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Writing About Music (Honors 345A)

This guide features essays written by students as part of the class Writing About Music (Honors 345A, Fall 2018).


What is music? A universal language? The art of ordering tones in succession? Humanly organized sound? 

Whatever it is, music has an uniquely powerful capacity to affect us. When we attempt to describe musically imbued experiences, words may fail. Despite this we persevere, struggling to find the right simile or metaphor to describe how we've been moved. 

During the fall of 2018, students in my Writing About Music course persevered together. We explored a variety of prompts, from song reviews and artist bios, to genre descriptions and deeper cultural critiques. We shared our work with one another. We heard from professionals in the field. Ethnomusicology and music criticism served as disciplinary touchstones as we leaned into the writing about music challenge. 

This site features essays written by many of those students. Enjoy...

John Vallier
Head, Media | Ethnomusicology Curator, Libraries
Affiliate Assistant Professor, Ethnomusicology
University of Washington, Seattle


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