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The University of Southampton

MUSI6023 Analytical Techniques

Module Overview

Your work on this module will be guided by a selection of ‘classic’ and current innovative theoretical and analytical writings on music, which will challenge you to examine your assumptions about the nature of both scholarship and music works. We will typically focuses on two areas of music theory and analysis, with approximately half the semester being spent on each.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • some of the current methods of music analysis
  • the applicability of different methods of analysis to different repertories
  • the modes in which musical works operate
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • describe in analytical terms a range of works drawn from the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries
  • describe the essential features of some methods of analysis currently used by theorists
  • apply methods of analysis to specific musical works
  • relate detail to structure in music
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • give a seminar presentation on a highly specific topic
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • use a specifically analytical notation (e.g. a voice-leading graph) as part of a detailed study of a musical work
  • explain verbally the essential features of a musical analysis
  • discuss critically analytical approaches to music, and the results of a musical analysis


In this module you will study the principles of (usually) two methods or theories pertinent to the analysis of Western music (these could include, for example, Schenkerian theory, sonata theory, Neo-Riemannian theory, the Generative Theory of Tonal Music, set theory, theories of rhythm and hypermeter, etc.). During your investigations you will explore a number of ‘case studies’ in the application of that method or theory to specific pieces or groups of pieces. The types of pieces to be analysed can often be chosen by mutual agreement, reflecting your interests and the expertise of the teaching staff.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • teaching and discussion in seminars • student-led discussions of individual works Learning activities include • reading about music analysis, and analytical methods • following, in a step-by-step fashion, some “classic” analytical and theoretical writings • preparing analyses of short- and medium-length pieces of music • contributing to analytical discussions, in a critical way The seminars are designed to clarify the principles underlying analytical approaches, and to show how they may be applied to specific contexts. The background reading will enable you to study in greater depth matters that are introduced in the seminars but not explored in detail. The week-to-week study of analytical methods and of examples from the musical repertory to which they may be applied, together with the longer- term application of these methods in formal assessment, will give you the competence to undertake analyses of your own, and the confidence to share your insights into music with your tutors and your peers.

Completion of assessment task96
Wider reading or practice116
Follow-up work28
Preparation for scheduled sessions24
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Fred Lerdahl and Ray Jackendoff (1983). A Generative Theory of Tonal Music. 

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

Edward Gollin and Alexander Rehding (eds) (2011). The Oxford Handbook of Neo-Riemannian Music Theories. 

Jonathan Dunsby and Arnold Whitall (1988). Music Analysis in Theory and Practice. 

Ian Bent and William Drabkin (1987). Analysis. 

James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy (2006). Elements of Sonata Theory: Norms, Types, and Deformations in the Late- Eighteenth-Century Sonata. 

Allen Cadwallader and David Gagné (1998). Analysis of Tonal Music: A Schenkerian Approach. 

William E. Caplin (2000). Classical Form: A Theory of Formal Functions for the Instrumental Music of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. 


Assessment Strategy

Assessment Strategy: • discussion of original work presented in class • open-hour meetings and tutorials • provisional assessment of preliminary or preparatory work towards formal assignments • feedback on formal assignments Assessment Method: • Analysis (40%), based on a selected method taught the first half of the semester (2500 words, or equivalent: diagrams, charts, score- based analysis, etc.) • Analysis (60%), based on a selected method taught the second half of the semester (3000 words, or equivalent: diagrams, charts, score- based analysis, etc.)


MethodPercentage contribution
Analysis  (2500 words) 40%
Analysis  (3000 words) 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework %

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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