Week 6: Webern, Variations for Piano, Op. 27 (Analysis Symposium #1) (F18)

Last modified on August 4, 2023

For our first analysis symposium, we will focus on a classic piece by Anton Webern, his Variations for Piano, Op. 27.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hZXpDGQ-0M[/embedyt]

Download the score from the readings folder.


  1. Listen to the recording with the score several times. This is an extremely short work so it will not take you long.
  2. Perform a row analysis of the piece: make a matrix (it’s okay to use an online matrix generator), and find and label the row forms present in the piece. Show a 12-count of each pitch in the row. So that we are all consistent, please base your matrix on P3 as given here:
    [3, 11, 10, 2, 1, 0, 6, 4, 7, 5, 9, 8]

Bring this analysis with you to class on Wednesday so that you can participate fully indiscussion.


Add a comment to this page with one original question for the presenters to answer. Note: your comments are public!

Presenters only

For either movement 1 or 3 (as assigned below), prepare a 5–10 minute presentation on some aspect of the piece.

mvt 1 mvt 3
Alex Mary
Jacob David
Crystal TJ


You must incorporate set theory and/or serialism. You may also include the broadly applicable techniques from Unit 1.

Some thoughts to inspire you:

  • What sets are governing this piece?
  • Where are the phrases? The sections? How can you tell what is a phrase/section opening and what is a phrase/section close?
  • How does the form compare/contrast with traditional tonal forms?


  • Have some kind of visual aid ready to demonstrate your main point(s). You can project papers (e.g., an annotated score) using the document camera.
  • Bring an extra copy of your visual for me to keep, or scan and email it to me.
  • I expect this to be informal, but you should still have your thoughts collected. Know what your main points are, and drive them home.  
  • 5–10 minute presentations go by quickly! Do not ramble! I will cut you off if I have to.

Comments are closed.