BA Music and Drama / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:

Unit code MUSC20011
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Music
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course builds on the theoretical and analytical foundations established in the first year, by broadening students’ knowledge of a range of Western musical repertoire. Students should expect to learn and apply standard analytical methods to this music, and to learn the technical proficiency necessary for reading and evaluating analyses of music by scholars from that tradition.


This course will also provide a critical understanding of the conceptual basis of Heinrich Schenker’s theory of tonal music, and will teach basic techniques of voice-leading analysis and notation sufficient to enable students to prepare graphs of short tonal works.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Tonality: Form and Function MUSC10011 Pre-Requisite Compulsory


This unit aims:

  • to develop students’ music-analytical skills;
  • to serve as an introduction to the analytical theories of Heinrich Schenker, one of the leading twentieth-century figures in the understanding of tonal music;
  • to teach students the basic principles behind Schenker’s analytical approach and how to read his graphs;
  • to give students the tools to undertake their own basic Schenkerian analysis;
  • to familiarise students with other techniques for analysing Western tonal music, with a similar emphasis on theoretical understanding and practical application;
  • to lay foundations for further analytical and technical work.


1. Introduction to the basic concepts of analysis

2. Melodic diminution and voice leading

3. Harmonic motion and prolongation

4. Linear progressions and Linear Intervallic Patterns

5. Compound melody

6. Reading week

7. Secondary structural features

8. Models of the Ursatz and melodic prolongation I

9. Melodic prolongation II

10. Unfolding and motion into an inner voice

11. Summary and case-study workshop

Teaching and learning methods

Core course content will be delivered in two-hour lecture-seminars: these will introduce relevant theories, discuss a number of examples, and help students to develop critical thinking and technical ability. Following the initial exposition of concepts and techniques, teaching will centre largely around short weekly exercises to be completed in preparation for discussion and class evaluation.


In weekly Analysis Labs students will work in small groups on tasks that will consolidate their understanding of the material covered in the lecture-seminar, and receive feedback on weekly analytical tasks.


Individual learning support is offered through consultation hours.


Blackboard provision.

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • demonstrate their understanding of various music-analytical methods appropriate for tonal repertoire;
  • carry out analyses of a range of Western score-based music using accepted models, and have understood more complex analyses;
  • create basic voice-leading analyses of short tonal works, alongside other appropriate analytical approaches.

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • demonstrate their increased knowledge of a range of repertoires in Western music;
  • read and understand basic Schenkerian graphs;
  • engage critically with the tenets of Schenkerian analysis.

Practical skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • demonstrate skills in the clear presentation of specialist musical notation;
  • show an ability to produce analytical work independently within an increasingly self-directed environment.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • undertake group work in the analysis labs;
  • demonstrate developing team-working and collaboration skills;
  • exhibit attention to detail.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Analysing texts and musical scores
Group/team working
Interacting with peers and course lecturer
Oral communication
Seminar discussion
Problem solving
Creative problem-solving (fulfilling a set task with the resources available)
Time management skills (submitting material to fixed deadlines)

Assessment methods

Coursework 1 [50%] : Equivalent to 3000 words

Examination [50%] : 2 hours (one question)

Feedback methods

  • Oral feedback on weekly analytical tasks given in Analysis Labs
  • Written feedback on coursework assignments 1 and 2
  • Additional one-to-one feedback (during consultation hour or by making an appointment)

Recommended reading

Students should make every effort to familiarise themselves with a wide range of music from the  period  1700-1830,  supplemented  by  the lecturer’s reading suggestions.


Bent, Ian, Analysis (London, 1987).

Cadwallader, Allen, and David Gagne, Analysis of Tonal Music: a Schenkerian Approach (3rd ed.,

          Oxford, 2010).

Cook, Nicholas, A Guide to Musical Analysis (Oxford, 1987).

Forte, Allen, and Steven Gilbert, An Introduction to Schenkerian Analysis (London, 1982).

Hatten ,Robert S., Interpreting Musical Gestures, Topics and Tropes: Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert

           (Indianapolis, 2004).

Pankhurst, Tom, SchenkerGUIDE: a Brief Handbook and Website for Schenkerian Analysis (London,


Schenker, Heinrich, Five Graphic Analyses (New York, 1932, repr. 1969) with an introduction and

             glossary by Felix Salzer.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Tutorials 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

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