Global Opportunities

MUS2044 : Practising Music Analysis

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module aims to help the student develop skills in the various practices of music analysis, including those already acquired in MUS1020 (Counterpoint and Voice-Leading). It also aims to help develop the student’s knowledge of music from the late baroque period through to the early twentieth century through aural and analytic encounters (with possible excursions into other repertories), and help them gain a measure of self-sufficiency in critically understanding the forms, voice(s) and content of music from this era.

By the end of the module students should be able to make sense of a reasonably complex piece of music through their own musical and intellectual resources. This means understanding how a piece works with (or sometimes against) formal conventions and how it mobilises forces such as harmony, tonality, syntax, and thematic structure to make an experience that is musically satisfying. This also includes learning to see the wood for the trees – to distinguish between musical elements of local and more global significance; in other words to understand the different levels on which a piece is working.

Outline Of Syllabus

Becoming good at music analysis (like becoming adept at anything else) takes practice. The module offers a weekly programme in which the student can try their hand at working with a range of pieces on different scales, starting with relatively simple ones, and moving towards complex and longer ones. They will be encouraged to understand the music in its various contexts too – historical, cultural, aesthetic, etc. Weekly encounters with a related set of pieces should also help them get familiar with musical repertories.

Practising musical analysis also suggests that analysis is a form of doing or making. We will encourage the student to approach the music imaginatively – perhaps hearing it with a composer’s- or performer’s-ear. And we will ask them to produce something in response to their encounter with the music. This includes not only the written word, but other forms of representing their knowledge of the piece (e.g. a transcription, a graph, a talk, or a demonstration).

There is one point of summative assessment during the module: a portfolio to be submitted at the end of the semester weighted at 100%. This will consist of one or more pieces of work that students will have been working on during the course of the module. This summative submission is related to the learning skills and outcomes of the learning events throughout the semester. The brief for the portfolio can be found on Canvas.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00PIP lecture or online lecture material with associated tasks in case of lockdown
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading165:0065:00Seminar and lecture preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Seminars - PIP or online and synchronous in case of lockdown
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1102:00102:00Portfolio assignments
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures include expositions of relevant issues and approaches relevant to analysing music. Although staff-led, they still presuppose preparation on your own part, usually involving listening and/or reading, and/or score study. Seminars and workshops encourage you to apply these approaches to the study of specific pieces or movements from them, and give you an opportunity to present and discuss your findings and test out your ideas. Through a series of increasingly challenging assignments undertaken for both lectures and seminars you should gradually acquire the skills and knowledge that the module aims to develop. About 5 hours preparation time is assumed each week.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio1A1003,000 words or equivalent
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Portfolios comprise key coursework assignments designed to test distinct skills and methodologies, and works and repertories studies at each stage of the module.

Reading Lists