This unit draws on a genre concept you are likely already familiar with – musical genre – to foster better understandings of rhetorical genre, which is key to producing successful (and interesting) writing. We’ll begin by thinking about musical genres (what makes new country different from old? what is post-rock?), and then connect these ideas to rhetorical theories of genre. The unit assignment will ask you to complete a genre analysis of a musical genre of your choice. You’ll present your findings in a short audio essay, which you will synthesize using Audacity software (or your own software) and post on YouTube.
DAY BY DAY PLAN
Wed, 2/29 (leap day!) — Learning by Listening
- Dunn, Patricia. Talking, Sketching, Moving: Multiple Literacies in the Teaching of Writing. Boynton/Cook: Heinemann, 2001. (reading on BlackBoard)
- Please read the forward to this book (just a few page). I included the rest of the introduction if you are interested.
- “Tips for Auditory Learners.” University of Utah School of Medicine.
— Come to class ready to participate and think about the kind of learner you are.
Mon, 3/5 — Rhetorical Genre
- Reiff, Mary J, Anis S. Bawarshi, and Amy J. Devitt. Scenes of Writing: Strategies for Composing with Genres. New York: Pearson/Longman, 2004. 63-73, 148-183.
- Read pages 63-73, and 93-94, of this chapter (found online). Might be easiest to print out the needed pages (you don’t have to read the whole chapter).
- Reiff p. 148-182 (student examples removed). I’ve removed the student paper examples, so the pages jump a bit in the 148-183 segment.
— Do the reading and be ready to talk about it. Bring examples of two genres to class. Think outside of “drama” or “poetry” – what other examples are there?
Wed, 3/7 — Musical Genre
- Gjerdingen, R, and D Perrott. “Scanning the Dial: the Rapid Recognition of Music Genres.” Journal of New Music Research 37.2 (2008): 93-100. (reading on BlackBoard)
- Some notes on musical genres to check out: The Etymology of 10 Musical Genre Names; Wikipedia’s List of “Music Styles”; NPR’s Best Music of 2011 by Genre
- Before class, try to download audacity software to your home computer, if you have one.
— Select two-three musical genres you might want to analyze, and post them to the CLASS blog. The more specific, the better (so 90s female R&B, not just R&B, etc.).
Mon, 3/12 — Rhetorical + Musical Genre
- Cooper, Lee B. “Good Timin’: Searching for Meaning in Clock Songs.” Popular Music & Society. 30.1 (2007): 93-106. (reading on BlackBoard)
- Audacity lesson in class, bring your digital recorder. Go here for my page on using Audacity.
— (1) Post the musical genre you plan to analyze to YOUR blog (before class, though we’ll solidify/narrow your choice in class). (2) Also, bring a few songs with you to class from your genre (CDs are easiest, or an .mp3 on a zip drive). (3) Finally, develop a list of 5-10 features you can analyze when you analyze a musical genre (write it down, on paper to submit or YOUR blog). Return to the Reiff and Bawarshi handout to get you thinking, and include at least three items that are NOT musical (so not “use of banjo” or “two-beat ending” – think about music’s other features, as prompted by Reiff and Bawarshi). I’ll compile your responses into a list for all of you to use in analyzing their genres.
Wed, 3/14 — Practice: Musical Genre Analysis
Holt, Fabian. Genre in Popular Music. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2007. 31-45. (We’ll watch some O Brother Where Art Thou in class.) (reading on BlackBoard, read lightly)– reading removed
- Go to NPR’s This I Believe website. Select three stories to listen to (your choice). On YOUR blog, type up a list of the stories you listened to (with hyperlinks where possible), and as well as 4-5 bullets on EACH story about what you learned about presenting information in audio format. This is training for doing your own audio narration (which isn’t the same as reading a paper you wrote), and we’ll look at some more examples in class.
- More on Audacity.
— Bring a rough script for your Musical Genre Analysis (more on this in class). This script will detail the basic outline of your musical genre analysis (what you will say, what clips you’ll use, etc.).
Mon, 3/26 — Workshop (Script)
- Bring a completed script of your Musical Genre Analysis. More on this in class.
Wed, 3/28 — Workshop (Audio)
- Bring at least two minutes of your Musical Genre Analysis. It can be in Audacity format or MP3.
- This will also be our day to do technology problem-solving in class, so bring all your materials (music, digital recorder, etc.) for in-class work time.