Week 5 (Sep 18): Analysis Symposium #1

Last modified on September 1, 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. 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]
  • Show a 12-count of each pitch in the row: number the pitches 1–12 according to their order in the row form you’ve identified (so not their pc integers). View an example of a 12-count of a row.
  • 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?


  1. 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.
    • It will probably be helpful to have a visual of some kind, too, whether it’s in the video or in a PDF you upload to the channel.
  2. By Thursday end-of-day, upload your video to your designated Teams channel so your peers can view and respond to your video.
  3. After submitting their individual analysis, each group member will discuss how their findings interact with those of the other members (all other members, not just those who did the same piece!). 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.
    • Try to do this as soon as possible after all videos are submitted, to allow plenty of time for back-and-forth interactions. Your group may find it helpful to set expectations for when people will submit initial responses (i.e., make sure not everyone submits at the last minute).
    • Be sure you have something to say to each person that shows that you understood their analysis and makes a connection between theirs and your own.
    • I’ll evaluate these discussions on Sunday after noon, but again: please do not wait until the last minute to do this—everyone needs time to receive, understand, and respond to discussion. Timeliness in responding is part of your 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)