Sound, Rhythm, Melody, Harmony, Form

We should approach analysis by listening, letting the aural experience guide our quest to understand a piece of music.  We sense the texture and timbre, feel the pulse, follow the melodic contour, hear the dissonance and consonance, and ultimately try to make sense out of the composer’s intentions.

Regarding form, three things will happen structurally that can be identified.

1) literal repetition

2) repetition with variation

3) presentation of new material

This new content will be rhythmically and melodically different from what came before. The traditional building blocks of form are motives (rhythmic or melodic gestures), phrases, and periods. In a formal diagram lower case letters are used to refer to phrases, and capital letters refer to sections of forms that have multiple parts. In most tonal music, cadences appear at points of arrival in a way that is similar to punctuation in a sentence.

Overview of Tonal Harmony

Most of the music we will analyze was written in the Classical and Romantic periods by Western European composers.  They adhered to a strict code of “Common Practice.”  Please review these topics related to their harmonic practices.





Analysis: Chopin Prelude Op. 28, No. 20.