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MUL2010 Listening to and Describing Music

Listening to and Describing Music

Jacklyn Dougherty

Part I:

Ament's article has a more personal and subjective perspective in contrast to the straightjacket approach of the textbook that contains more objective and analytical views (Cornelius & Natvig, 2018). The textbook probably focuses on the sub-categories like rhythm, melody, timbre, instrumentation and form, while on the other hand Ament proposes more personalized, subjective and abstract sub-categories like imagination, feeling and physical sensation.

 A similarity between the two is that both emphasize the value of active listening. There is an important distinction between the textbook that aims to establish the basic concept of musical elements, whereas Ament promotes a more interactive and personal connection with music.

The song that makes me freeze when it begins playing is "Clair de Lune" by Claude Debussy. The haunting melody triggers a feeling of nostalgia. The tone of the piano is very rich and velvety. The rhythm is fluid and rubato is used to create a dreamy mood. The mood is melancholic but romantic. 

Part II:

The two genres I will discuss from the video are reggae and jazz.

Reggae has a particular off beat rhythm, which is usually played by the guitar or piano. The rhythm is laid back and not very demanding, with a simple and repetitive melody. The instruments usually include drums, bass, guitar, and keyboard (collectivecadenza, 2012). The mood tends to be moderate and friendly. While jazz has a more complicated rhythmic structure, consisting of swing rhythm and syncopation. The melody is almost completely improvised and individual expression is favored. The devices can vary, but the most commonly used are saxophones, trumpets, piano, and drums. It may vary from calm to vigorous depending on the genre.

 One of similarities between the two genres is the role of improvising and the individual's interpretation. One distinction is that reggae features a more steady, consistent beat compared to jazz which is usually characterized by complex rhythmic variations.


Cornelius, S., & Natvig, M. (2018). Music: A social experience (2nd ed.). Routledge.

collectivecadenza. (2012, July 10). An abridged history of western music in 16 genres [Video]. YouTube. 

MUL2010 Listening to and Describing Music
MUL2010 Listening to and Describing Music

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