My school is extremely new at IB, and my teachers have no idea how to do the Musical Investigation. So he told us, here are some guildlines, go have fun on your own. He told us nothing, and knows nothing.
I don't even think I picked my topic correctly. I picked Romeo and Juliet by Tchaikovsky vs. Violin Concerto for the Butterfly Lovers by He ZhanHao. The link is that they both tell a similar story.
I have the scores for both but have no idea what to do after that. So far, all I have started to do is write a intro, a intro of the two cultures the composers come from and a summary of the two stories the pieces are based on. However, what do I do after that?
I'm assuming that this is for IB Music, yes? Then you're completely on the wrong track.
These are both program music (music that's associated to events, stories or anything outside of the piece itself -- not made just for the sake of music, for sounds. The latter type of music is called absolute music) inspired by existing tales, and so to have your emphasis on how they're both tragic love stories, is rather a literature analysis assignment than a music one.
Sorry if I sound patronizing or anything -- it's just that I don't know how well you're into the course, so I'm defining a lot of things on the way. Please don't be offended if you already know everything I'm talking about. If you don't... research on!! Anyway, here are my advises:
I'm not familiar with either piece -- what you could do, though, is to see if they employ similar musical devices in both pieces to convey their tragedy. For example, they may both have descending chromatic scales to convey sadness (I don't know if the pieces actually have descending chromatic scales, I'm just making it up. By the way, using descending chromatic scales to convey sadness is a typical baroque musician's technique -- which neither Tchaikovsky nor He ZhanHao is). You need to focus on the musical elements, not the literature side of it.
Do they have stylistic similarities? No? Then, did one influence another? No again? If you can't find something to link them with, maybe they weren't good choices. You should try to talk to someone who's knowledgeable in this topic, and ask them to recommend pieces for you.
Off the top of my head: Jazz influenced Debussy, a 20th century French Impressionist composer, he used many jazz harmonies. That's a musical investigation right there, you can point out jazzy elements in his scores.
Does it have to be "a link between two pieces"? What about two eras? Giovanni Gabrielli formed a bridge between the Renaissance period and the Baroque period by... I forgot. It was some techniques that he used.
What about something like: the development of polyphony and measured time in 13th century School of Notre Dame? For example, if you're doing this topic, you can contrast a score from before 13th century School of Notre Dame, and point out how they're homophonic or less polyphonic, and how they have no measured time nor steady pulse -- and then you can bring a score that was composed by the people in the School of Notre Dame (Leonin & Perotin were the most important, I recommend), and point out their polyphonic characteristics and steady pulse. And to do this, you should also do background research who the School of Notre Dame was, what music was like before they emerged, blah blah. And also point out why things became more polyphonic. You can use cultural reasons, like the Church had become less strict, or something.
Okay -- hope this helped. IB Music's a killer, I'm in the same boat... but good luck!
A very good source -- the textbook we use at my school -- is Roger Kamien's Music: An Appreciation. Try finding it.
so am I suppose to focus on the similarities or the differences?
Because if I want to focus on similarities, the two pieces have the same instrumentation, and other melodic and musical similarities.
But my teacher told me to focus on the differences.
I think it would make more sense to focus on the similarities, since there are the melodic & musical similarities that you mentioned, but if your teacher says you should focus on differences... he's the one grading it afterall. Seriously, he should be helping you more.
This is how I set mine up.
I used two pieces of very VERY simple, hardly any musical components at all, but could still sound theory and culturaly knowledgeable. Not that I was cutting corners, I just had an awesome connection, and I think they had to be mailed off Friday for external assessment...but I still don't want to give too much away ya know?
K, so the cliffs of my experience (although we're also noobs)
-Musical Elements-Explore both similarities and differences!!!!
-You want your connection to be MUSICAL
-its kinda bonus if there is more? or atleast that's how I used the remaining 300 words to get to 1200ish
-PRETEND THE READER KNOWS NOTHING, although they will, and use terms you've learned througout the year. don't dwell on describing tembre tho. (:
-Externally assessed means the teacher is not grading it.
-Creativity does not really count for crap, from the graded assessments we reviewed, but I used the media script of a newspaper using publisher, it looked goooood.
Sorry if it's too late and complete jibberjabb.