The goal of the course is to explore the relationship between form (phrases, motives) and structure (harmony, key areas, modulations) as they relate to the standard forms of the common practice period, and to learn to make accurate formal analyses and present them in clear and effective essays. Students will analyze compositions and demonstrate key concepts through formal diagrams, short essays, and analytical papers. Readings are intended not only to supply information relevant to the unit in which they occur, but also to serve as models for the student essays and papers.
The course is divided into two components. The lectures provide general information about the form and structure of compositions in the genres covered by each unit. Short examples are given, and links to longer examples are provided for student reference. The Analytical Essays are longer units, each of which explores a specific concept in depth. These essays are not meant to be comprehensive, but instead to focus on one or two critical elements of explored in the course. For example, our analysis of Chopin’s Prelude in A Minor will focus on harmonic ambiguity and the breakdown of the tonic-dominant model, while our analysis of Beethoven’s Waldstein Sonata explores the expansion of sonata form in the late classical period.