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MUS 321: Writing Music Program Notes: Welcome

Current Events/ Assignment Details

Your goal is to increase your audience's understanding and enjoyment of the music you are performing. Program notes should be as well researched as any other piece of writing you produce. You should consult standard music reference works in order to write an interesting and clear summary of your piece. Include note-worthy items, such as a dedication or an excerpt of a review that was published soon after the piece’s premiere to show how the work was received at that time.

  • Information about the concert and its performers (date, place, names, instruments or voice types
  • Information on the works being performed - title (including opus or work numbers, keys, etc), movement names

Basic information + combinations of items below

  • Context of the work historically and in music history
  • Context of the work in relation to the composer's life and work
  • Description of the work
  • Descriptions of particular terms - such as "scherzo" or "langsam"
  • What will the work sound like or what should the listener listen for
  • Translations of the work

Related Guides


  • Circumstances of composition


  • First performance


  • Historical context


  • Musical style


  • Scoring


  • Things to listen for

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