[skip to content]

Department of Music

Introduction to Music Analysis

Course Code:
155800070
Unit value:
0.5
Taught in:
Term 1

This course will introduce techniques of musical analysis and transcription, and a range of associated terms and concepts used in ethnomusicology. A number of exercises will be completed during the year, some of which will be assessed as coursework. The course will develop three complementary skills: 

  1. aural analysis - how to analyse aspects of musical style by ear, without reference to written notation; 
  2. transcription - how to make a written representation of musical performance; 
  3. and structural analysis - how to analyse the structure
    of music using notation as a reference. 

Students will require a good working knowledge of music theory and notation, and good aural skills. Proficiency in these areas will be developed through the use of computer software in Term 1 and tested in an examination at the beginning of Term 2.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

This course will introduce techniques of musical analysis and transcription, and a range of associated terms and concepts used in ethnomusicology. A number of exercises will be completed during the year, some of which will be assessed as coursework. These will introduce a variety of musical genres and styles from different cultures, and a range of analytical and notational challenges.

Three complementary skills will be introduced:

  1. Aural analysis: how to analyse aspects of musical style by ear, without reference to written notation.
  2. Transcription: how to make a written representation of musical performance.
  3. Structural analysis: how to analyse the structure of music using notation as a reference.

On this course students will:

  • develop their powers of aural perception;
  • experience a range of musical styles and structures from around the world;
  • learn to analyse and compare different styles of music, using appropriate terms and concepts commonly used in ethnomusicology;
  • gain experience in written transcription and analysis of a variety of musical styles using a variety of techniques.

Workload

1 hour per week over 2 terms.

Scope and syllabus

Term 1:
  • introduction to MacGamut or other appropriate aural training software; 
  • individual students work on aural skills, notation and theory as necessary, in own time (continues throughout Term 1); 3 surgery sessions for students in need of assistance, taken by a TA; 
  • introduction to on-line resources, including Blackboard, Glossary of Musical Terms and Smithsonian Global Sound; 
  • aural analysis (classes and coursework), with reference to topics such as: speech & song, texture (mono/hetero/polyphony and varieties) form, rhythm & metre, scale.
Term 2:
  • exam (50 minutes, week 1): aural skills, notation and theory; •introduction to transcription (classes and coursework); 
  • introduction to structural analysis (classes and coursework).
Term 3:
  • exam: transcription and analysis (90 min).

Method of assessment

One practical Exam worth 45%
One aural Exam worth 25%
Three items of course work worth 10% each