Locate the scan of Chapter 2 of . This textbook is the go-to text for atonal music theory. For this reason I’ve placed the whole thing on reserve at the library.
Read pages 43–71 of Chapter 2 to get introduced to set theory.
As a supplement, you may also wish to watch my tutorial that explains how to use clock faces to calculate normal form and prime form. I have another video that explains transposition and inversion, too. For a sheet of blank clockfaces to download, click here.
Note: This video uses interactive technology. The picture-in-picture can be swapped or even viewed side-by-side. The video also uses a menu so you can quickly navigate to certain portions of the video. For more explanation, see this video from Kaltura.
Complete the Concept Check quiz on Blackboard to see if you are understanding the set theory concepts properly.
Due Wednesday: Example analysis reading and response
Listen to the first movement of Bartok’s String Quartet No. 4.
Then, read Straus’s analysis of the opening of this movement, which is in Chapter 2, pages 81–86.
Write a response essay (NB: NOT a summary!) to Straus’s analysis of Bartok, at least 700 words long.
More on response essays
A response essay is your personal take on the readings, and thus you shouldn’t be trying to write the “right answer,” but rather your opinion and reaction to what you’ve read. Remember that these are graded pass/fail, so anything you write is valuable in that sense. Feel free to use I/me pronouns and to freely express yourself (while remaining professional) and your opinion of the reading.
Below are some questions to inspire you, which you may choose to answer (you do not have to answer all, or any, of them!):
In the last paragraph on page 83, Straus describes neighbor notes in the texture. This is interesting! What is a neighbor note in tonal music? How do you recognize neighbor tones in tonal music? How can we recognize them in post-tonal music?
What are some differences in our interpretation of neighbor notes in tonal vs. atonal music?
At the top of page 76, Straus notes why one particular arrival on Bb-C-D-E sounds cadential. Think about cadences more broadly and generally. How do we know what a cadence is in tonal music? How else could something sound cadential in post-tonal music?
How aurally salient (i.e., hearable) are the structures that Straus creates?
Submit this by posting in your group’s “blog” on Blackboard.
Due Friday: Peer response
Respond to the members of your peer group by clicking the “comment” button under their blog post and typing your response directly into the text box, rather than uploading an attachment.
Due Sunday: Analysis assignment
On page 86 of the Straus Chapter 2 reading, you will find Guided Analysis 2.1: Ruth Crawford Seeger, Piano Prelude No. 9, mm. 19–24. Read through the questions given.