Week 8 (Oct 14): Analysis Symposium #2 (F19)

This week, everyone will analyze part of Franz Schubert’s “Tragic” Symphony, to review our techniques for tonal music.

Group work

I have divided everyone into groups based on your general availability.

Your groups should use Slack to collaborate. You can upload documents there. Each group has its own channel, named based on the date of the meeting.

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


  • You will be analyzing either the 1st or the 4th movement of Schubert’s “Tragic” Symphony. Split up and choose one movement, as you did with the last symposium.
  • Listen to the music while looking at this piano reduction, or you may prefer to look at the full score. In either case, listen to the Vienna Phil performing this symphony. Movement I is at the beginning of course; Movement IV begins at the timestamp 23:54.
  • Analyze these sonata-form movements using both hypermeter and sonata theory. Note that both of these movements are on a much larger scale than the Beethoven sonata you analyzed in Week 4. Be prepared for a lot more weirdness! But I promise that each movement can still be analyzed through Sonata Theory and hypermetrical analysis. Some thoughts to inspire you:
    • How does Schubert play with the hypermeter throughout this movement?
    • How does the hypermeter interact with the form of the piece?
    • What Type of sonata do you think this is (Type 1, Type 2, etc.)?
    • Did you have trouble locating the MC/EEC/ESC? If so, why?


  • 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.

Week 5 (Jul 1): Techniques for Pop Music (Su19)

This week, we’ll discuss pop music through two lenses: tonality and lyrics. Before you begin, you’ll have to familiarize yourself with form in pop music, if you are not already comfortable with terms like “verse,” “chorus,” “bridge,” etc.

You will read about the unique problems that pop music has with tonality and reflect on harmony in pop music vs classical music. You will also learn how to analyze the structure and poetry of lyrics. This goes beyond the kinds of meaning-based lyric analyses you see on sites like Genius.com and instead analyzes the poetic structure of the lyrics. We will learn through Lori Burns’s excellent approach. Your analysis assignment will incorporate both of these issues.

Continue reading Week 5 (Jul 1): Techniques for Pop Music (Su19)

Week 4 (Jun 24): Techniques for Tonal Music (Su19)

This week you will learn how to approach the nuances of rhythm in tonal music. You’ll get introduced to the concepts through Edward Klorman’s excellent summary of popular approaches, listening to several pieces by Strauss, Mozart, Bach, Haydn, and others.

You will also learn a new approach to sonata form. You probably learned the basics of sonata form in your undergraduate degree, but this week we will learn one of the newer and more nuanced approaches to sonata form: Sonata Theory according to James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy (2006).

Tonal rhythm

Read  . These are basic concepts about meter that you will need to understand to start analyzing meter in tonal music.

Be sure to listen to the musical examples:

Complete the Concept Check quiz on Blackboard to see if you are understanding hypermeter and grouping properly.

Sonata Theory

Many of you likely have already encountered sonata form in your undergrad degrees or in private lessons. It’s important to realize how the way you learned it before will differ from the method presented in .

Before watching the video, try doing a quick analysis of the first movement of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik on your own, based on your memory of sonata form. You won’t turn this in, but I will ask you to write about it in your response, and I will discuss this movement in the video. Download the score here, and listen to a recording by A Far Cry here.

download sonata form handout download Nachtmusik annotated scoredownload sonata form transcript

Complete the Concept Check quiz on Blackboard to see if you are understanding Sonata Theory terminology properly.

Due Wednesday: Response

Write a response essay (NB: NOT a summary!), between 300 and 500 words long.

More on reading responses
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.

In your response, compare your analysis of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik from before watching the video with the analysis I presented in the video and on my annotated score (linked above with video). How does the way you’ve learned sonata form in the past align with Hepokoski/Darcy? How is it different?

(If you forgot to do your own analysis before watching the video, just do an analysis now, pretending you’ve never heard of this new method.)

Then, turn to hypermeter: are there moments of hypermetrical irregularity? If so, describe the irregularity using terminology outlined in .

Post your response in your group blog—remember, you have new groups this week.

Video feedback

View my video feedback to your reading responses for more information on how to use MPRs and how to do a hypermeter analysis.

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

Try to apply Sonata Theory to Beethoven’s piano sonata in F minor, Op. 2, No. 1.


1. Listening

Listen to this sonata while looking at the score several times to get it in your ears. Mark any significant cadences that you hear.

