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Unit information: Analytical Techniques I: Schenkerian Approaches in 2016/17

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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 Professor. Fairclough
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Music
Faculty Faculty of Arts


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 unit 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

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles of Schenkerian analysis (e.g. prolongation, fundamental structure, primary tone
  2. 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. demonstrate an awareness of the fundamental questions that Schenker sought to address through his analytical method
  6. to demonstrate an understanding and contextualisation of the differences between the Schenkerian approach to analysis and approaches of the Formenlehre tradition

Teaching details

Eleven two-hour seminars.

Assessment Details

2 small Schenker analyses (50%) (ILOs 2, 5, 6)

1 project (50%), which may take the form of a harmonic analysis, or a proto-Schenkerian analysis, or an annotated score (ILOs 1, 3, 4, 5).

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).