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MUSI 313

Analysis Paper Checklist

Preparatory Work
• Listen
• Listen again
• Listen again, asking yourself what formal function is occurring in the musical passage as
it flows: is it setting the stage (introductory), presenting an important musical idea
(expository), exploring the implications (development/variation/both) of the idea
(“narrative”), indicating the conclusion of a formal unit through a sense of arrival
(cadence, whether strong or weak) or a breath (concluding), or indicating the movement
from one musical sensibility to another (a smoother way of concluding that we call
transition).
• Listen again, asking yourself where there are passages of contrast and passages of
recurrence. In the case of the former, these can be through changes in tempo, rhythmic
activity, melodic contour, pitch centre, timbre (registers of instruments), or the
introduction or exclusion of particular instruments. In the case of the latter, the
recurrence can be exact (repetition) or it can be the continuation of something heard
before.
• Above all, listen

Decision 1: Structure (Form)


• Review what is meant by a “musical idea” and its content (pitch, rhythm, timbre,
gesture)
• Determine if the music has one or more of the following:

• Passage that seems to be setting the stage:


o Yes
§ Introduction
o No
• Presentation of a musical idea (or small group of ideas) that are singularly and
consistently explored (developed) throughout the piece (no introduction of new ideas
later)
o Yes
§ Small scale AB (binary) where B is the development of material from A
§ Large scale
• Episodic, either
o Subject (Exposition) Episodes 1, 2, 3,… or
o Subject (Exposition) Episode 1, Subj., Episode 2,….
o Subject may be some introductory material, like the
ostinato in Barber’s Excursions I
o No
• Presentation of several contrasting themes, whose musical ideas then undergo
development; or the converse, where motivic fragments are developed and eventually
coalesce into themes
o Yes
§ Sonata
o No
• Presentation and exploration of one musical idea (or closely related group of ideas);
introduction and exploration of a contrasting musical idea; recurrence of the first
musical idea…
o Yes
§ First idea returns mostly the same as in the first presentation: ABA or
ABA’ (Ternary)
§ There are more than one contrasting sections: ABA(or A’)CA… (rondo) or
variants like ABCA(or A’)CDADEA…
§ A compound where A has an aba structure; B has an ab or aba structure
o No
• Presentation and exploration of many successive contrasting musical ideas, with or
without recurrence
o Yes
§ Each idea has a clear musical contour (Debussy Canope)
• Enchainment: ABCDE with some variants that include recurrence
ABCDEAC etc
§ Each idea is essentially fragmentary, some may have contours, some may
be ostinato or other patterns; any recurrence superimposes some or all
of these ideas (Stravinsky, opening to the Rite of Spring
• Block: Block 1,2,3,4…(Block 234 [superimposed])
o No
• Presentation and exploration of successive musical ideas with recurrence, where the
recurrence serves as a continuation rather than a repetition of what occurred
previously
o Yes
§ Multiple-narrative structure: example - A1 B1 C1 A2 B2 A3 C2 B3 …
§ Spiral Structure: ABCB’C’DC’’D’E….
o No
• Presentation of some kind of pattern, repeated, with the addition of some slight
disruption that results in obviously perceivable change (shift in metric position, addition
or subtraction of a pitch) (example, minimalism)
o Yes
§ Process structure (form)
• Simple: Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…
• Complex: Process A Part 1, 2, 3, 4… Process B Part 1, 2, 3, 4…
and so on, the processes could be successive or simultaneous
o No
• Presentation of a musical state or character (chord, animated chord or collection of
pitches, timbre) that undergoes slow and almost imperceptible change, even if the
animation is rapid, into another musical state or character (example, spectralism)
o Yes
§ Metamophosis: State 1 D1 (disruption), 2, 3…. State 2 D1, 2, … and so on
o No
• Successive presentation of elements of one complex musical statement, as if it were
seen (heard) through a succession of windows, was unwrapped, or unfolded like a fan
(Saariaho, Sept Papillons)
o Yes
§ Unfolding: Parts 1, 2, 3, …
• Passage that extends the music beyond the closing point of the section that is recurring
(eg. ABA’, the first A closed in a particular manner, the second A will come to a similar
point.) or a passage that extends the music beyond a concluding signal:
o Yes
§ Coda
o No
• A composer may make use of one of the above or a combination of any of them

Formal Diagram: Large-scale only


Example – completely fabricated

mm Section
1 Introduction
13 Metamorphosis 1
37 Process A
49 Process B
67 Metamorphosis 2
89 Coda
92 End

Decision 2: Organizing Elements

The quality of your listening will determine your ability to make this decision. You should have
listened to the piece enough that you are able to predict what will happen next and you are
able to sing, however approximately, the predominant ideas in the piece.

