Skip to main content

Unit information: Analytical Techniques I: Schenkerian Approaches in 2014/15

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Analytical Techniques I: Schenkerian Approaches
Unit code MUSI30050
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Ellison
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:

1) Understand the basic principles of Schenkerian analysis (e.g. prolongation, fundamental structure, primary tone)

2) Be able to read and interpret a Schenkerian graph

3) Write your own analytical graphs using Schenkerian Techniques

4) Comment on a Schenkerian graph by providing a written commentary

5) Gain awareness of the fundamental questions that Schenker sought to address through his analytical method

6) Understand and contextualize differences between the Schenkerian approach to analysis and approaches of the 'Formenlehre' tradition.

Additionally (Specific to Level H) to: (7) describe, evaluate and/or challenge current analytical thinking, and (8) engage with the philosophical constructs that are the foundation of Schenkerian approaches to the analysis of music.

Teaching Information

10 2-hour seminar sessions

Assessment Information

Coursework (the average of the bext of five marks for weekly exercises; 50%); final assessed exercise (50%).

Normally an exercise will be set each week to be completed by the next class. The majority of these works will be discussed 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. The final 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 students will not be awarded credit points for the unit.

The coursework will demonstrate the intended learning outcomes (1), (2), (3), (4) and (6), built cumulatively throughout the module; the final assessed exercise will demonstrate learning outcomes (1) through (6) and, at Level H, (6) and (7) as well.

Reading and References

   * Cadwallader, Allen, and David Gagne, Analysis of Tonal Music: A Schenkerian Approach. (New York: Oxford, 1998). 

   * Forte, Allen and Stephen Gilbert, Introduction to Schenkerian Analysis. (New York: Norton, 1982). 

   * 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).