IB Music Extended Essay Topic and Research Question Ideas

Music extended essay topic suggestions

As an expert IB tutor with a rich history of mentoring students, I’m thrilled to present a thoughtfully curated list of topics for the Music Extended Essay.

This article aims to offer a diverse range of topics that not only highlight the complexity and depth of music as a field of study but also encourage students to engage with their musical interests critically and creatively. My extensive experience has shown that a judiciously selected topic is more than an academic task; it’s a unique platform for students to connect with the profound and varied expressions of music.

List of Music Extended Essay Topics

Together, we will explore these topics, allowing each student to construct a nuanced and insightful academic composition that resonates with their intellectual curiosity and passion for music.

1. Music Theory and Analysis

  1. The Evolution of Sonata Form in Classical Music: How has the sonata form evolved from Haydn to Beethoven?
  2. Modal Jazz Analysis: How did Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” change jazz composition?
  3. The Use of Leitmotif in Wagner’s Operas: How does Wagner use leitmotifs to convey themes in “The Ring Cycle”?
  4. Polyrhythms in African Music: How do polyrhythms shape the structure of traditional African music?
  5. The Development of Twelve-Tone Technique: How did Schoenberg’s twelve-tone technique revolutionize 20th-century music composition?
  6. Minimalism in Contemporary Classical Music: How does minimalism affect the listener’s perception in Philip Glass’s compositions?
  7. The Influence of Folk Music on Nationalist Composers: How did folk music influence the works of Béla Bartók?
  8. Counterpoint in Baroque Music: How is counterpoint used in Bach’s “Fugue in G minor”?
  9. The Structure of Bebop Jazz: What makes the structure of Charlie Parker’s compositions innovative in bebop jazz?
  10. Harmonic Innovations in The Beatles’ Music: How did The Beatles’ use of harmony change popular music?

2. Cultural and Ethnomusicological Studies

  1. The Impact of Music on Cultural Identity: How does music reinforce cultural identity in Indigenous Australian communities?
  2. K-Pop and Globalization: How has K-Pop influenced music trends globally?
  3. Samba’s Role in Brazilian Culture: How does samba music reflect the cultural and social history of Brazil?
  4. Flamenco: A Symbol of Spanish Culture: How does flamenco music express the cultural identity of Andalusia?
  5. Reggae and Rastafarianism: How does reggae music represent Rastafarian beliefs and culture?
  6. The Influence of Bollywood Music on Indian Culture: How does Bollywood music shape contemporary Indian culture?
  7. Irish Folk Music and National Identity: How does Irish folk music promote Irish national identity?
  8. The Role of Gamelan in Indonesian Society: How is gamelan music integral to Indonesian cultural ceremonies?
  9. Hip-Hop as a Voice for Social Change: How has hip-hop been used as a tool for social change in the United States?
  10. The Cultural Significance of Tango in Argentina: How does tango music reflect the history and culture of Argentina?

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3. Music and Technology

  1. The Evolution of Electronic Music: How has electronic music evolved since the 1960s?
  2. The Impact of Auto-Tune on Pop Music: How has auto-tune technology changed the sound of popular music?
  3. The Role of Music Production in Hip-Hop: How does music production influence the style and success of hip-hop tracks?
  4. The Development of Digital Audio Workstations: How have DAWs changed the landscape of music production?
  5. Music Streaming and the Music Industry: How has music streaming impacted the music industry and artist revenue?
  6. The Use of Synthesizers in Rock Music: How did the introduction of synthesizers change rock music in the 1980s?
  7. Virtual Reality and Music Experiences: How is virtual reality technology changing the way we experience music?
  8. AI in Music Composition: How is artificial intelligence being used to compose music?
  9. The Evolution of Music Videos: How have music videos evolved as a form of artistic expression?
  10. Sound Design in Film Music: How does sound design influence the emotional impact of film music?

4. Music Psychology and Sociology

  1. The Effect of Music on Human Emotions: How does music evoke emotional responses in listeners?
  2. Music as a Form of Therapy: How is music used effectively in mental health therapy?
  3. The Social Impact of Music Festivals: How do music festivals influence social behavior and cultural trends?
  4. Music and Cognitive Development: How does learning a musical instrument affect cognitive development in children?
  5. The Psychology of Film Music: How does film music manipulate viewer emotions and perceptions?
  6. Music and Memory: How does music affect memory recall and cognitive function?
  7. The Role of Music in Religious Rituals: How does music enhance spiritual experiences in religious ceremonies?
  8. Music and Identity Formation in Adolescence: How does music influence identity formation during adolescence?
  9. The Influence of Music on Consumer Behavior: How does background music in retail environments influence consumer behavior?
  10. Group Dynamics in Musical Ensembles: How do group dynamics affect performance in musical ensembles?

5. Historical and Biographical Studies

  1. The Life and Works of Ludwig van Beethoven: How did Beethoven’s deafness influence his later compositions?
  2. The Musical Innovations of Johann Sebastian Bach: How did Bach’s compositions influence the Baroque period?
  3. The Influence of Mozart’s Operas on Classical Music: How did Mozart’s operas contribute to the development of classical music?
  4. The Role of Women Composers in the Romantic Era: How did women composers contribute to music during the Romantic era?
  5. The Impact of The Beatles on the 1960s Cultural Revolution: How did The Beatles’ music reflect and influence the cultural changes of the 1960s?
  6. The Contribution of Duke Ellington to Jazz Music: How did Duke Ellington’s music shape the evolution of jazz?
  7. The Musical Legacy of Leonard Bernstein: How did Leonard Bernstein’s work influence American music?
  8. The Influence of African Music on American Jazz: How did African music traditions influence the development of jazz in America?
  9. The History of Opera in the 19th Century: How did opera evolve during the 19th century?
  10. The Role of Music in World War II: How was music used for propaganda and morale during World War II?

Select IB Music EE Topic Wisely

Concluding this symphonic collection of IB Music Extended Essay topics, it is my aspiration that these suggestions resonate with your academic goals and personal enthusiasms. The process of composing an Extended Essay in music is an intricate blend of research, critical analysis, and personal evolution.

As you refine your topic and develop your research, bear in mind that this is your chance to contribute a distinct voice to the academic discourse in music. Your essay is an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment, ingenuity, and the powerful connections that music can create among cultures, concepts, and individuals.

Let your work be a reflection of your dedication and a celebration of the universal language of music.

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