Listening Reflection Report: Musical Perceptions and Research
Word Count: 950-1100 words
Your task is to write a report presenting a focused listening analysis of two musical
works from those listed below. Choose one work from Group A and one from Group B.
You will present two separate analyses of your chosen works and then write a
comparison of the two works at the end of your report. You’ll need to listen to each of
your chosen works many times.
The works are available in the MindTap “Practice Active Listening”= Folders.
Writing your Report:
For each of your chosen works, your analysis will include four sections: First
Impression, Emotional Description, Technical Description, and History and Research
Results. Use all of these headers in each of the discussions of your chosen musical
• First Impression:
When you heard the music for the first time, what did you think about it? What
did it remind you of? This discussion should briefly examine the first impressions
you had of the music, just as you have a first impression when meeting a person
for the first time. Your later opinions of the work could be very different from your
immediate first impressions. Of the four sections, this one should be shortest.
• Technical Description:
Listen to the music and identify the musical elements. Use the terms you have
studied in your textbook here, to show your command of the vocabulary.
However, be sure the terms you apply are appropriate. In other words, show
what you know but make sure the connections are correct and clear. Provide
objective facts about the music, such as meter, mode, rhythm, tempo,
syncopation, texture, melody, harmony, dynamics, instruments, etc.
• Emotional Description:
This is more in-depth than the First Impression discussion. Here, you’ll
discuss what you feel as you listen to the music additional times. Describe your
personal experience of the music and provide subjective inferences about the
music. Describe how the music makes your feel, or what images you think of
while listening. For instance, discuss what you think is the most interesting
section, most beautiful, the saddest, the happiest, most inspiring, etc. This can
be a tricky discussion, because you’ll need to be able to explain to your reader
which sections of the music are affecting you indifferent ways. Make an effort to
explain what it is about the music that resulted in those feelings. You could make
links between the technical features of the music and the effects they have on
• History and Research Results:
Do some research. Present background information about the musical work
and/or the composer. Be sure to focus on the composer’s work in the genre of
music that you are discussing (for instance, if you have chosen a Mozart
Symphony for your Listening Reflection, then your background research should
focus more on Mozart’s work as a symphonic composer, rather than his expertise
in opera and piano composition.)
For this researched information, you’ll need to cite the sources you use in this
section. Don’t just rely on your textbook or on Wikipedia. Use research sourced
from the Library to help you with this material. DO NOT PLAGIARIZE! Any details
or information you are using needs to have an indicated source. Phrases that you
quote should have quotations marks around them (“ “). Cite your sources
correctly in the text of your report and in a list of references at the end of the
Use either MLA or APA styles; just be consistent with whatever style you
choose. For more help, see the Research Citation Resources folder under
“Assignment” in Blackboard.
Comparison/Contrast: Finally, write up the above Reflection Analysis for both of your
chosen works. THEN, write a final paragraph or two that compares the two works,
discussing any of the following ideas that apply: Do they have any characteristics that
are similar or are they very different? Explain. Which work do you like more? Why? Did
your ideas about the works change after you listened to them more than once—or
perhaps after you did more research about the works or about their composers?
• SONG: Use this word correctly! Not every piece of music is a song. (This is
iTune’s fault!) When identifying and discussing your chosen musical works, be
sure to refer to them and to their sections accurately. Do not use the term “song”
when discussing a piece of music, unless it actually is a song (a work that is
sung). Use other terms: musical work, piece, composition, movement, section,
choral work, aria, etc. You can describe an instrument as having a “singing” or
“song-like” quality, but be sure to explain what you mean.
• EFFECT vs AFFECT: These are spelled differently because they are
different words. Review the different meanings and usage of the words “effect”
and “affect”: For instance, music can affect you or it can have an effect on you.
Also, just as there are sound effects, there are such things as musical effects
(such as wind sounds, produced by violin tremolos, or thunder produced by
drums). Try to use these words correctly.
DUE DATE FOR THE REPORT will be 11:59 PM Eastern Time, as noted on the
Calendar of Activities (see the information on Blackboard).
Submit your completed report through the submission portal on Blackboard. It’s a safer
way to archive and verify your paper submission. Do not email the assignment to me.
