University is a great resource if you can't find what you need elsewhere.  it is on the 5th floor of the music building (Robert Glidden Hall) and will be a great place for you to do your research.

The essay will be graded as follows:

Introduction,       0 - 20 Points

Body,                0 - 40 points

Conclusion,        0 - 25 points

Mechanics,         0 - 15 points

Total:               100 points


Synthesis Essay Prompt: 

We’ve spent quite a bit of time looking at musical genres during this quarter (from Tin an Alley of the 1920’s to the Power Pop of the 1980s. We have seen how many well-known genres came into existence as a combination or blending of other existing genres (from the Three Tributaries to the Beatles + Punk blend of Power Pop). We’ve also looked (via the Question of the Day) at some related business and social issues affecting the music of the times and by extension the musical genres that were popular at the time.  Now it’s time to dig deeper.


What is a musical genre? Be specific, what makes a genre a genre?

Use examples from lecture or your own experience to illustrate your points. (as always, credit the sources properly!!)

How are genres different from radio formats?

Why do we as music listeners need genres?  Does radio care about genres? Why/Why not?

Have genres outlived their usefulness?

How did genres help the development of R & R? 

Did they unify or divide the audience?  Why/Why not? 

Are they still performing the same function?  Why/Why not?

In the present time there are literally thousands of different genres and subgenres of music. Is this something that is helpful or harmful to artists with the current digitally-based systems of music distribution?  Why/Why not?  

For that matter, does the manner of distribution (digital, records, radio, etc.) affect the life and longevity of a musical genre? How?  Why/Why not?

Dust off your crystal ball and tell me what you see in the future of music “genrefication".  Will the process of splintering into ever-smaller fragments continue or will some sort of unifying force (like radio in the mid 60’s) come back into the picture?  Discuss the social and/or political conditions you think would be necessary to make this unification happen.  A simple yes or no answer is not sufficient.

This assignment is about making connections; it is about exploring the competing and sometimes conflicting roles of art and commerce in rock music. Always keep in mind that while you are presenting your own opinions and observations on these points that you must support them with relevant supporting facts.  If you fail to do this your opinions fall into the “because I said so” category and you will lose points!

Subject History
Due By (Pacific Time) 12/13/2013 12:00 am
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