The purpose of musical analysis is to understand the underlying structure of the works which we consider to be beautiful and worthwhile in their own right. Some aspects of this structure have been consciously planned by the composer but others, often remarkable instances of hidden structure, occur subconsciously.
A starting point for analysis will usually be a simple description of the work's obvious features, whether it falls into several movements, how the themes are disposed within the movements and so on. This course’s analysis introduces works from the Romantic and Modern periods. Studying one work each week, we will take a range of approaches to seek a deeper understanding of the music’s structure and the composers’ creative choices – to include Roman numeral notation, motivic (after the analysts Leonard B. Meyer and Rudolph Reti) and the basic concepts of Heinrich Schenker's analytical method.
No prior knowledge of musical theory is required, but a knowledge of basic musical notation will be helpful.