18 December 2007

How Musicologists Amuse Ourselves

We generally have an end-of-semester grading party, during which many of us read aloud the more ridiculous answers we get on our exams. Some people may think it's cruel to ridicule students; I say we're not ridiculing the student, we're ridiculing stupid answers, and if you study so little that you think Lully was a woman, well, you deserve to be laughed at a little in the confines of our seminar room.

We parodied some of our worst exam answers by hybridizing them with commercials for a soap opera called "Musicologists of Our Lives" (maybe it was "Days of Our Musicology"--I've had a lot of coffee since then). Here are some of the gems that we made up:

"Gesualdo has killed his student, Heinrich Gabrieli, by stabbing him with a conducting staff, thus causing him to contract the Plague! What will happen next week?"

"Dowland, the well-known 14th Century French composer of Italian madrigals, is about to serenade his girlfriend, Lully."

"William Byrd travels to Venice in 1609 to study with Thomas Tallis, but will Tallis accept him as a student? Will he have to compete with Monteverdi for Tallis' attention? Answers after the break, along with the amazing revelation of the subject matter of Martin Luther's next composition (hint: it's a Florentine carnival song)!"

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