MusB Music / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Advanced Analysis

Course unit fact file
Unit code MUSC30011
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Music
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course aims to develop students’ understanding of key issues in the discipline of music theory and analysis by introducing them to a range of influential methodologies and key analytical debates. It presents a survey of significant and representative analytical approaches from the nineteenth century to the present day, and assesses their applicability to music from Beethoven to Scriabin. The course is structured on three levels, according to analytical method, theoretical issue, and musical repertoire, and concentrates each week on a match between one or more of each. The course further aims to develop students’ critical engagement with current and historical trends in music analysis, culminating in an independent analytical project of a chosen work or works.



Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Analysis MUSC20011 Pre-Requisite Optional
Music post 1900 MUSC20222 Pre-Requisite Optional

Must have taken either MUSC20011 or MUSC20222


This unit aims:

  • to improve students music-analytical skills
  • to familiarise students with a range techniques for analysing tonal and post-tonal music, with an equal emphasis on theoretical understanding and practical application
  • to give students the tools to undertake their own independent analytical project
  • to critically assess the theories introduced by the course
  • to lay foundations for postgraduate analytical and technical work


Learning outcomes

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

  • critically assess the theories introduced by the course
  • produce an independent analytical project


Knowledge and understanding

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

  • demonstrate advanced knowledge and in-depth understanding of a range of music-analytical techniques appropriate for tonal and post-tonal repertoires
  • demonstrate an ability to employ these techniques appropriately
  • construct detailed analyses of a range of Western score-based music using accepted models
  • show an understanding of theoretical writings upon which analytical methods are based


Intellectual skills

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

  • understand, apply, and evaluate various music-analytic methods
  • read and critique advanced analytical texts


Practical skills

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

  • present specialist musical notation clearly and appropriately
  • work on an independent project to a given deadline
  • demonstrate skills in oral presentation
  • Show developing abilities in argumentation and interpretation, and the ability to work with a broad range of texts and scores


Transferable skills and personal qualities

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

  • undertake group work and collaboration
  • demonstrate the ability to synthesize and evaluate material systematically to produce arguments that are communicated clearly in both written and verbal form
  • show an ability to produce independent work displaying critical self-awareness
  • demonstrate the ability to communicate ideas and information clearly in written and verbal form


Employability skills

Analytical skills
¿ Analytical skills (analysing texts, musical scores, and other materials
Group/team working
¿ Interacting and collaborating with peers
¿ Creative problem-solving (fulfilling a set task with the resources available)
Oral communication
¿ Oral skills (formal presentation as part of assessment)
¿ Digital skills (information searches in databases, and use of MS Powerpoint)
¿ Time management skills (submitting material to fixed deadlines)

Assessment methods

Presentation 10%
Independent project 90%


Feedback methods

  • Oral feedback on students’ responses in weekly seminars
  • Written feedback on coursework assignments 1 and 2
  • Additional one-to-one feedback (during consultation hour or by making an appointment)


Recommended reading

  • Agawu, V. Kofi, ‘How we got out of Analysis, and How to get back in again’ Music Analysis, 23/ii-iii (2004), 267–86
  • Bent, Ian, Analysis (London, 1987)
  • Cohn, Richard, ‘As Wonderful as Star Clusters: Instruments for Gazing at Tonality in Schubert’, 19th-Century Music, 22 (1999), 213-32
  • Cook, Nicholas, A Guide to Musical Analysis (Oxford, 1987)
  • Kerman, Joseph, ‘How we got into Analysis, and How to get out’, Critical Inquiry, 7 (1980), 311–31; published as `The State of Academic Music Criticism', in Kingsley Price (ed.), On Criticizing Music: Five Philosophical Perspectives (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), 38–54; reprinted in Kerman, Write All These Down: Essays on Music (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1994), 12–32.
  • Morgan, Robert, P., ‘The Concept of Unity and Musical Analysis’, Music Analysis, 22 (2003), 7–50
  • Nattiez, Jean-Jacques, Music and Discourse: Toward a Semiology of Music, trans. Carolyn Abbate (Princeton, 1990)


Study hours

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

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Anne Hyland Unit coordinator

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