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Unit information: Technical Studies I: Harmony and Harmonic Analysis in 2015/16

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Unit name Technical Studies I: Harmony and Harmonic Analysis
Unit code MUSI10047
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Tarrant
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Music
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

Inevitably, some students come to University with more experience and understanding of harmony than others. The purpose of this unit is to ensure that all students have the opportunity to develop a basic grasp of the subject that will enable them to deal confidently with the various composition and analysis courses that are offered in subsequent semesters. Key compositional techniques and a wide range of chords will be explored in the music of the classical and early romantic periods.


This unit aims to introduce the principal techniques of tonal harmonic composition, including a thorough investigation of the basic building-blocks of Western tonal music (including melody, consonance/dissonance, simple voice-leading patterns, phrase and cadence schemes, rhythm, motive, chord grammar, key, modulation, etc.), and reductive analysis techniques in relation to music of the 18th century, providing a foundation for the understanding of baroque compositional styles to be investigated in Technical Studies II.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Successful completion of this unit will enable students:

  1. to analyse accurately and perceptively different types of music of the 18th century
  2. to harmonise melodies of this period and compose short movements effectively by applying techniques learned in class
  3. to explore techniques of figured bass realisation
  4. to gain an understanding of the main structural principles of tonal music from this period

The skills taught in this unit provide a necessary foundation for later studies not only in pastiche composition (baroque, classical and romantic) but also in analysis.

Teaching Information

Weekly hour-long lectures, weekly hour-long back-up sessions, and sign-up tutorial sessions in the tutor’s weekly consultation hour.

Assessment Information

Weekly exercises for credit

Final project (100%)

  • an analytical essay of 3000 words (50% of project mark)
  • a related technical assignment, consisting of the composition of a movement in the style of Mozart or Haydn for piano (50% of project mark)

Learning outcomes 1 and 4 will be demonstrated through the analytical essay; outcomes 2 and 3 are demonstrated in the related technical/composition assignment

Reading and References

Prescribed scores to be identified during the unit, but including simple dance movements for keyboard mainly from the middle years of the 18th century.