Your IB Musical Investigations are unique and creative opportunities to analyse and link two distinct cultures. The following post is designed to give you ideas, help you plan your format and more importantly, ensure you connect the two cultures with significant musical links.

Hint 1. The MLI investigates cultures and uses musical examples to illustrate them.

According to the IDP Teacher & Student Blog

“the purpose of the MLI is to explore cultures…musical examples are just a way to illustrate the musical characteristics of the selected culture.”

One of the problems students face is that

“the musical examples do not exemplify the culture. For instance, students investigating “English Rock of the 60′s/70′s” (represented by The Beatles’ Norwegian Wood) and “Music from India” often use the Sitar as link. While it is clear that the Beatles use sitar in Norwegian Wood, it could hardly be argued that the use of sitar is a characteristic of the English Rock of the 60′s/70′s. Therefore, the example/link is not representative of the culture.”

Hint 2. Ensure your musical examples focus on the concepts clearly (Pitch, Rhythm etc).

As you research and transcribe parts from your chosen cultures try to stay focused on the musical elements within those cultures. Clearly outline the concept you are analysing and illustrate the link between the two cultures using appropriate terminology. You don’t want to be talking about Sprechstimme in an Indian raga or riffs in a Mozart concerto!

When you identify the two best conceptual links, research them from a theoretical and cultural background, include notation and score excerpts and stick to the concept at hand.

Scottish Songs

This blog by Oliver Lindman is his HL MLI and it scored a 19/20. You can clearly see his chosen concepts for analysis and his argument includes the type of melodic and harmonic analysis we undertake in class. I highly recommend you take notes from his presentation and language.

Hint 3. Read, research & draft

As you have begun to collate your resources, scores and recordings take some time to mindmap your plan for linking the concepts, describing how they fit into your argument (whatever your topic for the MLI), and the final media script that it will adhere to. I spent an afternoon searching the web for student MLI’s and the beauty of the task is that you get to investigate something you are passionate about. Be informed of the process and presentation requirements as much as what other IB students have accomplished before you. And don’t forget to enjoy it!

Here are some examples from around the web that I have found: