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African Music Research Papers

A common assignment on African Music is as follows:

Many students are expected to submit a coherent, college-level essay on a specific New World music genre that is derived from or influenced by Africa. In a African Music research paper, the typical college student must discuss both the musical genre under study and its African precursor.

Typical African Music research paper format:

  1. Part I: In the paragraph, introduce your African Music and discuss its historical significance, its Diasporic origin, and its relationship to Africa. African Music
  2. Part II: In the next three or so paragraphs, write a historiographical review of the African Music, discussing what has been written in the past and by whom, and if applicable, what aspect of the African Music you are planning to address.
  3. Part III: In the next paragraph, introduce your thesis (if applicable) and defend it. Use material from your primary and secondary sources to help with defending your ideas. If you are using interviews, include them here.
  4. Part IV: Discuss your African Music, keeping site of the focus on Africa and the African Diaspora.
  5. Part V: Write a brief conclusion, summarizing the principal points of what you have just said.

If you choose to quote, do so minimally, as quotes will not be counted as part of the 1500 words simply because these are not your words. A maximum of one quote per page is acceptable, but only if extremely important in terms of your discussion. Whether you quote or paraphrase, whenever you make reference to someone else’s material or incorporate some else’s ideas, you have to provide a citation. Failure to do so could be constituted as plagiarism.

If you are using interviews in your African Music research paper, you must provide a list of informants and their contact information in the bibliography. In addition, you must obtain a written consent form from each interviewee. Attach the consent forms to the end of the physical paper that you will submit in class.

Create separate sections in the bibliography of your African Music research paper:

  • A section for primary materials
  • Another one for interview information
  • A third section for journal/newspaper articles
  • Final section for books

The essay must be based on a minimum of five primary sources and ten secondary sources. This provides insurance that your sources will be adequate for an African Music research paper.



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