Week 5 (Sep 23): Analysis Symposium #1 (F19)

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.

Group work

I have divided everyone into groups. Your groups should use Teams to collaborate. You can upload documents there. Each group has its own channel.

I can view your channel but I will not be receiving notifications from it, so ping me (using the @ symbol) if you have a question.

Individual analysis


Download the score from the readings folder, and listen to the piece.

  • Split in half, and have one half analyze mvt. 1, while the other half does mvt. 3.
  • Listen to the recording with the score several times. This is an extremely short work so it will not take you long.
  • 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].
  • Analyze your movement, incorporating set theory and serialism and also making connections between set theory/serialism and other aspects of the piece. You may also include the broadly applicable techniques from the earlier unit if you wish. 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?


  • Distill your findings to the most important and interesting points. Create a one page outline that explains your analysis, and share it with your group on Slack. You may also want to send an annotated score.
  • You have to complete your individual work early enough that your group members will have a chance to look at your stuff before the meeting! Arrange a due date for this amongst yourselves.
  • In addition to sharing it with the group, please upload it on Blackboard. This will be your individual grade. View the rubric to see how you will be evaluated.



  • Read through your peers’ analyses. Make sure you are also familiar with the movement you did not analyze.
  • Prior to the meeting, make sure you are able to use Webex and that your camera and audio are set up.


  • On our meeting day, you will receive an email from Webex with a meeting number and code to join.
  • In our discussion, I’ll lead with questions such as these:
    • What did you notice that you had in common?
    • Where did you differ (especially from the other person who analyzed the same movement as you)?
    • What unity is there between these pieces?
  • You should have coherent and thoughtful responses to these questions if you have read your peers’ work.
  • You will be given a grade based on your participation in this meeting.

Optional: revisions (due Sunday)

If you would like to revise your individual analysis in light of the group discussion, you may do so! I will accept your revision, grade it by the same rubric as before, and your final grade will be an average of both attempts. Upload your revision in the same place you submitted originally.