The paper is due on April 17 and should be 4-5 pages long. It should contain footnotes in MLA style for sources that you cite. Please choose from one of the following topics:
1. In addition to Barbara Strozzi, there were a number of other female composers during the Baroque period. One particular woman made her debut playing harpsichord for Louis XIV at the age of five, was attached to the court for another 15 years, and then married and went on to write and publish a number of harpsichord, chamber, and vocal works. For this paper, your research will uncover as many of these Baroque female composers as you can and then you will discuss one or two of their pieces. (You can find such works on YouTube and in other sources.) Please be sure to cite all your sources.
2. A long-standing debate in Bach research is the question of the performance of the "Art of the Fugue." Some feel that it is a keyboard work and should be performed on harpsichord or on organ. Other feel that it is an orchestral work that should be performed by a string orchestra or a chamber work performed by various combinations of string and/or wind instruments. For this paper, you will research the different arguments (some will be scholarly and some will be personal) and will provide a summary of different sides of the argument. You may also provide your own view of how best to perform this work. You may also address the topic of performing Bach on the piano. [please note I have added to the third unit of the course website an orchestral performance of the contrapuncti that are already available in keyboard versions.]
3. On the course website, there are two extended scenes from Baroque opera. The first is from the 17th century (Monteverdi's L'Incoronzaione di Poppea) and the other from the 18th century (Rameau's Hypolite et Aricie). However, the lectures could only touch upon a small portion of all that is happening in these two scenes. For this paper, you will choose one of these scenes and write a detailed analysis of the entire passage. As a dramatic stage work, you will want to discuss the music, the dramatic action, staging, costumes, etc. using the YouTube performances found on the course website. If you choose the scene by Rameau, there is also an extended dance sequence that you will be able to discuss.
4. Since some of you play piano, this paper will involve the development of keyboard music in the Baroque. Using the many examples found on the website, you will discuss the role of keyboard music, its instruments, its genres, its audience, and any other aspects of keyboard music that you find important.
5. Throughout the course, we have examined a number of sacred and secular musical works. For this paper, you will want to compare a Baroque composer's use of sacred and secular texts. The website contains many examples and even sacred and secular works by the same composer. There are also some genres (i.e. cantatas) that can be sacred or secular. Your treatment of this subject should synthesize information on the website, discuss individual works, and perhaps even provide your own views.
6. Johann Sebastian Bach is the central figure to the music of the Baroque and the course lectures have included many of his works. For this paper, you will cull, from different units of the course, all the information about Bach and his music and you will then organize it into an engaging discussion of Bach's importance for the music of the Baroque.