Analytical Techniques


Tarleton State University

Instructor:  Dr. Vicky V. Johnson   254/968-9245

MUSC 5330  Course Outline







Tech Help






Theory Help




Weekly Schedule     

Week #

Week Dates

All are Sun - Sat

Topic for Study



@ Midnight



@ Midnight

1 Mar 17-23Introduction

Discussion 1

Post: Fri Mar 22

Resp.: Sat Mar 23

Assignment 1

Sat Mar 23
2 Mar 24-30Aural analysis




Assignment 2

Sat Mar 30
3 Mar 31-Apr 6Traditional analysis

Discussion 2

Post: Fri Apr 5

Resp.: Sat Apr 6

Assignment 3

Sat Apr 6
4 Apr 7-13Traditional analysis




Assignment 4

Sat Apr 13
5 Apr 14-20Schenker analysis

Discussion 3

Post: Fri Apr 19

Resp.: Sat Apr 20

Assignment 5

Sat Apr 20
6 Apr 21-27Improvisation analysis

Discussion 4

Post: Fri Apr 26

Resp.: Sat Apr 27

Assignment 6

Sat Apr 27
7 Apr 28-May 4Project

Discussion 5

Post: Fri May 3

Resp.: Sat May 4


8 May 5-8Project




Final Project

Tue May 7



Week 1Greetings grad students!

Welcome to Analytical Techniques

Please follow the link to review the Syllabus which contains grading and policy information.  Let me know if you have any questions.  Unless they refer to personal matters or grading issues, a good place to ask questions is the "Ask Dr. J" section in the Discussion forum in Blackboard.  However, if you need an answer more quickly, email me at

On this Course Outline page, you will find links to the lectures for each week, as well as any general announcements to the class.  The animated bullets to the right will designate "action" items, so be sure you accomplish these each week.  There is an overview calendar at the top of this page for quick reference.  All lectures will be linked from here, so this is your hub.

Be aware that this is an organic document.  It WILL change.  You are responsible for what is on this page, not a hard copy that you printed off in the first week of the course.

If you come across mistakes in the web pages in this course or dead links, I would appreciate it if you would let me know!





Now, click in to the first lecture, and let's get started!


Introduction to Analytical Techniques


Blackboard/Computer configuration

Follow this link to familiarize yourself with the Blackboard interface.


In order to bring a little bit of "face-to-face" into our class experience, attach a photo of yourself inside Blackboard:

  • Click on your name on the top right of the page

  • Click Settings, Personal Information, Personalize My Settings, Use custom avatar image

  • Browse your computer to choose a photo and attach the file.  (Although it may express your personality to choose a cartoon character or a picture of your dog, please choose a photo of yourself.  OK, the dog can be in the photo, too.)

Disregard these instructions if you are in the Witness Protection Program.


Please consider getting the Blackboard app for your mobile device (phone or tablet).  This is a handy way to keep up with the course, including notifications of new content or messages.


Discussion 1: 


After completing the first lecture, watch this video:

Then answer the following questions:

  1. What are your general impressions?

  2. How does this video relate to analytical techniques?

  3. How important is it to know the composer's intent?  Why?


See the rubric in the Discussion section for point values.  The sooner you post your original answer, the more points you get.  The deadline for all responses is Saturday at midnight.


Assignment 1:

Let's jump right in and see where we are.  I would like you to download this score:

Chopin Prelude #4

Listen to the music


You can go to

Choose Classical Music Library from the list

Put Chopin Prelude #4 in the search box

or you can find it on YouTube, etc.

Using traditional analysis, analyze the piece.  If you need to brush up on some basic theory, use the music theory textbook of your choice.  You can also refer to this Help link.

Traditional analysis can include:

  • Analysis of harmony
    • Roman numeral and figured bass analysis to show harmonic progression, chord quality, and inversions
    • Identification of cadences
  • Analysis of melody
    • Identification of non-harmonic tones (circle them and use abbreviations to identify Ex: PT=passing tone)
    • Identification of phrasing
    • sequential material
  • Identification of large scale form
    • using letters to identify sections, such as A section or B section

Write your analysis on the score (legibly, please!).  Then scan it and submit in the submission blank in Blackboard.  Please scan it in as one document (not two separate pages).  Submit the assignment as Assignment 1 in Blackboard. 

