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Unit information: Analytical Techniques I: Schenkerian Approaches in 2015/16

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Unit name Analytical Techniques I: Schenkerian Approaches
Unit code MUSI20060
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Tarrant
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Music
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

How does music work? What must it do to have such an effect on us? What devices does a composer place in music to give a coherent sense of structure and direction? How do elements of motive, form, deep structure and surface ornament work together within tonality to form an expressive whole? Pursuit of these questions is the domain of analysis, an activity essential to increasing a musician's conscious awareness of music, and the ability to understand and interpret it on more than superficial terms. This course provides an introduction to analysis, in particular the theories of Heinrich Schenker. We will begin by tackling basic issues in phrase structure, working gradually up to large-scale formal paradigms such as sonata form. Concurrently, through the lens of Schenkerian concepts, we will produce in-depth analyses of repertoire of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Successful completion of this unit will enable you to:

  • Understand the basic principles of Schenkerian analysis (e.g. prolongation, fundamental structure, primary tone
  • Be able to read and interpret a Schenkerian graph
  • Write your own analytical graphs using Schenkerian Techniques
  • Comment on a Schenkerian graph by providing a written commentary
  • Gain awareness of the fundamental questions that Schenker sought to address through his analytical method
  • Understand and contextualize differences between the Schenkerian approach to analysis and approaches of the formenlehre tradition

Teaching Information

Weekly seminars on Fridays, 11.10-1PM in Harley's Room. Listening and extended analysis of works under consideration.

Assessment Information

Coursework (50%); final assessed exercise (50%). Normally an exercise will be set each week to be completed by the next class. We will discuss the majority of these works in the next class. In the last week before Christmas, in consultation with the instructor, students will begin final projects which will be previewed by students to each other in presentations in week 11, with the final form of the project due in week 12 (final exam). This project must include foreground, middleground and background graphs of the work at hand, and will count as the final exam. Half the coursework mark will be determined by the final project, with the other half being the average of the best five marks obtained in the weekly exercises. Late work will receive a mark of zero, which may significantly lower your average mark. All assignments must be submitted, or you will not be awarded your credit points for the unit. The final project is due for submission January 28, 2011.

Reading and References

  • Cadwallader, Allen, and David Gagne, Analysis of Tonal Music: A Schenkerian Approach. (New York: Oxford, 1998).
  • Caplin, William, Classical Form. (Oxford/NewYork: Oxford University Press, 2001).
  • Forte, Allen and Stephen Gilbert, Introduction to Schenkerian Analysis. (New York: Norton, 1982).
  • Rosen, Charles, The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven. New ed. (London: Faber, 1997).
  • Rosen, Charles, Sonata Forms (New York/London: W.W. Norton, 1980).
  • Salzer, Felix, Structural Hearing. (New York: Dover, 1962).
  • Salzer, Felix and Carl Schachter, Counterpoint in Composition. (New York, Columbia University Press, 1989).
  • Schenker, Heinrich, Free Composition (Der freie Satz) [1] Trans. and edited by Ernst Oster. (New York: Longman, 1979).
  • Schenker, Heinrich, Free Composition (Der freie Satz): musical examples. [2] Translated and edited by Ernst Oster. (New York: Longman, 1979).