Week 4 (Sep 16): Serialism

Last updated on September 19th, 2019 at 03:27 pm GMT.

This week you will learn about 12-tone serial techniques and the variety of ways this can be implemented. You’ll learn how to identify row forms, do a row count, make a matrix, and interpret serial pieces. You will also do a guided analysis of a piece by Ruth Crawford Seeger, “Prayers of Steel” from Three Songs.

Continue reading Week 4 (Sep 16): Serialism

Week 4 (Jun 24): Techniques for Tonal Music

Last updated on June 28th, 2019 at 02:52 pm GMT.

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 500 and 750 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.

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.

Instructions

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!

Grading

  • 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.

Submission

  • 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.

Bibliography

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 2 (Jun 10): Techniques for Atonal Music

Last updated on June 26th, 2019 at 01:57 pm GMT.

This week, you will learn about set theory and segmentation. You’ll analyze music using set theory, apply set theory terminology, and critique the usefulness of set theory.

Set theory

Introductory reading

The reading makes use of some standard atonal theory terminology. First, pitches and pitch classes will be discussed using integers, where C=0, C#=1, etc. Second, calculating intervals will use what’s called mod-12 arithmetic, which is essentially math on the clock—6+8 = 2, like how if you work for eight hours beginning at 6AM, you get off at 2PM. Third, there are different types of intervals in atonal theory that help us describe different intervallic relationships, the most unfamiliar of which is interval classes. If any of this is unfamiliar to you, follow the links above (all from ) to learn about them. These concepts should not be difficult for you to comprehend after a bit of reading.

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.

Video

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.

download normal/prime form slides – download normal/prime form captions/transcript

download transformations slides – download transformations captions/transcript

Concept check

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

Instructions

  • 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.
  • Listen to the recording of the excerpt (found in the Recordings folder).
  • Analyze this excerpt according to the prompts. You may wish to use a combination of score annotation and verbal responses—do whatever you need to get your point across efficiently.

Grading

  • You will be assessed on the following concepts
    • Understanding of interval types (interval classes, pitch intervals)
    • Understanding of set classes
    • Understanding of transformations (Tn and TnI)
    • Interpretation
  • 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.

Submission

  • Submit your assignment on Blackboard.
  • Upload your assignment as a .pdf attachment. Please do not use other file types.

Bibliography

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

Shaffer, Kris, Bryn Hughes, and Brian Moseley. 2018. Open Music Theory. http://openmusictheory.com/.
Straus, Joseph Nathan. 2016. Introduction to Post-Tonal Theory. 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Week 8: Sonata Theory

Last updated on August 7th, 2019 at 08:46 pm GMT.

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). You’ll also read Seth Monahan’s model analysis of a Mozart string quartet movement before attempting your own Hepokoski/Darcy analysis of a sonata movement.
Continue reading Week 8: Sonata Theory

Week 6: Webern, Variations for Piano, Op. 27 (Analysis Symposium #1)

Last updated on August 7th, 2019 at 08:46 pm GMT.

For our first analysis symposium, we will focus on a classic piece by Anton Webern, his Variations for Piano, Op. 27.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hZXpDGQ-0M[/embedyt]

Download the score from the readings folder.

Continue reading Week 6: Webern, Variations for Piano, Op. 27 (Analysis Symposium #1)

Week 5: Serialism

Last updated on August 7th, 2019 at 08:46 pm GMT.

This week you will learn about 12-tone serial techniques and the variety of ways this can be implemented. You’ll learn how to identify row forms, do a row count, make a matrix, and interpret serial pieces. You will also do a guided analysis of a piece by Ruth Crawford Seeger, “Prayers of Steel” from Three Songs.

Also: make a test comment on this post so that I can approve you as a commenter for next week’s discussion, and so that you can try out the comment function.  Continue reading Week 5: Serialism