Week 2In Assignment 1, you marked your analysis findings on the score.  This is the raw material of analysis. 

This week, you will listen to music and analyze it based upon only what you hear, so don't cheat and track down a score or someone else's analysis on the internet!  Your analysis will be in written form. Try not to write a "blow by blow" description. When you use words like next, then, soon, etc., you are giving a chronological description. Try to find what is unique, notable, and worthy of discussion, not just what is next.


Analysis by Listening

Demystifying Analysis

Sometimes there is so much going on in a piece of music that it is difficult to know where to start.  This paper offers some questions to give you some direction.  You do not have to answer every question or cover every detail, but each piece of music offers its own.

Ignore the parts of the paper that do not apply to your current assignments.  I did not write it - it is just to help you focus on possible areas of analysis.




No graded discussion this week.  If you have insights or questions about this week's material, post in "Ask Dr. J."  Feel free to reply there also.  You can also discuss off-topics in the Watercooler forum.


Assignment 2:
  1. Listen to the first movement ("Largo") of Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 8 in C minor.  Find it on YouTube or here:
  1. Listen to "You Shook Me" as sung by Led Zeppelin (this song was originally written and sung by Willie Dixon and has been covered by many, but use the Zeppelin version).  You may be able to find it on YouTube.  No doubt you can buy it on iTunes, Amazon, etc.

Listen to each musical selection ("Largo" and "You Shook Me") sufficient times to be very familiar with it.  Then, based upon the lecture notes, write an analysis of each piece.   I am not specifying a length to encourage you to delve deep into each piece based entirely upon listening.  (Hint:  that means don't make it too short!)


Note:  Don't give me background information on either piece because you cannot know this information based upon listening alone.  Write as if you do not know the composer, performer, etc.  Even if you are very familiar with this information, give me the Pandora version of an analysis.  In other words, how would a Pandora musicologist analyze this song so that it would accurately feed into their algorhythm?


Writing style should be based on APA for such things as running head, cover sheet, pages numbered, 12 point font, double space everything, one inch margins, etc.  (No citations or abstract on this assignment).  Review Writing for the appropriate guidelines and APA Style for formatting.  Pay particularly attention to the "Musical Titles" section of the APA page.  Do not title your paper "Assignment 2" - give it a proper title as a formal paper.  Here is a template that should help:

Assignment Template


Don't speak on behalf of the listener as you write as in "The listener will hear/ find/know," etc. Just state what is there.


Don't forget to include a concluding paragraph on both analyses, and maybe even a conclusion to the entire assignment that could draw some conclusions about the assignment in general or compare/contrast the two works.

Week 3This week we will combine the processes of Weeks 1 and 2.  You have already listened to Chopin's Prelude #4.  You have analyzed and marked the score.  You assignment will be to present your findings and conclusions in a formal paper.

Traditional Analytical Techniques

Writing a Readable Analysis Paper

This includes some great advice.

However, when reading the part about "Some General Tips," your consistency should adhere to APA when choices are offered.


Class list



Reminder:  Every paper written for this course is to be considered a formal paper.  Avoid first person personal pronouns (I, me, we, us) and second person personal pronouns (you). Review Scholarly Writing.


When referring to measures, use numerals (m. 12)

Discussion 2: 


Post your Assignment 2 paper as a Word document file attachment for your classmates to read.  For your primary post, critique the entire paper of the classmate that falls just after you in the alphabet (the last person on the list will critique the first).  Critique the paper of your assigned classmate as if you were the instructor of the course.  Give that classmate significant feedback on the entire assignment. You may offer that feedback on the Word document (using markup or just add your corrections/comments in another color) and then copy and paste the whole thing in the submission blank for me to grade.


For your responses, choose additional classmates' papers to critique, but you may pick and choose elements of their papers on which to comment.  Please review the "Critique" section of the Discussion info before proceeding.  Remember to post at least 3 of these with significant and excellent suggestions in order to receive full credit.


You will receive full credit for timely posting if your Assignment 2 paper is uploaded by Tuesday and your complete critique of your assigned classmate is complete by Friday midnight.  Complete credit for responses will be awarded if completed by Saturday midnight.  See the class list to your left for an alphabetical listing. 


