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Musical Analysis - MUS00004C

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  • Department: Music
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Daniel March
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module summary

This module provides an introduction to the techniques of musical analysis; students will learn to apply established approaches to analytical discussion, and develop their own readings of a variety of western art music.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2021-22

Module aims

Beginning with an intuitive response to a given piece of music, this project sets out to identify the compositional grounds for the nature of that response - the techniques that the composer has used to create particular effects. The process is one of rationalisation, moving from an immediate, emotional response towards being able to account for the grounds for that response and developing a more detailed awareness of what it involves; analysis, of any kind, is a quest for understanding. The project will be structured around a series of selected works - the emphasis will be on given compositions rather than analytical methods as a starting-point for discussion. Thus the approach will be a practical (rather than theoretical) consideration of analytical techniques. 

Works will include:

  • Bach: Partita for solo violin, No.3 in E major, BWV1006, ‘Preludio’.
  • Haydn: String Quartet in D Minor, Op. 76, No. 2, ‘The Fifths’
  • Beethoven: Piano Sonata in C Major, Op. 53, ‘Waldstein’
  • Schumann: Kinderszenen, Op.15
  • Chopin: Piano Etude in C minor, Op.10, No.12.
  • Strauss: ‘September’, from Four Last Songs
  • Webern: Concerto Op.24
  • Stravinsky: Requiem Canticles


Module learning outcomes

By the end of the taught part of the module students should:

  • be able to study, in detail, compositional processes and strategies revealed within a range of selected works;
  • acquire analytical skills and techniques, develop powers of critical observation, and broaden in-depth knowledge of repertoire;
  • develop abilities to explore and understand new and challenging musical stimuli;
  • be able to communicate an analytical understanding with clarity and critical insight, both orally and in written format.

On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate learning outcomes A1-7 & A9.


Task Length % of module mark
2500 Word Essay
N/A 60
Analytical Exercise
N/A 20
Critical Reading of Texts
N/A 20

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

The module is assessed through a folio consisting of three pieces of work:

  • An analytical exercise applying techniques covered in class to a given work of repertoire (20%);
  • A critical reading (approx. 750 words) of two analytical texts exploring music from different perspectives and using different techniques (20%);
  • An essay of approximately 2000 words presenting a detailed analysis of a single work of given repertoire (60%).


Task Length % of module mark
2500 Word Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Report form, with marks to student no later than 20 working days from submission of assessment.

Indicative reading

  • Bent, Ian. Analysis, New Grove Handbooks in Music. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1987.
  • Cadwallader, Allan & Gagne, David. Analysis of Tonal Music: A Schenkerian Approach, Oxford: Oxford UP, 1998.
  • Cook, Nicholas. A Guide to Musical Analysis, London: Dent, 1987.
  • Dunsby, Jonathan & Whittall, Arnold. Music Analysis in Theory & Practice, London: Faber, 1987.
  • Dunsby, Jonathan, ed. Early Twentieth-Century Music: Models of Analysis, Oxford: Blackwell, 1993..
  • Kerman, Joseph. Musicology (see Chapter 3), London: Fontana, 1985.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.