M.E413

Blues Performance Evaluation

Blues Performance Evaluation

Students will listen to a performance of “Backwater Blues” performed by Bessie Smith and answer analysis questions in the Student Booklet. You can find the song on multiple websites like YouTube or Spotify. The song should be played at least five times during the Part 1 (30-minute) time frame.

In Part 1 the students will work on the analysis worksheet while listening to the song. They will be asked to describe the lyrics, the chord progression, the rhythm, and the meter. Then, on a second worksheet, students will consider those key musical elements of a blues song and write a short paper that reflects on the success of this particular performance. Using musical terminology, the students will justify whether they believe it was an effective blues song performance and will support their papers with at least five reasons.

This item has been voluntarily field-tested by Michigan teachers with a non-representative sample of students.


This is an analytic rubric. The column on the left shows the dimension that is being measured in the student’s performance. The levels across the top row indicate the performance level in the dimensions. Occasionally all dimensions and performance levels are exemplified by multiple students in a single recording.

TEACHER SCORING RUBRIC

  • Dimension
  • Lyrics

  • Form/Chord Progression

  • Rhythm

  • Meter

  • Performance Response

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • Song analysis provides incomplete explanation of the lyrics. Cites no examples using and does not use correct musical terminology.

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  • Song analysis provides limited explanation of the lyrics. Cites limited examples using some correct musical terminology.

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  • Song analysis provides adequate explanation of the lyrics. Cites general examples using correct musical terminology.

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  • Song analysis provides in-depth explanation of the lyrics. Cites specific examples using correct musical terminology.

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  • Song analysis provides incomplete explanation of the form/chord progression. Cites no examples using and does not use correct musical terminology.

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  • Song analysis provides limited explanation of the form/chord progression. Cites limited examples using some correct musical terminology.

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  • Song analysis provides adequate explanation of the form/chord progression. Cites general examples using correct musical terminology.

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  • Song analysis provides in-depth explanation of the form/chord progression. Cites specific examples using correct musical terminology.

    N/A at this time.
  • Song analysis provides incomplete explanation of the rhythm. Cites no examples using and does not use correct musical terminology.

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  • Song analysis provides limited explanation of the rhythm. Cites limited examples using some correct musical terminology.

    View Exemplar
  • Song analysis provides adequate explanation of the rhythm. Cites general examples using correct musical terminology.

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    View Exemplars
  • Song analysis provides in-depth explanation of the rhythm. Cites specific examples using correct musical terminology.

    N/A at this time.
  • Song analysis provides incomplete explanation of the meter. Cites no examples using and does not use correct musical terminology.

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  • Song analysis provides limited explanation of the meter. Cites limited examples using some correct musical terminology.

    View Exemplar
  • Song analysis provides adequate explanation of the meter. Cites general examples using correct musical terminology.

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    View Exemplars
  • Song analysis provides in-depth explanation of the meter. Cites specific examples using correct musical terminology.

    N/A at this time.
  • Response discusses one to two examples citing why this performance is representative of the Blues genre.

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  • Response discusses three to four examples citing why this performance is representative of the Blues genre.

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  • Response discusses five examples citing why this performance is representative of the Blues genre.

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  • Response discusses six or more examples citing why this performance is representative of the Blues genre.

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