Week 5 (Sep 19): Analysis Symposium #1 (F22)

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.


I have divided everyone into groups and put you in Teams channels accordingly. Split in half, and have one half analyze mvt. i while the other half analyzes mvt. iii. Your groups should use Teams to collaborate. 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.

  • 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?


  • You will begin with individual analyses. Make a video explaining what you discovered in the piece. The video should be at least 5 minutes long, but no more than 10. I would like to see your face in the video, because in an online class, I think that’s helpful for understanding that we’re all humans and not just names on a screen (but if you can’t do this for some reason, just discuss with me). Note that this is an individual analysis, so you should not be collaborating with your group mates yet.
  • By Friday, submit this video in two places: uploading to your designated Teams channel and uploading on Blackboard (read more on submitting a video on Blackboard). The Teams channel is for discussion with your peers, while Blackboard is for evaluation and grading by me.
  • After submitting their individual analysis, each group member will discuss how their findings interact with those of the other members. Use the chat function in the Teams channel to do this. Approach discussion like a chat conversation rather than a response essay—ask people questions, wait for their replies—just have a conversation! Don’t be too stiff. Your participation in this discussion will earn another grade. I’ll evaluate these discussions on Monday of next week.
  • I will grade both your discussion and your individual analysis as separate grades. Rubrics are always available on Blackboard.
  • If you wish, after you may revise your individual analysis in light of what you learned during the group discussion.
    • Submit your revisions in the same place as your original on Blackboard, as a second attempt.
    • Your revised content can be a new video if you like, or you may submit something written if that’s easier.
    • Separate from your analysis, in the “comments” box on Blackboard, you must accompany your analysis with a paragraph explaining how the discussion influenced your revisions.
    • Your revised grade will be averaged with your original grade.


You will be assessed individually in two parts. Your individual analysis and the discussion are separate grades, equally weighted. Rubrics for both are always available on Blackboard.

Your individual analysis should incorporate set theory and serialism as described above.

In your Teams discussion, you should:

  • submit your video and your discussion on time so others can engage with it
  • respond lucidly to any questions asked to you
  • comprehend what others have said to you
  • demonstrate familiarity with both pieces
  • make comparisons with other group members’ analyses (including those who did the other piece)