Note:  Remember to use a cover sheet for your paper as per APA style guidelines so you will be identifiable.  Please do not submit your critique as an attachment.  Write it in Word if you wish, then cut and paste into the submission box.


Assignment 3:

Based upon your analysis of Chopin's "Prelude #4" and my feedback, write a formal paper relating your findings and conclusions. Include your interpretation of the composer's intent and process of composition.  Use specific examples from both the score and from listening to the piece.

Your paper should adhere to APA guidelines, except there will be no abstract, citations or bibliography. Your formal paper should begin with a cover sheet. The length of the paper should be 5-6 pages, exclusive of cover sheet.  I will return any paper that is too short or does not conform to APA guidelines.  Again, here is a template to get you started: Assignment Template

Review Writing for the appropriate guidelines and APA Style for formatting.

Seriously - read over those.  It is a waste of my time and your grade when you make errors because you did not read these pages

Note:  Please do NOT describe every note and every beat as if I don't have the score in front of me.  Point out those musical elements and ideas that you need to make your points, even at a micro level, but do not describe that which you do not intend to discuss.  Make sure you have read "Writing a Readable Analysis Paper" before beginning the assignment (linked on the left of your screen).

One last thing (is she done yet??):  Your score is numbered incorrectly; the pick-up is incorrectly counted as the first measure.  Even so, please use the measure numbers as they are in the score when referring to specific measures to avoid confusion (mostly mine!)

Week 4

In preparation for next week's introduction to Schenkerian analysis, we will


Even in a solo line, there is still harmony implied. 

We generally think of a melody as being linear - one note after another.  In the example below, there is no vertical dimension (chords in a stack), but there is harmony, nonetheless.  Also, each note in the melody is either a chord tone or a non-chord tone (non-harmonic tone).  Any note that is not part of the chord can be explained.

Please look at the example and explanation in the next section:






No graded discussion this week.  If you have insights or questions about this week's material, post in "Ask Dr. J."  Feel free to reply there.  You can also discuss off-topics in the Watercooler forum.


Assignment 4:

The partita we will pick apart is the Solo Flute Partita of J.S. Bach.  Actually, you only have to pick apart the first 16 measures of one movement.  Here is a link to the "Sarabande" from this partita.  Download this score for analysis.  Here is a link to the score as a Finale file if you wish to analyze it in that format.

Listen to this piece performed by 2 or 3 performers on YouTube.  Play through it yourself on the piano to hear it more slowly. 

  1. Write an introductory (very brief) paragraph
  2. Analyze the first 16 measures of this piece on the score (See the example below: Bach Prelude for Cello).  Include:

    A.  Roman numeral analysis

    B.  Non-harmonic tones.  See last week's lecture material for non-harmonic tone definitions and abbreviations.

    C.  Phrasing

    D.  Melodic motivic material

    E.  Cadences

    F.  Modulation

  3. Put the score analysis in the body of your paper (not in a separate document).
  4. Then write a general analysis (not a chronological or "blow by blow" analysis - the kind where every sentence could begin with "then")  In this essay, make some comments based upon your findings after analyzing the piece.  What was unusual?  What elements particularly contributed to the musicality of the piece/interest within the piece/performance possibilities for the flutist?
  5. Use a concluding paragraph
  6. Follow APA guidelines including using a cover sheet, running head, etc.

Review Writing for the appropriate guidelines and APA Style for formatting.

I will give you extra credit for an analysis that is not hand drawn.  I put together the example below in a short time with this process:

  1. Using the Snipping Tool in Word, I copied the score and put it on a Word doc.
  2. Using the "Insert" tab, Insert - Shape to make a circle, then make it red. 
    Copy that and paste as many times as you need circles.
  3. Insert - Text Box.  Type NT in it and copy as many times as you need it.  Change NT to PT or whatever you need for the different non-harmonic tones.
  4. Type harmonic analysis underneath.

This is not required for this assignment.  However, for your final project, there can be nothing hand-written, so this would be good practice. 


Look at the example below of the first few measures of  the "Prelude" from Bach's Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major.