2. Sections of the sonata

As you conduct your analysis, you will want to reference my handout linked above.

Annotate your score to indicate important moments of the sonata. Annotations should always be placed above where they occur in the score. Here is how I would like you to format each item:

  • Major sections: Write the section name in all caps and put a box around it.
  • Areas of the expo/recap: The expo/recap should each have P, TR, S, and C. Write the abbreviation for the area and put a box around it.
  • Important cadences. There are four big cadences that articulate the sonata form: the MC, the EEC, the MC of the recap, and the ESC. Write the abbreviation for each cadence and circle it.
  • The development. Then, try also to analyze the development of the sonata. Can you connect its sections to P, TR, S, and/or C? Above the staff, write whether you think material is P-based, TR-based, S-based, or C-based. If you do not think it is based on any of those, then you should write “new material.” Circle your labels.

Please present your work exactly like this. It makes it slower for me to grade when you format things in a different way.

3. Hypermetrical analysis

The exposition of the sonata has many instances of hypermetrical surprise. Annotate your score with numbers to indicate your hypermetrical analysis, for the exposition only.

  • Model your annotation on Klorman’s exs. 10 and 12.
  • You should normally be counting the measures 1 through 4.
  • When you have less/more than 4 measures in a hypermeasure, clearly indicate where you are hearing a reinterpretation/manipulation.
4. interpretation

Finally, write a paragraph or so that articulates anything strange you noticed in this sonata, using vocabulary from  and from Sonata Theory in your explanation. For example, if you have trouble locating the MC, EEC, or ESC, indicate why, using Sonata Theory language and clear musical details. If something didn’t go the way you expected, explain why it was surprising, using Sonata Theory language or hypermeter terminology. Or, if you think your hypermetrical analysis is maybe a stretch or if you’re otherwise not confident in it, explain your rationale for what you did using the MPRs. There is no need to explain things that seem fairly obvious, though (remember, I prefer you to be concise!).

Note: the edition of the score I linked above places measure numbers after that measure has ended, not before like we are used to!


  • You will be assessed on the following concepts:
    • Location of areas within expo/recap
    • Location of important cadences
    • Development analysis
    • Hypermetrical analysis
    • Use of Sonata Theory language in interpretive paragraph
    • Use of hypermetrical terminology in interpretive paragraph
  • You will be given detailed feedback through the rubric. Click “View rubric” in the gradebook to access this.
  • Assignments are always graded pass/fail, with a threshold of 70% to pass.


  • Upload both your annotated score and your interpretive summary.
  • Submit your assignment on Blackboard.
  • Upload your assignment as a .pdf attachment. Please do not use other file types.


If articles are not available online, you should be able to find them in the Readings folder.

Hepokoski, James A., and Warren Darcy. 2006. Elements of Sonata Theory: Norms, Types, and Deformations in the Late Eighteenth-Century Sonata. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.

Note: You can peruse the entire Elements of Sonata Theory book online through our library, but you do not need to read it for this course.

Week 12: “Same Drugs” by Chance the Rapper; “Broken Clocks” by SZA (F18)

For our final analysis symposium, we’ll be looking at two recent R&B/hip-hop hits that borrow elements from soul. Both “Same Drugs” and “Broken Clocks” are very interesting lyrically as well as tonally.



Continue reading Week 12: “Same Drugs” by Chance the Rapper; “Broken Clocks” by SZA (F18)

Week 10: Tonality in Pop Music (F18)

This week, we’ll discuss tonality in pop music. Before you begin, you’ll have to familiarize yourself with form in pop music, if you are not already comfortable with terms like “verse,” “chorus,” “bridge,” etc. You will read about the unique problems that pop music has with tonality, analyze a pop song, and reflect on harmony in pop music vs classical music.

Continue reading Week 10: Tonality in Pop Music (F18)

Week 9: Franz Schubert, “Tragic” Symphony, Finale (F18)

This week we will focus on applying techniques of tonal rhythm and Sonata Theory to the final movement of Schubert’s “Tragic” symphony.

Listen to the Vienna Phil performing this symphony. Movement I is at the beginning of course; Movement IV begins at the timestamp 23:54.


Try listening both with and without the score. You may choose to look at the full score, or if that is too intimidating, you might prefer to look at the piano reduction, which I’ve uploaded in our scores folder, and added measure numbers to.

Continue reading Week 9: Franz Schubert, “Tragic” Symphony, Finale (F18)