MusB Music / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:

Course unit fact file
Unit code MUSC20011
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course builds on the theoretical and analytical foundations established in the first year, by broadening students’ knowledge of analytical techniques of tonal music. Students will be introduced to representative analytical methods for this repertoire, and should expect to learn how and in what situations to apply them.

This course provides 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 their own graphs of short tonal works. Students will acquire the technical proficiency necessary for reading and critically evaluating Schenker’s own graphs and those of scholars from that tradition.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Tonality: Form and Harmony MUSC10011 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Pre-requisite unitsMUSC10011

This technical course requires score reading, so a discussion with the Course Unit Director prior to enrolment is advised. 


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 in the third year.


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

Assessment methods

Coursework 50%
Exam 50%


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, 2008).
  • 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

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Anne Hyland Unit coordinator

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