Welcome: Music Landscape Research
Description: This WebQuest will direct you to learn and explore the history of Western music and the relationship between compositions and their composers.
Grade Level: 10
Curriculum: Music
Keywords: music, history, western music, research, high school, music history, composition, composers, biography
Author(s):  Daniel Szelogowski


This WebQuest will guide you through the basics of performing academic research in the field of music. One step at a time, you will research a particular composer of your choice and one of their compositions, and discover the ties the composition has to both the composer's life and the history of music (and world history!).


To conduct your research, you'll need to start off by choosing a composer and one composition of theirs. Follow along through the attached Word doc, answering questions in order from beginning to end. Do not skip any questions and work on only one section at a time -- you'll need to do them in the correct order to answer the following sections!


The research paper template will guide you through your research from beginning to end -- again, make sure to complete it in the exact order it is written!

To find information on your composer and selected piece of music, the following resources are ideal:

If you're doing a choral piece in a foreign language, the following websites generally provide the best translations:

If you're having trouble structuring your paragraphs, check out MEL-Con writing format:


Once you've completed your research guide template, your final paper will be contained within Section 5. The final paper and question sets will be graded using the following rubric:

Up to... →
20 points max (>16)
16 points max (>13)
13 points max (>10)
10 points (>0)
Sources & Citations Provides good sources and accurately cites information. Provides good sources, but most information lacks citations. Provides some citations, or questionable sources. No citations included at all.
Spelling & Grammar No spelling &/or grammar mistakes. Minimal spelling &/or grammar mistakes. Noticeable spelling & grammar mistakes. Unacceptable number of spelling and/or grammar mistakes.
Cohesiveness Ties together information from all sources. Paper flows from one issue to the next without the need for headings. Author's writing demonstrates an understanding of the relationship among material obtained from all sources. For the most part, ties together information from all sources. Paper flows with only some disjointedness. Author's writing demonstrates an understanding of the relationship among material obtained from all sources. Sometimes ties together informationfrom all sources. Paper does not flow -disjointedness is apparent. Author's writing does not demonstrate an understanding of the relationship among material obtained from all sources. Does not tie together information. Paper does not flow and appears to be created from disparate issues. Headings are necessary to link concepts. Writing does not demonstrate understanding any relationships.
Depth of Discussion & Completeness In-depth discussion & elaboration in all sections of the paper. Completed all 5 sections of the paper with all questions answered. In-depth discussion & elaboration in most sections of the paper. Completed almost all sections of the paper with most questions answered. The writer has omitted pertinent content or content runs-on excessively. Completed some sections of the paper with some questions answered. Cursory discussion in all the sections of the paper or brief discussion in only a few sections. Completed little-to-no-sections of the paper with little-to-no questions answered.
Musicality Includes appropriate and high-level musical language to describe the composition and relation to composer. Thoroughly explains compositional techniques in relation to artistic meaning. Includes some appropriate and high-level musical language to describe the composition and relation to composer. Somewhat explains compositional techniques in relation to artistic meaning. Includes little-to-no musical terminology or description of composition. Lacks information on compositional techniques related to artistic meaning. Includes no musical language or terminology. Does not describe composition or composer from a musical perspective.

In summary, you'll need to do the following:

  1. Choose a composer and one of their compositions
  2. Follow the guide to answer questions about the composer, their biography, their background, and relevance in music history
  3. Answer questions about the composition, its background, style, time period, etc.
  4. Answer questions that tie the composition to the composer's history, music history, and world history
  5. Summarize the information found in your answers in paragraph format WITH CITATIONS.
  6. Layout the paragraphs in standard MEL-Con format
  7. Submit the file for grading


Now that you've completed your research, you've gained an invaluable set of skills and knowledge:

  • Music history knowledge
  • World history knowledge
  • Advanced research skills and organization

By having a clear map of information and resources before writing a paper, the rest comes naturally. Starting out with annotated bibliographies is a concrete way of compiling research swiftly and accurately, what's left is simply to fill in the blanks and add depth!

Teacher Page

Type of class:

(Auditioned) Concert Choir, Grade 10.

Prior knowledge of the students:

Students will all be proficient in sight-singing music using solfege in major and minor. They will be building proficiency in chromatic solfege. They have done a basic one-page composer biography summary paper for their final assignment in Grade 9 choir. Students have been taught about correlations between composers and compositions from previous performances of historically important pieces. 

Curricular Context:

Students will be in the last quarter of the year nearing the end of the semester. This will act as their final project for the class in preparation for building the research and writing skills necessary for higher-level research papers in the upperclassmen (Chamber, Grades 11-12) choir where they will write an annotated bibliography for their first-semester final and a 3-5 page formal research paper for the second-semester final based on the research from their annotated bibliography.


Students will be assessed formally on their research with the use of a rubric addressing the following components: 

  • Completeness - addressing each question in the template and completing all 5 sections
  • Depth of discussion - depth of information and elaboration on provided content, thorough discussion rather than brevity
  • Cohesiveness - paper ties together sourced material (including the composer and composition) in a cohesive manner allowing textual flow and demonstrating an understanding of the relationship between information across sources
  • Spelling & grammar - ", punctuation, structure
  • Sources and citations - proper citation and utilization of good, trustworthy sources which contain accurate information
  • Musicality - appropriate use of high-level musical vocabulary to explain the composition and compositional ties to the composer, include terminology necessary to explain compositional techniques in relation to artistic meaning

Student Learning Outcomes:
Students will be able to...:

  • Find, summarize, and present accurate information about the composer and composition of their choice
  • Demonstrate high-level critical thinking and research skills: comparing and contrasting information, recognizing accurate sources and information, and drawing connections between sources
  • Summarize complex bodies of information in a cohesive manner

Standard 3, Respond - MP3.R.14.h: Illustrate understanding of contrasts and similarities of expressive elements in artistic work through discussion and written reflections. 

Standard 3, Respond - MP3.R.15.h: Express musical ideas through verbal, movement, written, artistic, or technological means

Standard 4, Connect - MP4.Cn.13.h: Interpret the historical and cultural relationships between music and other disciplines. 

Standard 4, Connect - MP4.Cn.15.h: Analyze connections, similarities, and differences in a musical context.

Standard 4, Connect - MP4.Cn.16.h: Identify how the influence of two or more cultural traditions impact the genre and style of a piece of music.