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Voice-leading analysis of music 1: the foreground

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This free course, Voice-leading analysis of music 1: the foreground, introduces 'voice-leading' or 'Schenkerian' analysis, perhaps the most widely used and discussed method of analysing tonal music. In this course, this method is explained through the analysis of piano sonatas by Mozart. The course is the first in the AA314 series of three courses on this form of harmonic analysis, and concentrates on the 'foreground level' of voice leading. As you work through this course, you will become familiar with five complete movements of Mozart's piano sonatas, as well as shorter extracts from some of his other sonatas.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • recognise an analytical methodology known as 'voice leading analysis'
  • recognise five complete movements from Mozart’s piano sonatas, and be familiar with brief extracts from other sonatas by Mozart
  • recognise some defining features of Mozart's harmonic style
  • understand the principles of the simplest level of voice-leading analysis
  • express musical observations by means of the notation developed within this system of analysis.

By: The Open University

  • Duration 20 hours
  • Updated Friday 5th February 2016
  • Advanced level
  • Posted under Music
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Voice-leading analysis of music 1: the foreground


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This course introduces ‘voice-leading’ or ‘Schenkerian’ analysis. You will study this technique by exploring harmonic structure in piano sonatas by Mozart. This course will concentrate mainly on the examination of short extracts from these sonatas. Certain specialist analytical terms are glossed at the end of this free course, and these words are emboldened where they are first discussed.

The materials upon which this course is based have been jointly authored by Robert Samuels and Howard Wilde.

This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 3 study in Arts and Humanities [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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