Sorcerer’s Apprentice (L’Apprenti sorcier) – Paul Dukas
MUS 223: Final Project Guidelines and Rubric
The final project for this course is the creation of a written exploration of the music of Disney’s Fantasia.
Music can be an abstract art in that music deals with our emotions. Everyone will have different feelings when listening to the same work. For your final project,
you will synthesize all aspects of this course: the academic section as you identify a particular composer and work, your thoughts based on this work employing
the musical terminology you learned, and a discussion of how Disney animators interpreted the same work.
The project is divided into three milestones, which will be submitted at various points throughout the course to scaffold learning and ensure quality final
submissions. These milestones will be submitted in Module Two, Module Three, and Module Five. The final product will be submitted in Module Seven.
In this assignment, you will demonstrate your mastery of the following course outcomes:
Demonstrate an understanding of the links between music and its context (Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World)
Analyze selected pieces of music with regard to instrumentation, genre, form, and content, and communicate their findings clearly using appropriate
vocabulary (Critical and Creative Thinking)
Identify selected composers and great works of music and explain their stylistic and cultural contexts (Communication)
You will view how Disney animators interpreted the same music you chose in Module Two in their creation of Fantasia. Using the musical terminology you have
learned in this course, critique the interpretation: What worked? What did not work? You will then compare and contrast Disney’s interpretation of the music to
your own interpretation and answer these philosophical questions: Is it important to know about the composer and the historical context of a work? Does it
change our experience with a musical composition? Why or why not? Defend your answer with a full explanation, not a yes or no answer. Your final paper will be
a synthesis of this section along with your work from Milestones One, Two, and Three.
To help you get started, read this quote:
The aim of Walt Disney and his staff was to create a motion picture capable of giving pleasure to all types and ages of people by appealing to their
imagination, their love of beauty, and their sense of humor. Believing the concept that sound, formed into melodic and harmonious passages, elicits
different emotions from different people, Disney drew upon the creativity of his animation staff. He wanted them to discover feelings and emotions in
the sounds which would conjure up mental pictures of color and form that could be placed on paper. Music has something to say to everyone, and each
person listens in his or her own way; music may very possibly and logically mean something different to every listener. Disney had no grand scheme of
telling the world once and for all what composers really meant in their music; he only intended to show what a group of pieces of music meant to oneselect group of artists. It would be the same as the great Renaissance artists painting portraits of the Madonna; no two artists visualized her exactly the
same so no two artists painted her in the same way.
The Disney artists steeped themselves in the music and then put on the screen the results of their imagination. None of the artists were musically
trained, but they enjoyed and were challenged by it, and thus they arrived at startlingly original thoughts about the meaning of the orchestral score,
thoughts that frequently were surprisingly in line with conventional musical theory. None of the artists worried about what the composer had in mind
when he wrote the music. They merely told with their imaginations, pencils, paints, and brushes what the music meant to them. They worked on the
premise that truly great music should stimulate the imagination of the listener; that noble, dramatic works should arouse like emotions, and light,
amusing tunes should produce humorous reactions. (Smith, as cited in Megreim, 2012, para. 2–3)
This is similar to the task you have completed thus far in this project. You have listened to the work, you have researched the composer and the background of
the work, and you have developed your own personal interpretation of the work, much as Disney animators did. As you view Fantasia, consider the following:
How similar or different was your experience and interpretation compared to what the animators portrayed in Fantasia? Why do you think they came to a
different “picture” than you may have? Did a particular musical element possibly affect them differently than it affected you?
Works to choose from:
Note: Listen to/watch any other recording of the same work on Spotify, or any other source, BEFORE you watch the Disney animation from the list below, in order
to complete the first part of this project. You will listen to the first version using Spotify in order to complete Sections I–III of your project. You must watch and
listen to the Disney version to complete Section IV of you project. These sections are outlined in the critical elements below.
Spotify Playlist (Spotify is free)
Please note that some selections include more than one movement or part, such as Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, Beethoven’s Symphony “Pastorale,” and
Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. If you choose one of these, you will need to listen to all of the sections as listed on the playlist:
Toccata and Fugue in D minor – Johann Sebastian Bach
Sorcerer’s Apprentice (L’Apprenti sorcier) – Paul Dukas
Nutcracker Suite – Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Sugar Plum Fairy
Dance of Reed-Pipes
Waltz of the FlowersDance of the Hours (La Gioconda) – Amilcare Ponchielli
Rite of Spring – Igor Stravinsky
Symphony No. 6 “Pastorale” (three tracks on Spotify) – Ludwig van Beethoven
Night on Bald Mountain – Modest Mussorgsky
Click the link to watch the 1941 Disney version of Fantasia. The time stamps have been added for the music.
