Choose 1 of the following topics to discuss at length.
1. According to Aristotle, music “imitates the passions or states of the soul, such as gentleness, anger, courage, temperance, and their opposites. Music that imitates a certain passion arouses that same passion in the listener. Habitual listening to music that rouses ignoble passions distorts a person’s character. In short, the wrong kind of music makes the wrong kind of person, and the right kind tends to make the right kind of person.”1 Respond to this claim in terms of your understanding of music. Do you feel that Aristotle is correct or not? Use specific examples to support your claims.
2. The play The Marriage of Figaro (1784), which ridiculed the privileges of the aristocracy and set a common servant above his master, was banned throughout France and Austria. It has been considered an early indicator of the French Revolution. Certainly authorities of the eighteenth century felt justified in their banning of the work. Please discuss your position on musical restrictions. Do you feel there is ever justification for a piece of music being restricted or banned from public consumption? Use specific examples to support your claims.
3. In recent years the question of whether or not to place high importance on film music has seen much debate. Many feel that, given the nature of the film industry (e.g. director restrictions, editorial cuts, etc.), that film music can not rightfully be considered alongside works of past masters. Others, however, champion some film scores as modern masterpieces in their own right. Given your understanding of the history of music, please discuss your thoughts regarding the status of film music. Do you believe that orchestral scores composed for films deserve to be an important part of the history of classical music? Why or why not? Use specific examples to support your claims.