Essay; cyber-history.

Rule #1 is always in effect: defend your claims with evidence and reasoning and examples. That means you need to be specific. Saying something is good or bad is not nearly enough. Avoid circular reasoning. “I like this version better because it made me feel good.” No. Explain.

So what do you do instead? Use better words, ones that refer to ideas your reader can wrap their head around. These are musical performances: so you can use words like tempo, melody, tone, volume, arrangement, expressiveness, emotion, sincerity, authenticity, virtuosity (quality of performance). Those last 2 ideas are especially useful, because we might respond to a song because it has been performed with greater skill, or we might respond to it because it expresses some emotional or visceral aspect of the song better. The more skilled musician does not always produce the best performance. And the singer with the best tone and range does not always produce the most compelling work.Rule #1 is always in effect: defend your claims with evidence and reasoning and examples. That means you need to be specific. Saying something is good or bad is not nearly enough. Avoid circular reasoning. “I like this version better because it made me feel good.” No. Explain.

So what do you do instead? Use better words, ones that refer to ideas your reader can wrap their head around. These are musical performances: so you can use words like tempo, melody, tone, volume, arrangement, expressiveness, emotion, sincerity, authenticity, virtuosity (quality of performance). Those last 2 ideas are especially useful, because we might respond to a song because it has been performed with greater skill, or we might respond to it because it expresses some emotional or visceral aspect of the song better. The more skilled musician does not always produce the best performance. And the singer with the best tone and range does not always produce the most compelling work.

The list is below. Choose one grouping, usually a pair. Be sure to check that both links work before starting, just in case one of the youtube entries has disappeared into cyber-history.

What’s the Purpose of this assignment? This assignment relates to a critical thinker’s understanding of aesthetics, which we can define informally as any attempt to answer the question “what makes a beautiful x? “ or “what makes a subjectively excellent x?” Show me you can do critical thinking in the context of aesthetics.

In the domain of aesthetics, the subject (art, or pizza, or movies, or something) shows you how to think about it. The closer and more carefully you pay attention, the more the subject will tell you. Then, as many people inquire into that subject, important common criteria may emerge to produce a consensus about what makes a pizza a great or beautiful pizza, or a movie an outstanding movie. Even so, any judgement of which version of the song is better is a subjective judgment.

Cold, Cold, Heart: Hank Williams (country) versus Norah Jones (jazz)

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