Some aspect of the piece will have piqued your curiosity. You will want to know how that
aspect worked. Do not rest until you have found out. Be prepared, as Dr. Welling says, to get
your hands dirty. Dig in.

What is absolutely certain is that the piece works as a coherent whole. How? For any piece of
music, in any era, in order for a listener to be able to apprehend this coherence she or he must
experience musical relationships that are reiterated, that operate on several simultaneous
levels (for example, as melody and as harmony, or as superimposed melodies, or as gesture).
What are these specific elements in this movement?

You cannot capture everything about the movement in a two-page essay. You will have to
focus upon one of the following:
• Thematic relationships: presentation [pitch cell/rhythm cell/both (motive)], exploration
(development), relationships between/among themes
• Harmonic relationships: chord structures (including patterns), progressions (Tn, In and
common-tones), voice-leading (which may refer to Thematic Relationships), pitch-
centricity (if it exists, how it is established, how motion from one to the next operates)

Decide. Then proceed.

Decision 2A: Thematic relationships


Checklist
• Identify the thematic material in each of the sections you identified in your structural
diagram
• For each of these themes:
o Identify the presentation (phrases; or phrasal equivalents, as in sentence
structure)
o Identify several (three or four will make your case) non-contiguous places where
this material is developed (explored)
• Focus on each of the themes separately
o Identify the musical components (musical idea) that give the theme its musical
character – this arises from your listening
o Determine what smaller components (relationships) are being reiterated
o Circle them. These are your segments
§ Pitch cells
§ Rhythmic cells
§ Motives, if they contain both
o Take this material into pitch-class space
§ Identify the pitch collection (scale, series (in general, not applicable for
Louie), some large pitch-class set
§ Identify the smaller components (pitch cells)
§ So far, to identify means to name: for example F#, Bb, G are put into
normal order (6,7,10) and named (014); C though C will all of the diatonic
pitches in order is a C major scale, unless there are rotations of the same
pitches and therefore it is DIA 0#
§ Identify the intervallic relationships that predominate in the presentation
of the cells: for example - F# Bb G focusses upon interval 4 and 3 whereas
G F# Bb focusses upon interval 1 and 4. These intervals are what we
hear, and therefore what gives coherence to the piece.
o Identify any rhythmic pattern that recurs
o Identify any rhythmic pattern that is directly connected to a pitch cell
o Identify any ways in which a rhythmic pattern is developed: for example,
addition – quarter(q) eighth(e) eighth quarter becomes q e e e q or
augmentation – q e e q becomes half(h) q q h
• Repeat this for every theme, every one of the non-contiguous places where the themes
are being developed.
• Investigate the relationships all of these parts
o Which relationships recur? What connects the ideas?
§ Primary relationships in pitch-class space include Tn, In, Symmetry
o Which relationships are a development of other relationships? For example, in
one passage, scalar material outlines interval 7 (D,Eb,F,F#,G) and another
features interval 7 (E, B, Bb, F) This is a developmental connection that a listener
can apprehend.
o It may be that there is not relationship between two themes, that they are
distinct, which then becomes a feature of the piece, a way of defining the form.
• From all this work:
o You began with the question:
§ What element(s) make the thematic material and its exploration in this
piece coherent?
o As a result of what you have discovered in your analysis, you turn this into a
declaration of your thesis (it is general):
§ [Pitch collections/pitch cells/rhythmic cells/motives – state only what is
appropriate] provide(s) musical coherence to this piece (Frame this in
your own best English)
o Choose carefully from the evidence you have uncovered so that you have several
examples that prove your thesis. Present them as if you were teaching the
reader this material, so proceed step-by-step.
o Your conclusion will be a restatement of your thesis. But, it will be specific, and
entirely based on what you have proven (for which you have provided evidence).
If you discovered relationships among the themes and their development, state
exactly what they are, in a summary declaration. If you discovered that there is
no relationship among the themes, state what the relationships are that make
the individual sections coherent, and what element somehow ties them
together, even if it is just strong contrast.

