Song/Artist Analysis

Please make yourself aware of TMU’s policies on academic integrity, as referenced in the second document in the course outline. Failure to document your sources is considered plagiarism, which is a violation of the Student Code of Academic Conduct and is subject to penalty. Every use of or reference to another’s work must be documented. Short quotations, paraphrasing, and long quotations must all be fully referenced in your term paper.

In addition to plagiarism, the use of AI programs like Chat GPT in writing term papers is strictly prohibited.

Term papers are to be 1500 to 2000 words in length (which is about six to eight typed, double-spaced pages in 12-point Times New Roman font). This word count does not include the reference list and discography at the end.

Choose one of the three questions below for your term paper:

  1. Find an original song and a cover version of it by a different artist. Listen to and examine the two versions of the song. You might consider some of the following questions. How are they similar?  How are they different?  Has the instrumentation changed? Are the dynamics, rhythms, tempo, form, melody, or timbre of the singer’s voice different? Is there a different mood to the piece? Consider the larger context: why might the artist have covered the song? Are there similarities between the two artists’ styles? Provide some background from scholarly sources on these styles and their history.  How was the cover received by audiences? Are issues of authenticity raised with the cover song?
  1. Find a song from the early part of an artist’s career, and then a different song from a later period by the same artist. The two songs must be at least ten years apart (for example: Bob Dylan, “Blowin’ in the Wind” (1963) and “Gotta Serve Somebody” (1979). Listen to/examine the two songs. You might consider some of the following questions. How are they similar?  How are they different?  Has the instrumentation changed?  Are the dynamics, rhythms, tempo, form, or melody different?  How does the timbre of the singer’s voice change?  Is there a different mood to the piece?  Has the artist shifted styles significantly, or adopted a new approach to songwriting? Now look at the piece in a larger context—why did the artist change styles, or keep recording the same kind of material? Is the artist responding to audience demand? Has the artist worked with different producers, band members, or record labels? What elements of the earlier period have carried over to the later period? Did the artist gain or lose popularity in that time? What can the changes between the two songs (or lack thereof) tell us about the longevity of the artist or what is meaningful about their music? Provide some background from scholarly sources on the history of the genre(s) the artist uses and ground your musical discussion in that.
  1. Discuss the history and development of a specific sub-genre of American (or American-derived) popular music. You will need to be specific: for example, delta blues rather than just blues; bebop rather than just jazz; honky tonk rather than just country music; death metal rather than just heavy metal; 1970s British punk rather than just punk; gangsta rap rather than just hip-hop. Who are the prominent artists and/or composers in this sub-genre? What are its general musical parameters – like instrumentation, timbral profile, lyrical content – and how do these distinguish it from other similar sub-genres? When did this sub-genre thrive? Who was/is its audience? Did it have any lasting effect on subsequent genres? Consider the ways in which the music reflects its place and time historically, socio-economically, technologically, and so on. Pick one recording that best represents your chosen sub-genre and discuss it using the musical terminology from class, as explained in the Term Paper Writing Guide. [NOTE: do not choose this topic if you are not clear about the level of specificity required. If you write a term paper on an entire genre (like jazz or – good lord – rock) rather than a sub-genre (like bebop or early 70s glam rock) you will receive a failing grade as you will have failed to address the question. This has happened often enough that I feel compelled to warn you about it]


Use at least four peer-reviewed sources.

Possible starting sources (available through TMU’s library): Oxford Music Online and Bloomsbury’s Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World for short articles, or JSTOR for longer articles from refereed journals. You may also find e-books available through the library catalogue.

For recordings, you might try Spotify, iTunes, or Toronto’s public libraries (for physical and digital music). In the case of YouTube, only music from authenticated artist or label accounts is allowed, since, like Wikipedia, there is often no way to verify the accuracy of the information from most content posters.

**Recordings discussed in class, in the text, or listed on your listening lists are not permitted for discussion in your paper. **

Also see the Research Help page on the TMU library website:

The music research guide offers helpful tips on searching for peer-reviewed electronic journals.

Citation Requirements

This is a research paper, so the quality and variety of your sources is important. Students are expected to use reference materials from the library (books, journals, Academic encyclopedias {i.e., NOT Britannica, or other high school-level sources}, on-line data bases, recordings). You may use more than one article or entry from the same peer-reviewed journal, but a maximum of one entry each from the Oxford Music Online’s encyclopediae and Bloomsbury’s Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World will count towards your four peer-reviewed sources. Reliable online sources, such as the official website for an artist, may be consulted for additional information. Official biographic monographs and non-peer-reviewed books and magazine articles on popular music in general are also acceptable secondary sources. Authors must be cited for all websites used, and proper bibliographic format (as explained in the Term Paper Writing Guide) must be used. The use of Wikipedia,, song lyric sites, “Master Classes,” chord sites, and other unreliable, non-academic, or general interest sites is prohibited. Students must use a minimum of four peer-reviewed sources in addition to recordings, and must cite all directly or indirectly quoted and paraphrased material, including the professor’s notes or lectures. If you are unsure what constitutes a scholarly source, see:

Term papers with citations, reference pages, and discographies that do not meet the formatting requirements will lose 10%. Reference pages and discographies must be single-spaced, with second and subsequent lines of each entry indented and all punctuation in the correct place. For this term paper you must use the Author-date-page format for in-text citations (see section III “In-text Citation, Reference Page and Discography” in the Term Paper Writing Guide on D2L). You must list your written references and discography separately, though you may put them on the same page. Be sure that that the entries are in alphabetical order (by author whenever one is given), and free of spelling mistakes and other errors, as this part of the term paper is worth a full 10% of the mark.

Term Papers that do not use the minimum four peer-reviewed sources will lose 5% per missing source.

It is possible to lose a total of 30% of the term paper grade with a combination of no peer-reviewed sources and an incorrectly formatted reference page or citations. Please take care in all of your citation practices.

The textbook and class notes will not be counted as one of the four required written research sources.

Late term papers will be penalized at a rate of 2% per day after the due date. Exemptions from the penalty will only be granted with appropriate written documentation and in person consultation with the professor within one week of the submission deadline.

Do you need urgent help with this or a similar assignment? We got you. Simply place your order and leave the rest to our experts.

Order Now

Quality Guaranteed!

Written From Scratch.

We Keep Time!

Scroll to Top