Intro (Everyone should watch) 00:00:37–00:01:45
Bach – Toccata and Fugue 00:01:45–00:11:40
Tchaikovsky – Nutcracker Suite 00:11:45–00:26:32
Dukas – Sorcerer’s Apprentice 00:26:34–00:36:40
Stravinsky – Rite of Spring 00:36:45–01:00:05
Beethoven – Symphony #6, “Pastorale” 01:04:39–01:27:12
Ponchielli – Dance of the Hours 01:27:17–01:39:58
Mussorgsky – Night on Bald Mountain 01:39:58–01:49:28
(This is followed by a tag of “Ave Maria.” Students are not required to analyze this section.)
Specifically the following critical elements must be addressed in your final paper:
I. Proposed Work: Choose a work from the list above and identify the composer of the work selected, the historical time period, and why you selected this
II. Musical Interpretation: As you listen to the work, pay attention to the different musical elements and how they work together to create the work. As you
listen, does the music create any images or stories in your mind or remind you of anything? Does it create any feelings or emotions in you?a) Identify each of the musical elements of the composition. Explain how each musical element is used and why they are important (e.g., the work
of art’s dynamics, rhythm, tempo, form, etc.).
b) Analyze how the musical elements were employed in the work to create specific impressions. Did the elements change in different sections of
the work? Was the melody more important in one section and the tempo or rhythm in another? Were different elements used to create different
ideas, thoughts, feelings, emotions, or pictures in your mind?
c) Summarize a personal interpretation of the music. What about the piece first attracted you to it? The melody, rhythm, harmony, or something
else? How did the chosen piece’s musical elements personally affect you? Is there a mood or emotion evoked by the work? Did it create a story
or any images in your mind, or was it just enjoyable to listen to? Did you have different thoughts and/or feelings in different sections of the
musical work? Does the emotion, feeling, or picture change as you listen to the entire work, or is it similar throughout? Have you heard the piece
in the past, and if so, in what context?
III. Academic Analysis
a) Identify the elements that place the work in its particular time period.
b) Research background information on the composer and chosen work. Why was this piece composed? Was the work meant to tell a story? If so,
this is called “program music.” What story was it meant to musically interpret? Some program music was composed for ballet, opera, or theater.
Was your chosen piece originally used for this? If it is not program music, it is absolute music: music written not to represent any idea, but
because the composer liked those particular musical elements together. However, it may have been composed for a special event, such as a
coronation, wedding, party or church service; find its original use.
IV. Written Exploration of a Musical Work (Note: Make sure you watch the Disney version of the music prior to completing this section.)
a) Analyze Disney’s interpretations of the same work.
b) Compare the similarities to your own interpretation of the work.
c) Contrast the opposing views described in the comparative interpretation of the work.
d) Assess whether knowing the background of the composer and/or the actual composition affects how the chosen work is perceived. Does it
change how you listen to the work, or what you think or feel as you listen to it?
Milestone One: Proposed Work (via Discussion Board)
In Module Two, you will submit your proposed work to analyze to the Discussion Board. You will listen to works from Disney’s Fantasia and choose one work for
your final written musical exploration. After listening to the piece of music, you will identify the composer of the work chosen and his historical time period. Your
submission should be 1–2 paragraphs. Include your reasoning for selecting this piece. This milestone is graded with the Milestone One Rubric.
Milestone Two: Musical Interpretation
In Module Three, you will submit your musical interpretation. Begin your interpretation of the work by discussing your thoughts on the work and the musical
elements that created the impressions you received from the music. Some musical analysis is necessary. For instance, you will identify which musical instrumentsare used, dynamics, tempo, form, and so on, as discussed in Module One. This assignment should be at least two pages long. This milestone is graded with the
Milestone Two Rubric.
Milestone Three: Academic Analysis
In Module Five, you will submit your academic analysis of the composition. Your review of scholarly resources will identify the composer, the musical work, and
the time period, providing an academic view of the composition. Describe the elements you hear that place the work in its time period. This assignment should
be at least 2–3 pages long. This milestone is graded with the Milestone Three Rubric.
Final Submission: Musical Exploration
In Module Seven, you will submit your musical exploration. It should be a complete, polished artifact containing all of the critical elements of the final product. It
should reflect the incorporation of feedback gained throughout the course. This submission will be graded using the Final Project Rubric.
Milestone Deliverables Module Due Grading
1 Proposed Work Two Graded separately; Milestone One Rubric
2 Musical Interpretation Three Graded separately; Milestone Two Rubric
3 Academic Analysis Five Graded separately; Milestone Three Rubric
Final Submission: Musical Exploration Seven Graded separately; Final Project RubricFinal Project Rubric
Guidelines for Submission: Written components of project must follow these formatting guidelines when applicable: double spacing, 12-point Times New Roman
font, one-inch margins, and discipline-appropriate citations. The final paper should include 5–8 pages, not including cover page and resources.
Instructor Feedback: This activity uses an integrated rubric in Blackboard. Students can view instructor feedback in the Grade Center. For more information,
review these instructions.
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