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IB MUSIC links investigation

The IBO Musical Investigation is required for both standard and higher level students. This assignment is the final exam grade for the first semester.

INVESTIGATION requirements

Students submit an original musical investigation of two contrasting musical selections from two different cultures (genres), no more than 1500 words in length.

The investigation must be presented in a media format. This format may include any kind of media format designed to reach large numbers of people. Some examples include:

Power Point Presentation
Radio Script
Play or Movie Script
News Paper

The investigation must be original, and presented uniquely by the student, and students may not work on their investigation with another student, share sources, topics, or musical selections.

Sources must be CLEARLY cited, and references WILL be checked before your final grade is posted. Wikipedia and published IB Music Investigations are NOT acceptable research sources. NOTE: Shared or sources not properly cited are subject to RUSD plagiarism penalties. THIS ALSO APPLIES TO MUSICAL SOURCES THAT MUST BE CITED IN A DISCOGRAPHY

CULTURES: the definition

(From the IB Assessment Booklet)

  • The two musical cultures chosen for study should be sufficiently distinct: the music pieces chosen should therefore be easily definable as belonging to a distinct musical culture.
  • Despite the fact that the two musical cultures must be distinct, one or more inherent links between the musical pieces is (are) needed for the investigation to be successful. In this way, the required analysis of similar pieces and contrasting features of the musical pieces chosen can be achieved. Otherwise, the investigation may become merely an exercise in comparing the excerpts.
  • A very good overall explanation of the paper is located at this link: Music Links Investigation Explanation


It needs to be clearly stated that the links to posted IB Music Links Investigation should NOT be copied.  Students may look at these projects to formulate an idea about their unique investigation. 

The grade most of these investigations is not known, however, and are above average examples of music analysis and investigation. 

Media Format
Title & Link
Kitty Ho Blog When you think of broadway, will you automatically link it to Cantonese Opera? no? Needs to be read by date (backward). Find the latest date and start there, just as you would join a new blog.
Matthew Manjos Website Interesting in that it is a research paper and not a musical analysis of two pieces.  Although the research is good, this paper is not recommended.
N/A Print Article British Rock of Led Zeppelin (1970's) and Indian Hindustani folk: Calcutta Slide Guitar There are several on this link, but the analysis for the first paper is quite good.  Near the end of the PDF, there is an example of a poor investigation.
Jose Antonio Smith Castro YouTube Video Russian Folk Music vs. Venezuelan Dance Music (Salsa) A lot of lecture with pictures and music.
Taylor Fletcher YouTube Video Cultures of Hungarian Folk Music and Big Band Music Really funny.  I have to wonder what the grade was though.


Students are graded on the following five categories. The total number of IB Assessment Points available for the musical investigation is 20 (or 20% of your certificate qualification score).

(from the IB MARK SCHEME)

A Choice of Musical Examples
B Analysis and Comparison of Musical Features
C Technical Language
D Organization and Presentation
E Overall Impression



  • Typed
  • Include what notes on the media you will be using. Sketches are appropriate as well. Note: scribbled drawings are NOT acceptable sketches.
  • List the specific pieces you will be using for your comparison

Individual Investigation Appointments

  • Individual appointments are held the second week back from vacation if needed
  • Students present their paper verbally to the teacher
  • Discussions on formats, success of presentation and comparison, etc.

Rough Draft

  • Typed
  • May include handwritten notes on changes yet to be made
  • Pictures and their sources (i.e. website address, etc.)
  • Cited sources for your musical selections (discography)
  • Cited written sources (Wikipedia is NOT an acceptable source)

Final Draft

  • The final assignment grade depends on promptness. Each day late lowers the grade by one letter grade.
  • Typed
  • Burned disk or other media of your presentation (a digital copy of your work) ]
  • A printed paper version of your media (i.e. print out the Power Point pages)
  • Investigations will be graded in February according the IB Music Investigation Rubric (17-20=A, 13-16=B, 9-12=C, 5-8=D). Rubrics are available in room 504.








   Musical Investigation
   Prescribed Works
   IB Assignment Calendar


Internet Public Library (Drexel University ipl2)

   Middle Ages
   20th Century

   Staff Paper
   Score Paper
   How to Answer an IB Question
   Investigation Explanation
   (from North Canyon Choirs, Phoenix

   Download Instructions



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