Select a popular music artist active between 1950 and the present. Bob Dylan. (Essay Sample)
Length: 6-8 pages, or roughly 2000-2200 words.
Format: Use a 12-point font and double-spacing. Make sure your name, your B00#, and
the course number and date (MUSC 2019, Winter 2019) are on the first page of your
Sources and Citations: Use at least 5 sources for your essay, at least 3 of which must be
scholarly sources (such as academic journal articles or scholarly books). Wikipedia does
not count as one of your 5 sources (although it may be a useful resource for getting
started). You may cite your sources using either footnotes in the Chicago Style (also
known as Turabian) format or parenthetical citations in the APA or MLA format.
Regardless of the citation format you use, you should provide a bibliography of sources
cited. Instructions for formatting your citations are available via many websites. If you
are unsure how to do proper citations, consult with your TA or go to the Writing Centre.
NOTE: Dalhousie subscribes to several online databases for music research (RILM being
the best), which can be accessed at: http://dal(dot)ca(dot)libguides(dot)com/music/databases
Dalhousie also subscribes to the Grove Online Dictionary, which can be accessed at:
Plagiarism: All students in this class are to read and understand the policies on
plagiarism and academic honesty as referenced in University policy at
http://academicintegrity(dot)dal(dot)ca. Ignorance of such policies is no excuse for violations.
All essays will be run through the URKUND plagiarism software. All essays previously
turned into MUSC 2019 are in the URKUND database, and your essay will be checked
against them and all published literature on your artist.
Assignment: Select a popular music artist active between 1950 and the present who is
NOT represented in the required listening for this class. (You may select an artist who
appears in the supplemental folders on Brightspace as long as that artist does not
appear in the required listening folders.) Select one song by that artist that came out
after 1950 and make a case for why that artist and song should be covered in a class
called “The Rock-and-Roll Era and Beyond.” You may discuss more than one song by
your artist, but you should focus on ONE song and argue why it should be required
listening for this course. This requires that you think about what constitutes historical
significance and demonstrate that your selection has it. In doing so it may be useful to link your song to the musical movements it is associated with (e.g., soul, heavy metal,
funk, girl groups, disco, hip-hop, etc.), and, if possible, explain how it relates to broader
social, historical, political, and/or cultural issues.
You should provide relevant background information on your selected artist.
however, this is NOT a biographical essay assignment, and your coverage of the artist’s
biography should be limited to information relevant to her/his/their historical
Be sure to discuss musical details and how they contribute to the significance and/or
impact of your chosen song. Explain how the song works and what kinds of meanings it
offers, and to whom. What musical elements are most important to this particular song?
How do these musical elements contribute to the meaning, effect, and impact of the song? Why does this song matter, and why should it be required listening for this course?
Born in 1941, Bob Dylan is a musician and songwriter whose great influence is known all over the world. As a folk-rock singer and songwriter, Dylan is widely known for coming up with songs that seek to address political and social issues in America and the world as a whole. Some of his most influential songs include “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, “Hurricane”, “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Blowin’ In The Wind”, just to mention a few. Out of his works, the most renowned song is “Like a Rolling Stone” and this is famous for its lyrics that were written intentionally to address various issues in the society during the period. Generally, the “Like a Rolling Stone” song that was written in 1965 is an informative and confrontational song that communicates the ideas of love, loneliness and the consequences of living a sinful life through its carefully written lyrics. Overall, Dylan was concerned with social issues and sought to express them in music. With this in mind, this paper therefore aims to investigate the reasons why the artist and this song belong to the rock-and-roll era, its historical significance and why the song matters.
In order to understand Bob Dylan and his style of music particularly in ‘Like a Rolling Stone”, it is important to begin with the background information on the artist. Bob Dylan was born in the year 1941 in Minnesota, USA, and his influence in the popular music of the 20th century is quite immense. As a singer and songwriter, his song lyrics have been termed as being extraordinary and of high literary quality (Kastner, 2015).
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