Decision 2B: Harmonic relationships


Checklist
• Identify several (five or six will make your case) non-contiguous passages that you found
harmonically fascinating
• For each of the passages
o Identify the harmonic material, which is normally accompanimental and which
can be presented as:
§ Chords (simultaneities)
§ Patterns (like Alberti bass)
§ Arpeggiations
§ Repeated scalar (implied or complete) passages
o Circle each of these. They are your segments.
o Trace the actual voice-leading (you are looking for intervals, pitch-class sets, etc).
§ Obvious when there are simultaneities (stacked notes)
§ Bottom note of an arpeggio connects to the bottom note of the next
arpeggio, top note connects to top note, and so on for every other note
that has the same position in the arpeggio.
§ The same holds for other patterns, including scalar passages
o Take your segments into pitch-class space
§ Identify the chords (normal order > p-c set)
§ Identify the Tn, In (including fuzzy) that connects these chords
• Do these relate to any of the intervals in the actual voice-leading?
• Is there any underlying logic to the progression, either in the
actual voice-leading (especially among the bottom notes) or the
Tn/In?
o Composing out
o Interval or combination-interval cycle
§ Determine the relative smoothness of the progression (determined by
the common-tones). The more the common-tones, the smoother the
progression; the fewer, the more abrupt the harmonic change. For
example: D E F# G# A B and E F# G# A B C contain 5 common tones, a
maximally smooth progression.
o Back into pitch space. Listen carefully and determine where the places of
greatest harmonic tension occur; and where the places of greatest harmonic
relaxation occur
§ What factors contribute to this? Which intervals predominate in the
voicing of the chords?
§ Draw a tension contour line. How does this contour affect your
understanding of the flow of the harmony? Of the flow of
tension/relaxation?
o Examine the passage to determine if there is any pitch-centricity, through
prolongation, formal emphasis, axis of symmetry
• Now compare all of the passages
o What relationships recur?
§ Intervals in the chord structure (voicing)?
§ Intervals in the progressions?
§ Intervals among the pitch centres, if they exist?
§ Use of common tones? Smoothness/abruptness of the harmonic motion?
§ Flow of tension/relaxation?
• From all this work:
o You began with the question:
§ What element(s) make(s) the harmonic material in this piece coherent?
o As a result of what you have discovered in your analysis, you turn this into a
declaration of your thesis (it is general):
§ [Specific chords, progressions, intervals, cycles, use of common tones,
pitch centres, etc – state only what is appropriate] provide(s) musical
coherence to this piece (Frame this in your own best English)
o Choose carefully from the evidence you have uncovered so that you have several
examples that prove your thesis. Present them as if you were teaching the
reader this material, so proceed step-by-step.
o Your conclusion will be a restatement of your thesis. But, it will be specific, and
entirely based on what you have proven (for which you have provided evidence).
If you discovered relationships among the chords, state exactly what they are, in
a summary declaration. If you discovered that there is no relationship among
the harmonic passages, state what the relationships are that make the individual
passages coherent, and what element somehow ties them together, even if it is
just strong contrast.

The Paper
Checklist
• Outline for the paper
o Introductory paragraph
§ Statement of your thesis
§ Relevant biographical information (it is irrelevant to your paper that Ms.
Louie is a recipient of one of this year’s Governor-General Awards for the
Performing Arts; it is relevant when she created this work, what else she
may have been composing at that time, what else she may have
composed for similar ensembles…). Use footnotes for the sources of this
material (numbers or symbols at the end of sentences)
§ Recommendation: do not write this paragraph until you have written all
of the rest
o Middle Paragraphs
§ Provide the evidence to support your conclusion.
§ Each paragraph focusses upon one (or several closely related) elements
of your evidence.
§ Proceed step by step, so that the reader can follow your reasoning.
§ Refer to musical examples or figures (diagrams you have created) that
you will supply in the Appendix by putting the reference at the end of a
sentence in parentheses: (Ex. 1) or (Fig. 2)
o Concluding paragraph
§ Make a clear and specific statement of what you have discovered – your
conclusions – as shown in the sections above
§ Make any subjective statements regarding the esteem you have for the
piece as a result of your investigations.
• Appendix
o Structural (Formal) Diagram
o Musical Examples
§ Format: Example Number, Title, Measures (for example: Example 3,
Trichords, mm 17-19)
o Bibliography
§ List your sources alphabetically according to author, in a manner that
makes it clear to the reader how to find them.