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Music as Media 1: Musical Heritage

Music as Media 1: Musical Heritage

Author: Amee Wittbrodt
  • Understand, analyze, evaluate, and use different types of print, digital, and multimodal media.
  • Critically analyze information found in electronic, print, and mass media and use a variety of these sources.
  • Gain an understanding of music history by reading a document and answering the questions that follow.

This packet is the first in a series that explores music as media. Students will develop better critical thinking skills by analyzing information, reflecting on their own thoughts and feelings, and attempting to solve problems. Students will become more media literate and develop a better awareness of the social issues that affect music and its listeners.

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Fun Facts

Did you know that:

  • music has been around since himans have existed?
  • music existed in the Americas before Europeans came here?
  • music was first recorded in 1877 after Edison invented the phonograph?
  • 8 track tapes were invented in the 1960s and were soon replaced by cassette tapes in the 1970s and 15 years later, CDs appeared?
  • The newest recorded music medium, the MP3, was invented by a German firm that received a U.S. patent for it in 1996?

To find out more information, read the following file. Use the embedded questions to help guide your reading.

Our Musical Heritage

This document provides readers with a brief history of music.


Discussion Questions

  1. T/F?  Music is a new form of media Europeans brought to America.
  2. T/F?  All human cultures have shown evidence of having music.
  3. T/F? The electric guitar was invented in the 1930's.
  4. T/F? Early 78 rpm records could only hold about three minutes of music on each side. As a result, song writers began to shorten their songs.
  5. T/F? An American company invented the MP3 in 1996.
  6. According to the reading, why do humans enjoy music so much?
  7. What happened in the mid-1800s that made it possible for more people to afford musical instruments?
  8. The commercial introduction of the transistor in 1954 allowed teenagers to buy ____________________.
  9. The first uniquely American music style is _________________.
  10. What term describes music that is heavily influenced by jazz and rhythm and blues? This is also the first time our country saw a difference in the music that young people enjoyed and the music of their parents.
  11. List at least 5 ways music is distributed in our culture. Which methods/formats do you use most and why?
  12. Recording companies are coming up with new ways to encrypt digital data in order to prevent people from unauthorized duplication. Have you used digital technology to preview or create your own collection of music (downloads, MP3s, burning CDs...)?  How do you feel about the copyright debate?
  13. MP3s are MPEG standard audio files used especially for digitally transmitting music over the Internet. Napster was an online business that was, by court order, shut down because it was involved in the unauthorized exchange of copyrighted music. Now Napster has returned with, according to its web site, "extensive content agreements witht he five major record labels, as well as hundreds of independents. Napster delivers access to the largest catalog of online music, with more than 500,000 tracks spanning all genres from Eminem to Miles Davis." In order to avoid copyright infringement, Napster now requires you to pay-as-you-go ($.99 per song, $9.95 per album).

    List two arguments for and against the free exchange of music files.

    #1 For:

    #1 Against:

    #2 For:

    #2 Against: