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Topic: Research Assignment

MARKS: 30% * WORD COUNT: 1350-1650 words
From the Course Outline:
Students will research a topic from the list below and prepare a short paper, focussing on a specific aspect of a musical theatre piece and/or composer/lyricist. Minimum 4 Academic sources, plus good quality resources. Specific criteria will be given.
TOPICS: History of Musical Theatre 1 & 2; 
; Asian Music Theatre& it’s influence on Western Music Theatre;Australian Music Theatre
OR: Negotiated topic
Please choose a broad topic from the list above. (Note: if you want to negotiate a different topic, please email your detailed proposal to Catherine before 10th Oct).
Write a Research Paper which focuses on specific aspects of your chosen topic (see below). This can take the form of an argument/essay with reference to research, or a research-focussed paper. You will also need to refer to specific examples from the musicals/body of work etc.
You should use the relevant lecture(s) as your starting point for a musical/composer/lyricist/era/etc to focus on, but your research should extend from there. (Please do not use lecture notes as a reference: they are a teaching tool, not research in themselves). There are recommended readings on the course page which are all available online via the Uni Library.

You can choose to:
1. focus on one composer/lyricist and look at a couple of examples of their work (eg compare two very different examples, or compare two more similar examples to show a style/consistency in their work).
2. Focus on a musical/musicals that epitomise a style/era or illustrate an artistic response to a broader social issue, or reflect the composer/lyricsts’ artistic and social concerns.
3. Focus on an era and look at representative musicals from that time/style
4. Look at innovators within an era/genre
Please address the following questions regarding your chosen topic:
(focus on the relevant subject ie a musical(s) or composer or lyricist, or comparison of two etc)
What was significant about this musical/composer/lyricist/era/other?
How is this music described/what is significant about its/their theatrical and musical styles?
What have you found in your research that interests you?
What impact did this musical have/is this musical having on the development of music theatre?
What concluding/summarising statement can you make from your research and investigations?
(Note: your focus/introduction will come from these points)
Your paper must:
* State the topic clearly, and the specific focus of your research.
* Give author details iecomposer/lyricist/bookwriter/name of musical(s)/etc details clearly.
* Include date and place of premiere(s)/dates of birth & death (if relevant).
* Short Synopsis of story/plot/short biography of composer/lyricist.
* Make specific reference to examples from the musicals/body of work that illustrate the points you are making/interest you have found in your research
* Have at least 3 Academic references and two good quality other references, as well as links to recordings/excerpts etc. (NOTE: The criteria says 4 Academic: this is changed to 3 + 2 good quality).
* Use Harvard Referencing.
* Have an introduction, and a summarising/concluding paragraph.
* Follow the guidelines for academic integrity as outlined on the University site (see Referencing Help).
Please note: ‘Good quality’ references is there so you can reference good quality, reliable sources (for example, the official Stephen Sondheim website, Playbill, etc), NOT so you can use another University’s teaching notes (see note above re lecture notes) or magazine articles etc.
To give some examples (if you use these specific examples you will need to develop them A LOT to show your specific engagement with them):
1. You could look at Stephen Schwartz and compare something like Pippin with Wicked and look at the development of his style. You could look at Brecht and compare his work with Kurt Weill and Hans Eisler.
2. You could look at Brecht/Weill and the way they created their social commentary through music theatre. You could look at West Side Story/The Pyjama Game/Porgy & Bess and what socials changes/problems they represent.
3. You could look at Asian influence on Western Music Theatre (eg Mikado, Madama Butterfly, Pacific Overtures, etc); Operetta; Rock/pop musicals; Australian music theatre writers eg Eddie Perfect & Casey Bennetto; Hair/Godspell/Jesus Christ Superstar etc.
4. This is for those music theatre composers/lyricists who really pushed the boundaries of what the form is capable of, eg Elegies by William Finn is a song cycle about the deaths of friends and family in response to 9/11; Showboat; Hamilton; etc
This is a chance to do some research on something you found really interesting in the lectures, or to further deepen your knowledge on something you have worked on, or have heard while in this course. Go for it!
Please avoid:
Focusing on Juke box musicals (eg Mamma Mia, Jersey Boys, Priscilla) – please focus on musicals where the songs were created specifically to tell that story.
Rehashing one piece of research – get a few different perspectives (hence the requirement for at least 3 academic references).
Using Wikipedia/other dodgy sites as your references. Not only will they not count as academic, you will lose marks (and for being a 3rd year and still not knowing the difference between good quality resources and the rest!)


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