University of Wisconsin–Madison


Professor Susan cook (Music 416, Survey of music in the 20th century)

All graduate students must complete a 12-15 page written project in lieu of the final exam. (Undergraduate students may opt to do so as well with permission of the instructor.) You have agency over this project, and it may take a number of forms provided it intersects with course content and goals. You will meet with me to determine the best kind of project for your specific graduate needs. You will share their projects orally during the final exam time.

Some examples of projects include, but are not limited to:

• Substantive Concert Review

• Substantive Book Review of a publication appearing in the last 5 years

• An Annotated Bibliography of sources germane to a specific topic; annotations must be both descriptive and evaluative. [See the Writing Center’s The Writer’s Handbook for a description.}

• A State-of-the-Research Paper, similar to a annotated bibliography, but more discursive in presenting what work has been done on a particular topic and what research remains to be done

• A Reception History, explores how a specific work/composer has been “received” by audiences over time

• A Research paper on an original topic specific enough to be covered in depth in 12-15 pages.

For all projects, you must provide a bibliography listing all materials you consulted, including scores and recordings (not included in page count.) Endnotes and bibliography must be in a recognizable form (preferably Chicago/Turabian documentation style; please see the Writer’s Handbook for clear, up-to-date information). I will be looking for the overall quality of your project, both in choice of a topic of interest and value to you, how well you carry out the steps, especially the draft and its revision, and how convincingly you present your work to your peers. Attention to details is expected as well as adherence to correct citation form. I encourage you to work with me as well as with our Music

Librarians as you identify your models, sources, etc.

Timeline for Major Research Project

1. Week of Feb. 12: Discussion of Options

You will schedule a time to meet with me to discuss your options and interests.


2. Feb. 22: Deadline for Choice of Project type and topic

You will share with me your best projections about the kind and scope of your project and why you’ve made this choice.


3. Feb. 27: Analytic Response to a Model

Depending on the type of project you choose, you will identify a possible model or example of a similar kind of project. In your response, summarize your model and identify what it does well, how it sheds light on contemporary musical life, what specific features you might emulate as well as how your project will be different. Some questions that might be useful: How does it bring in new ideas? Does it make a central claim? Does it answer “so what” and “who cares?” What is it structured?


4. April 10: Project Draft due


5. April 17: Peer Review response due

Everyone will have the opportunity to read drafts of two other projects ideally of a similar type to the one you’ve chosen. You will provide specific feedback that both highlights the draft’s strong points and provides specific recommendations for making the work stronger


6. May 8: Final Draft due and Oral Presentations

As we move through the steps, I’ll share more information and context. You can always schedule additional times to meet to discuss particular aspects. Again, this is an opportunity for you to carry out work that matters to you.