It is also interesting to analyze linear melodic content on different levels.  In the example above, you could see the highest note of each figure (comprised of 8 16th notes) as a melody in itself:

B - B - C - C - C - C - B - B - B - G - A - A

You might disagree with me about which notes should belong in the melody in measures 5 and 6, but if you play through the piece or listen carefully, I think you can agree that there are different melodic levels.  Keep that in mind when you analyze the "Sarabande" this week.


Week 5

This week will be a very short study in Schenkerian analysis.  Feel free to draw upon resources other than those provided to enhance your understanding of this form of analysis.


Schenkerian Analysis


Here are some of my basic principles of Schenkerian Analysis for this course and for your Schenkerian analysis assignment:



The graph is not an end in itself and I am less concerned with the nuances of the graph than with the understanding of the structure and that you can convey to me what you are hearing in the music.



That being said, neatness really counts!  If your final product looks like a scratch copy, copy it again neatly.  Better yet, score it in Finale or Sibelius for extra credit.


bullet Each level should strip away more material.  Your Foreground has the most, the Middle ground has less, and the Background is the most stripped down of all.



There can be different interpretations of a piece using Schenkerian analysis.  You are not looking for one right answer.



Always let your ear be your guide.  After all, in the final analysis, music is to be heard.  Schenkerian analysis just helps us to better understand what we are hearing or performing.


Discussion 3: 


Read the document linked below and comment on the author's general view of analysis.  Then comment on his view of Schenkerian analysis.  Do you agree or disagree?  Explain your view. 


Remember that these should be essays, not short answers.  Make your case fully and completely, supported by your understanding of the issues and content, and not just by your opinion.


What Does Music Analysis Tell Us?


See the rubric in the Discussion section for point values.  The sooner you post your original answer, the more points you get.  The deadline for all responses is Saturday at midnight.


Assignment 5:

Print out and analyze the following piece:

Schubert's Waltz, Op. 18, No. 10

Here is a link to a YouTube performance of this piece (scroll to 5:27 for the beginning of this short waltz)

Produce Schenkerian graphs of it, one of the foreground, one middleground, and one background. 

Defend your interpretation in a 3-5 page paper (APA style). Your paper must answer the following questions: 1) which musical features support your graph; 2) why the work is in its particular form; 3) trace an interesting (unusual) feature of the work, such as a motive, a texture, or something else and show its interaction with the Schenkerian structure. Do not include your graphs as separate documents when you submit.  You can either include the 3 graphs in the context of the paper as you are discussing the three levels of analysis or you can include the graphs at the end of your paper.

Review Writing for the appropriate guidelines and APA Style for formatting.

Assignment Template

This would be a great time to try Turnitin.  See Turnitin instructions on the Final Project page.  I will not check this report, but it will be great practice to avoid surprises on your final project. (I would hate for you to submit your final project to Turnitin at the last minute, only to find out that you have used material incorrectly and then not have time to fix it before the deadline!)  Use this opportunity to give Turnitin a test drive to avoid problems later!

Week 6

The analytical technique for this week focuses on Improvisation

Improvisation Analysis


If we had more time, we would try these out by having you improvise and record using your own instrument or voice.  Anyone interested in pursuing this type of analytical technique might consider it for your final project.

Final Project Information

Next week, you will choose the piece for your final project and will post the score and/or a link to an audio or video recording for your classmates to see/hear.  This will be part of the discussion forum.  This is a 'heads up' so you can give it some thought and track down those resources. 



Discussion 4: 


Read Chapter 6 (beginning on p. 187) of this document:


Exploring Improvisation and Its Implications for Music Education


Answer the following questions:

  1. Do you agree with his philosophy of teaching improvisation?  Why or why not?

  2. What did you find interesting about his description?

  3. Could you use any of his teaching methods or curricular ideas in your own teaching?  If so, what?  If not, why not?

See the rubric in the Discussion section for point values.  The sooner you post your original answer, the more points you get.  The deadline for all responses is Saturday at midnight.


Assignment 6:

Download the Memories of Tomorrow lead sheet.  Analyze the song to see what compositional elements are present to make improvisational decisions.  Indicate on the score:

  • what scales you would use to improvise
  • which notes are guide tones or are included in guide lines
  • indicate which scales could be treated as common scales by placing a bracket around those groups

My suggestion would be to indicate the scale chosen for a chord between the 2 staves.

