Musical Qualities | Homework Writings

Throughout U.S. history, artists, composers, and producers have used music to either support or oppose armed conflict. From William Billings’s “Chester” during the American Revolution to Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry America)” after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, music has been an integral part of the cultural landscape of war for over 200 years. Perhaps the richest body of pro- or anti- war songs comes from the Vietnam War era. For the most part, the most popular songs that supported the war came out of the country music community, while the most popular anti-war songs came from rock. In this assignment, you will write a 3–4 page paper answering one of the following questions. I have provided a short spotify playlist and two brief readings that summarizes the cultural context of the time. If you wish, you may consult other sources. Regardless, any idea that you find in another source MUST be cited in the paper using either MLA, APA, or Chicago Style, and you must include a bibliography, which does not count toward your 3–4 pages.
Question One: What are the musical qualities (timbre, harmony, etc.) of these country music songs that help support their patriotic, pro-working class message?
Spotify playlist: Merle Haggard, “Okie from Muskogee,” and Merle Haggard, “The Fightin’ Side of Me.” Available at
Kerry Candaele, “The Sixties and Protest Music,” History Now: The Jouranl of the Gilder Lehrman Institute, available at
Peter LaChapelle, Proud to be an Okie: Cultural Politics, Country Music, and Migration to Southern California (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2007), 180–207. (on eLC)
Question Two: What are the musical (timbre, harmony, etc.) qualities of these rock songs that help them support their anti-war, pro-peace message?
Spotify playlist: Plastic Ono Band, “Give Peace a Chance,” Rolling Stones, “Gimme Shelter.” Available at
Kerry Candaele, “The Sixties and Protest Music,” History Now: The Jouranl of the Gilder Lehrman Institute, available at
Dorian Lynsky, 33 Revolutions Per Minute: A History of Protest Songs from Billie Holiday to Green Day (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), 126–142 (on eLC)
A papers
The thesis is clear and easily located.
All arguments are supported with specific musical details using the vocabulary from the first week of class.
The paper is clearly organized.
There are no typographical, grammatical, or formatting errors.
B papers
The thesis is clear and easily located.
Most arguments are supported with specific musical details using the vocabulary from the first week of class.
The paper is mostly well-organized.
There are few typographical, grammatical, or formatting errors.
C Papers
The thesis is unclear or difficult to find.
Some arguments are supported with specific musical details using the vocabularly from the first week of class.
The paper is difficult to follow.
There are several typographical, grammatical, or formatting errors.
D Papers
There is no thesis.
Arguments are unsupported.
The paper is difficult to follow.
The paper is rife with typographical, grammatical, or formatting errors.

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