Compare & Contrast Essay Topics About Music

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Writing about music can be a great way to engage students with their passion while developing their skills as writers. This lesson offers some topics that will help your students address different aspects of music in their essays.

Why Comparison and Contrast Essays About Music?

Are your students really interested in music? If so, then topics related to music can be a wonderful way to help them get going as essayists. Whether your students are interested in classical music or more contemporary and popular genres, writing about music can be wonderful for their critical thinking and analytical skills.

Writing comparison and contrast essays can be especially helpful, because this structure is reasonably straightforward. When students compare and contrast aspects of music, they have to think carefully about the underlying arguments they are making and work to find specific evidence that will help them prove their points. The topics in this lesson are designed to help your students think deeply about music while developing their talents as writers.

Topics About Genres

  • Choose two different musical genres that you enjoy as a listener. Write about what is the same and different about these genres, with an eye toward trying to figure out what it is that draws you to both of them in spite of their differences. Try to come up with a clear definition of what each genre is, and use specific examples of songs, trends, instruments or composers within each genre to support your points.
  • Select two genres that have been very popular at different historical periods. Compare and contrast the two genres, trying to figure out what made both of them popular and also how each of them is specific to the time period it represents. Offer specific examples to show that what you are saying is true.
  • Choose two different genres of music that have emerged from different geographical or cultural traditions. Using your analysis of the genres, explain what they represent about the cultures they come from and what similarities and differences you find. Think about what the similarities and differences between the genres suggest about the relationship between the cultures.

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