Indicate guide tones in the blank staff.

Place a bracket indicating common scales just below the blank staff.


It will be helpful to you to write out the scales to find which adjacent ones are common scales.  You may indicate that on the staff also if you like.

The chord in the second measure of the piece is A - C - E - G#.  Please don't be confused by the natural sign.

Here is a really annoying recording of the song:  Memories of Tomorrow

I would suggest you also listen to some other versions on YouTube for more authenticity!


Week 7Final Project

Review Writing a Readable Analysis Paper

This week and next, you will work on your final project. 

Your paper is due on Tuesday, May 7.  Week 8 is very short, so plan for it!

Final Project

Read the article below:

How to Write about Music



Discussion 5: 


For this discussion, please choose the piece that you intend to use for your final project. 

  • Post the title and link the score and/or an audio or video performance of the piece. If you have the score, you can scan it and upload it as a pdf.  A YouTube performance will be fine.  If you run into difficulty, let me know.

  • In your original post, explain to your classmates the process you will use for analysis - what technique(s) you will use, what will be included in your analysis.  Be specific!

  • After looking at the score and/or listening to pieces and reading the plan outlined by your classmates, offer your own suggestions for analysis for your responses.  What else could they include?  How else could they discover the inner workings of the chosen piece?  How would you do it if you had chosen that piece?  Be as specific and complete as possible with your suggestions.  Note:  Do not just chat about the piece (my band played that/that's a great performance, etc.).  Your grade will depend upon your specific suggestions for analysis.  Responses to others about your own piece will not be counted here.  Full credit will be given for 3 responses to separate classmates that include useful suggestions toward their projects.

See the rubric in the Discussion section for point values.  The sooner you post your original answer, the more points you get.  The deadline for all responses is Saturday at midnight.




No assignment due this week - work on your Final project


Week 8

Continue working on Final Project

Note:  This assignment is due on Tuesday at midnight, not Saturday, so plan ahead!

Assignment:  Final project


Don't forget that you must submit your paper in Turnitin (see instructions on the Final Project page) before you submit it in Blackboard.  I will not grade any papers until they have been submitted through Turnitin.


Submit your paper in Blackboard under the assignment named "Final Project" by midnight on Tuesday, May 7.





When you have received a grade on your Final Project (check Blackboard), you are done! 

Until then, check back to make sure that no revision and resubmission is necessary.

When you get that grade, congratulations!  You made it through Analytical Techniques!!


Blackboard/Computer Configuration


Be sure and configure your computer BEFORE you need to submit an assignment. 


Do not try to use dial-up access for  links and streaming audio.


For tech problems and questions, call 254/968-1960.  Toll free number is 1-866-744-8900 (Option 3).

Your student fees pay for this service, so CALL THEM!  Post the number by your computer and utilize these experts.  They can remote into your  computer if need be.  Don't be frustrated.  Call them.





Assignment Submission


Submit assignments as  specified in the Course Outline.  Do not try to submit any document without saving it first.  Be sure and save it to a folder where you can retrieve it later.  Sometimes resubmissions are necessary.


Save the document as Assignment1_YourName.doc (substituting the correct week and correct assignment number and using your own name :-)


Use a heading at the top of the page of every assignment which includes your name and the assignment number.  When submitting papers specified to be in APA format, a cover sheet should be included.


Occasionally your assignments may be returned to you for a redo or for revisions.  Make your corrections and resubmit through the Assignment section as before.


 Here's the step-by-step process to submit a Word document assignment:
  1. Click on the ‘Assignments’ tab in the menu to your left.
  2. Click on ‘Assignment 1’
  3. Under ‘Submission,’ click on ‘Add attachments’
  4. Click on ‘Computer’ (it may take a minute to load so that you can see it)
  5. Navigate to wherever you have your file saved and click on that
  6. Click on ‘Open’
  7. It will then be attached and will take you back to the Assignment page. You should see the name of your file just above the ‘Add Attachments’ button.
  8. You can add a comment if you like, but it isn’t required.
  9. Click on ‘Submit’ and you are done.

Created and maintained by Vicky V. Johnson