Advanced Style Analysis: Music 530B

Winter 2000

Irene Girton, Instructor

T 6:10-10:00p, room 151

  • Office hours: Music 215, TBA

Contact information:


Required texts:

Forney, Kristine, ed. The Norton Scores: An Anthology for Listening. Vol. II: From Schubert to the Present. 8th ed. W. W. Norton. ISBN: 0-393-97347-6 (est. cost: $40).

Meyer, Leonard. Style and Music: Theory, History, and Ideology. University of Chicago Press, 1996.

McClary, Susan. Feminine Endings: Music, gender, and sexuality. University of Minnesota Press, 1991. ISBN 0816618992 (est. cost:: $18).

Optional texts:


Cost estimations based on pre-shipping costs from See also for excellent prices.

Grade Policy:




written homework:






final project:




Homework is due at the beginning of the designated class period, and will be graded on a scale from 0 to 10. Assignments receiving a grade lower than 8.0 can be resubmitted once. Be sure you have read and understood the University policy concerning plagiarism and cheating (General Catalog 1999-2001, pp 97-98). Cheating of any kind will not be tolerated.

At the end of each class period, you should summarize for yourself the main points of the lectures and discussions, as well as any unanswered questions you still have.


week 1, Mar 28

What is style analysis? Objective and subjective models.

week 2, Apr 4

What is genre? The symphony. Meyer, Part III: 19th century music.

week 3, Apr 11

Other genres -- voice and.... Sonata. McClary, "Introduction."

week 4, Apr 18

Program music.

week 5, Apr 25

Art song.

week 6, May 2

"Character" pieces for piano and other instruments. Gender as a compositional determinant.

week 7, May 9

Opera. McClary on Carmen.

week 8, May 16

Art song again.

week 9, May 23

Conventional models for 20th-century music. McClary on "Jack and the Beanstalk."

week 10, May 30

End notes. Performance art. McClary on Laurie Anderson.

Final project due: No later than Tuesday, June 6, 6pm.


week 2

Reading: LaRue handout; Meyer, Part III, pp 161-167.

Be ready to discuss Brahms, Symphony 3, 4th movement.

week 3

Reading: Meyer, pp 183-205.

Analysis: Discuss the concept of organicism (Meyer 189-200) with respect to Mahler's Das Lied…, 3rd movement. Be specific in your comments, and include a xerox of the score with annotations.

week 4

Reading: McClary, "Introduction: A material girl in Bluebeard’s castle."

Be ready to discuss Smetana's The Moldau.

week 5

Analysis: Berlioz Symphonie fantastique. 1) What characteristics does this "Symphonie" share with the abstract orchestral music of the classical period? 2) How does it differ?

week 6

Analysis: Schubert, Erlkönig. Consider the many ways in which Schubert maintains both a continuous and coherent forward momentum, while differentiating between the several characters active in the song. Turn in a copy of your score with comments attached.

weeks 6-7

Reading: Cone, "Three ways of reading a detective story.…," on reserve in Mullins.

Analysis: Chopin Polonaise in A-flat major, op. 53. Using objective style analysis, describe the piece’s formal structure, commenting on the stylistic differences between sections.

Begin working on outline and/or first draft for final project.

week 8

Reading: McClary, "Sexual politics in classical music."

Analysis in class: Schoenberg Klavierstück op33a. Do a set-form analysis of this piece. We will discuss the interaction between melody and harmony, and will comment on the general outlines of sonata form. How does Schoenberg’s manipulation of the 12-tone set articulate this form?

Analysis to turn in: Construct a 12-tone matrix for Webern’s Symphonie, op. 21, 2nd movement. Use the clarinet part (which is in C) to determine the row’s prime form.

Outline and/or first draft of final project due.

week 9

Reading: Meyer, pp 218-241, and McClary, "Getting down off the beanstalk..."

In-class analysis: Be prepared to discuss Debussy, Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune. (a) Do as detailed a formal map as you wish, showing principal thematic and formal divisions. Then be ready to discuss Debussy's formal plan, and how the various musical elements (SHMR) articulate that plan.

week 10

Reading: McClary, "This is not a story my people tell..."

Analysis: Construct a list of semiotic codes for musical representations of gender, mood, and place in Reich's Check It Out or Bernstein's West Side Story "Mambo" excerpt.

5-minute presentation on your final project.

Music 530B final project, due Tuesday, June 6, 6pm

Choose one of the following questions and type your conclusions. Be sure to submit your annotated score. If you use any sources, be sure to attribute them properly (footnotes/endnotes, bibliography).

1. "Analysts of my music will have to realize how much I personally owe to Mozart. People who looked unbelievingly at me, thinking I made a poor joke, will now understand why I called myself a ‘pupil of Mozart’, must now understand my reasons. This will not help them to appreciate my music, but to understand Mozart. And it will teach young composers what are the essentials that one has to learn from masters and the way one can apply these lessons without loss of personality." Arnold Schoenberg, "Brahms the Progressive," in Style and Idea (p414).

What "Mozartian" characteristics do you perceive in Schoenberg’s Klavierstück op. 11 #1 (score to be provided)? To respond, first provide a brief description of some of Mozart’s most salient stylistic characteristics (think in terms of his treatment of thematic material, texture, rhythm, harmony, etc., in the service of his musical forms). Then do an analysis of Schoenberg’s piece, revealing stylistic relationships to Mozart. It will help to know that Schoenberg regarded Mozart as "above all, a dramatic composer." This accounts, in part, for his penchant for phrase groupings which deviate from regularity and symmetry (running contrary to the popular misconception about the predictability of Classical phrase structure).

2. For some composers, songs are approached as "musical statements about a poem," while for others, the compositional and expressive problems are approached from the opposite direction, with the music serving the text above all. Each of the songs listed below expresses its text quite differently. Discuss each composer’s stylistic choices vis-a-vis his musical treatment of the text. Is the accompaniment organically intertwined with the text (i.e., a "musical statement about a poem)? or is it supportive (in the service of the text)?

A 19th-century German Lied of your choice

- and -

Rodgers, Richard. My Funny Valentine, NS/II, p730,

- and -

Crumb, George. Ancient Voices of Children, 1st movement (El niño busca su voz), NS/II, p837.

Other choices are possible; discuss with me first.

3. Do a comparison between opera (see McClary) and the contemporary music video as gendered musical discourse. If classical music can be said to possess a language of signs -- a semiotics -- which can be used to decode musical meaning, can a comparable semiotics be formulated for contemporary popular music? If so, is there any intersection between these two generically different art forms? Do the signs used in classical music to suggest sexuality and/or specific gender-based behavior show up in popular music, or are they different?

Use Wagner’s Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde (score to be provided), and the music video(s) of your choice, to support your discussion.


Copyright © 2001 Irene Girton