Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session


Some aspects of our experience of music are beyond words. The grace or invention of a particular passage leaves us simply awestruck. Some aspects, however, are due to a richness of relationship in the piece that, to a degree, can be described. These are aspects of its structure or process that we attend to when we analyze music. The more deeply we can understand music, the more sophisticated our analytical hearing, the richer our experience as performers, composers and listeners.

This class provides an introduction to the analysis of tonal music. It builds upon techniques and concepts learned in Harmony and Counterpoint I and II; hence, 21M.302 is a prerequisite. We shall study rhythm and form, harmony, line and motivic relationships at local and large-scale levels of musical structure.


Three papers are required: two 5-page papers, each of which you will probably be asked to revise based upon my comments and suggestions, and one 10-page paper, due at the last class. You will also give one twenty-minute oral presentation on the same topic as your final paper, an opportunity to organize your thoughts and receive feedback on your ideas before committing them to paper. (Note that 21M.350 is a CI-M class; it satisfies the communication requirement for music majors.)


Your final grade for this subject will be determined by the following distribution:

Paper 1 20%
Paper 2 20%
Paper 3 40%
Oral presentation 10%
Class participation 10%

Please note that deadlines are strict and attendance is required. Late papers and unexcused absences may compromise your grade.


I: Introduction
1-4 What is musical analysis? Writing about music

Lec 2

Read Harris and Epstein, and familiarize yourself with Purcell's 'Dido's Lament' and Haydn's Symphony No. 101 in D major, Movement III (Trio). Remember to bring copies of both the scores and the readings to class.

Lec 3-4

Read Tovey's essay on Haydn's Piano Sonata No. 52 in E flat and familiarize yourself with the first movement of that work. Remember to routinely bring copies of the score and the reading to class.

II: Rhythm and phrase
5-8 Meter, rhythm, grouping, phrase. Musical form: Period, section, 'binary' and 'rounded binary' form

Lec 5

Read Cooper and Meyer. Prepare to discuss their theory of rhythm in class: What is rhythmic grouping? What is the relationship between rhythm and meter in this theory? What do the accent marks in their analyses actually refer to?

Continue to study the first movement of Haydn's Piano Sonata No. 52 in E flat and prepare for further class discussion.

Lec 6

Read Lerdahl and Jackendoff. How does their theory of grouping differ from Cooper and Meyer's? What is the essence of their critique of Cooper and Meyer?

Study Haydn's Symphony No. 101 in D major, third movement: Minuet. Do a Cooper and Meyer-style grouping analysis of mm. 1-28. You may find the piano reduction score easier to use that the full orchestral score. (However-don't forget to take into account instrumental factors in your grouping analysis!)

Lec 8

Read Cone. Bring a copy to class and be prepared to discuss.

Paper 1 due in Lec #7
III: Melody and line
9-12 Melodic prolongation; contrapuntal, decorative tones versus structural tones; 'reduction'

Lec 10

Read Christ, et al.

Examine Schumann's Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood) No. 7, 'Träumerei' ('Dreaming'), mm 1-8. How would you analyze this material according to Cone's theory of initial, medial, and cadential accent? Where, in particular, is the initial accent: is it m. 1, corresponding to the tonic harmony, or m. 2, the climax? Does the motion into the climax in m. 2 (and again in m. 6) affect our sense of meter? Do Cooper and Meyer's methods illuminate this issue?

In these same measures, how would you analyze the 'basic melody' (according to the theory of Christ, et al.)

Lec 11

Read Forte and Gilbert. Study Bellini, 'Casta Diva', mm. 16-30. What kinds of melodic elaboration are at play here? Identify the harmony: what kinds of non-harmonic tones are in use? What is the 'basic melody'?

Lec 12

Study Chopin. Prelude Op. 28 No. 6 in B minor. Where are the phrases/cadences? Identify the harmony. Begin thinking about the melodic structure.

Paper 1 revision due in Lec #11

Paper 3 topic approval due in Lec #12

IV: Harmony and voice leading
13-14 Harmonic prolongation 1 (local)

Lec 14

1. Do a Roman numeral analysis of Bach's chorale, "Jesu meine Freude."

2. Read Schenker. What is a 'scale step' according to this account? How does it compare to the traditional view of harmony?

15-16 Harmonic prolongation 2 (large scale, modulation)

Lec 15

Read Salzer and review the associated musical examples.

Lec 16

In Bach's Chorale Prelude in C Minor, "Jesu meine Freude." Analyze the harmony in mm. 1-6. How does the structural framework (fundamental harmonic structure of each phrase) compare to the chorale harmonization? Reduce the bass voice (pedal part) to a more fundamental melodic structure: what does this reveal about the harmony?

Paper 2 due in Lec #15
V: Motive and theme
17-18 Melodic/rhythmic/harmonic characteristics; motivic transformation; 'Basic shape' (Grundgestalt)

Lec 17

Study Schumann's "Wenn ich in deine Augen seh." What is the predominant feeling of the music and how is it related to the text? Where is the focal point of the song—is it the same as the climax? Analyze the harmonies in the song and the melodic structure of the vocal line.

19-20 Oral presentations

Lec 19

Listen to the following works: Schubert, 'Death and the Maiden' Quartet, second movement; Beethoven, 'Für Elise' and Bagatelle in G minor, Op. 119, No. 1.

Paper 2 revision due in Lec #19
VI: Sonata form
21-23 Sonata form
VII: Program music
24-25 Program music Paper 3 due in Lec #25