Keep a copy for yourself just in case your assignment is lost or didn’t go through. But
after submission, check the file to make sure it was correct.
LIST of MUSIC WORKS for Listening Reflection Report
Choose one work from Group A and one work from Group B
The Middle Ages & the Renaissance Period
• Hildegard of Bingen: O rubor sanguinis (c. 1150
• Machaut: Kyrie from Messe de Nostre Dame (c. 1360)
• Josquin: Ave Maria … virgo serena (c. 1485)
• Weelkes: As Vesta Was Descending (1601)
• Purcell: recitative, “Thy hand Belinda” and aria, “When I am laid in earth” from the
opera, Dido and Aeneas (1689)
• Pachelbel: Canon in D Major (c. 1690)
• Vivaldi: “Spring” Concerto (La Primavera), from The Four Seasons (early 1700s),
• Bach: Organ Fugue in G Minor (Little Fugue) (c.1710)
• Handel: Hallelujah Chorus, from Messiah
• Mozart: Excerpts from Don Giovanni, K. 527 (1787)
• Mozart: Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, Movement I (1788)
• Haydn: Symphony No. 94 in G Major (The Surprise), (1791), Movement II
Beethoven: Bridge to Romanticism
• Beethoven: Piano Sonata, Opus 13, (Pathétique), (1799), Movement I: pp. 156
• Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Opus 125, (1824), Movement IV (Ode to
• Schubert: Erlkönig, (1815)
• Clara Schumann: “Liebst du um Schönheit”, (1841)
• Chopin: Nocturne in E Flat Major, Opus 9, No. 2, (1832)
• Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, (1830), Movement IV
• Verdi: “Follie!” and “Sempre libera” from La Traviata (1853)
• Wagner: “Ride of the Valkyries” from Die Walküre (1856)
• Bizet: “Habañera” from Carmen (1875)
• Puccini: “Che gelida manina” from La Bohème (1896)
• Brahms: Violin Concerto in D Major, (1878), Movement III
• Musorgsky: Promenade and The Great Gate of Kiev from Pictures at an Exhibition,
The 20th Century and Beyond • Debussy: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, (1894)
• Stravinsky: Le Sacre du printemps, Introduction and Scene I, (1913)
• Schoenberg: “Madonna” from Pierrot lunaire, (1912)
: Appalachian Spring, (1944)
• Adams: Short Ride in a Fast Machine, (1986)
Student Listening Reflection Report Example:
Here’s a very short example of part of a Listening Reflection Report with
incomplete, excerpted sections. Your report will be more developed and much
Note that the Richard Strauss example below is NOT one of your required pieces.
Title/Composer: “Also Sprach Zarathustra” by Richard Strauss
First Impression: Listening to this piece reminded me of some noble event in history. I
remember hearing it in the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey,” where it depicted the
beginning of human thought.
Technical description: “Also Sprach Zarathustra” starts with a very low note played on
organ. Trumpets play a simple, unison, adagio (or perhaps largo), 3 notes, each higher
in pitch than the last. There is a big crescendo on the held note, then two descending
fortissimo notes played by the full brass section. It sounds like it’s in a minor key. A
timpani playing two alternating notes ends the phrase. Then this opening part repeats
two more times, but the brass section notes go higher on each repetition leading to a
brilliant, uplifting, triumphant section still played by the brass. The pitch goes higher and
higher and the dynamics get gradually louder until the final chord. The loudness of the
music is created by adding more instruments. Then all the sound dies away in a
diminuendo, until all that is left is the organ playing a final chord.
Emotional description: Emotionally, this short piece made me feel very proud and
optimistic. I can’t really put the feeling into words except to say it felt like good had
brilliantly triumphed over the dark, evil sounds that began the piece. The triumphant
feeling is probably due to the sound of the brass and bright trumpets that sound like
they’re heralding something to come.
History and research results: I read that this opening is part of a larger tone poem by
Strauss, a single-movement programmatic work in which he musically depicts the ideas
of the religious figure, Zoroaster (628-551 BC), as articulated in a book by the same
name by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Strauss composed this work in… […]