Week 13 (Nov 13): Project preparation

Our focus for the remaining weeks of the semester will be creating your own projects and learning to write a music-academic paper. Essentially, a music theory paper is an argument paper. You are going to argue for your own interpretation of a piece/idea, and you will support your argument through musical facts.

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Week 10 (Oct 23): Lyrics

This week we’ll learn how to analyze the structure and poetry of lyrics. This goes beyond the kinds of meaning-based lyric analyses you see on sites like Genius.com and looks instead at how the lyrics are written and what kinds of subtle messages might be present there. We will learn through Lori Burns’s excellent approach and then you’ll do your own analysis.

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Week 9 (Oct 16): Timbre

The final unit deals with pop music. You will need to familiarize yourself with pop form terminology if you are not already comfortable with terms like verse, chorus, prechorus, bridge, or refrain.

This week we’ll talk about my research specialty: timbre. (I won’t have you read my research, since I feel that might be awkward to respond to, but you can access my article outlining my methodology here if you are interested.) We will focus on Kate Heidemann’s excellent article on vocal timbre, and you will analyze a song a la Heidemann.

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Week 6 (Sep 25): Hypermeter

This week you will learn how to approach a large-scale metrical understanding of tonal music: hypermeter. You’ll get introduced to the concept through Edward Klorman’s excellent summary of popular approaches, listen to several pieces by Strauss, Mozart, Bach, Haydn, and others, and do your own analysis of a song by Clara Schumann.

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