MUS 127: Ethnographic Concert Report
You will attend a concert in the greater Chicago metropolitan area by a group or artist affiliated
with a Latin American genre and write an ethnographic report of your experience. Performances
you might attend include concerts by groups such as the Sones de México Ensemble and the
Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble. There are a variety of individual artists throughout the
Chicago area as well who play single-event gigs within the purview of Latin American genres
such as bossa nova, choro, salsa, and merengue. The concert you review must have a Latin
American genre as the main focus of the concert—it cannot be a minor element of the show. A
good rule of thumb for determining whether a genre counts is whether it is included in the course
schedule on the syllabus.
The paper should begin with an overview of the concert (basic information, including musicians
present, venue, genre(s) performed, etc.) and then engage the reader in an extended discussion of
the experience of viewing and hearing the whole environment of the performance, both onstage
and offstage. At least one paragraph should discuss the context of the genre(s) incorporated as
The paper should feature 1500 words of prose (7 pages) and should be double spaced in 12
pt. Times New Roman font. While you are free to follow a writing structure of your choice, I
recommend the following template:
I) Introductory paragraph. Basic questions to address:
a. Which concert did you see? Where and when did it take place?
b. Who performed?
c. What was the repertoire?
d. What genre(s) were performed?
e. What was your overall impression of the concert? (Try to summarize your impression
in no more than 2 sentences.)
II) Information on one of the genres included in the concert. Be sure to cite your sources.
Wikipedia and online message forums do not count as appropriate sources! Questions
you might investigate:
a. What is the historical context of the genre in question?
b. What were people’s reactions to the genre?
c. What are the defining musical qualities of the genre in question?
d. Why is the genre considered significant?
III) Reactions to the concert. Questions you might investigate (1 per paragraph):
a. What were the musical qualities of the performance that stood out to you?
b. How do these musical qualities compare to music you are used to listening to at
c. What type of environment did the concert take place in?
d. How did the musicians interact with each other and with the audience?
e. Was there audience participation of some sort?
f. What type of instrumental ensemble was present and what genres are these
instruments associated with?
g. What was your reaction to the concert?
IV) Concluding paragraph. Basic questions to address:
a. Would you recommend this type of music to someone else? Why or why not?
b. Would you recommend the group to someone else? Why or why not?