Scoring and critiques 0

LSO 125


Instructions for the Song Scoring and Critique Discussion Posts

(5 Discussions @ 8% each)


Every two weeks you will normally be listening to two major musicians, each with a list of about six or seven songs. Your assignment is to listen to the select songs of each musician.  See our Course Documents for the lyrics to Core Songs for the given 2-week Discussion period. For each of the songs on our Core List for these weeks, you will be asked to listen to the song and give it a score out of 10, with 10 being the highest. Next, you will provide a 50-75 word critique or appraisal on each song. In addition, from each of your 2 musicians choose the ONE song that stands out for you from the musician’s selection as your favourite, and write a more substantial paragraph critique/appreciation, offering your impressions and explaining the song’s lyrical and musical strengths. Hence two of your songs in your Discussion entries—your one favourite from each musician—will be longer than your others, running 150-200 words.     


Please compose your Discussion as a Word Doc beforehand and edit closely for errors, and then attach and submit it in the respective Discussion Submission Portal (SafeAssign).


You will receive a total score out of 100, based on the quality and completeness of the Discussion assignment. Grading methodology for this kind of humanities course works from the ground up to achieve a level of competency or distinction, not from the top down (as in a multiple choice test).




Here is an excellent example of one song scoring and written critique. You will be doing up to a dozen of these for each of the 5 course Discussions.


Stan Rogers

“Northwest Passage”

I give this song a 9/10. At first I found the song a bit dated, but on re-listening and reading the lyrics I discovered several new things about the song. The song has no instruments. Rogers sings the verses in a strong “sea-captain” tone, while the band does the repeated chorus a capella with amazing harmonies. I found it a uniquely captivating piece of our song heritage.


BUT:   If this song were your chosen “favourite” among the core songs of that artist, then you’d be wanting to dig more deeply into both the musical and lyrical elements.


Here is an example of how you might flesh out your favourite song from the artist:


Rogers frames the story around Canadian explorers, especially the ill-fated Franklin explorations through the NW Passage.  Yet the singer is also on his own voyage “overland” and asks “how am I so different”: so there’s a kind of double narrative and time frame in the present and the past.  The chorus marches powerfully “to find the hand of Franklin” with the singer ironically twisting the path “to find there but the road back home again”. Overall, this song has an authentic, powerful sound and rich lyrics.

Feel free to go a bit over the word limit if you’re on a roll.


So to summarize, you’ll be scoring and critiquing each core song on our list, but two of those songs—you’re favourites from each songwriter–will require a more detailed paragraph. 




Discussion Protocols:


For Discussions please refer only to the lyrics and audio: do not go onto Google or conduct Research. (That comes later in the course).  I’m interested only in your impressions, insights, critical analysis, and evaluations. These songs have stood the test of time, and as timeless pieces of art, they require only your thoughtful, active listening and appreciation.


Also note that you will be submitting your Discussion Posts through the SafeAssign portal, which is designed to detect instances of plagiarism and duplication.




  1. I encourage you all to explore other songs by these musicians from wherever you access music, and if you find other gems–and there are many– please share your discoveries!




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