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Voice-leading analysis of music 3: the background

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The music of Mozart has been used to examine the foreground and middleground of harmony in free courses AA314_1 and AA314_2. In this free course, Voice-leading analysis of music 3: the background, you will use Beethoven's Eighth Symphony to consider the largest-scale stage of voice-leading analysis.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • describe the nature of the background structure of a piece of tonal music
  • understand the difference between analysis which is definitely right or wrong and that which is dependent on individual judgement
  • relate the notes of a background graph and the indications of bar numbers to specific events in the musical score
  • understand the sorts of decisions and observations that go towards analysing the background structure of a piece of music
  • recognise the analytical statements about the various parts of a piece of music that are contained in a background graph.

By: The Open University

  • Duration 20 hours
  • Updated Monday 8th February 2016
  • Advanced level
  • Posted under Music
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Voice-leading analysis of music 3: the background

Introduction

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This course analyses the ‘voice leading’ of the harmony. The method of going about this kind of analysis is applicable to any piece of tonal music. Just as Mozart's piano sonatas are an excellent source of examples for studying the voice leading at the foreground and middleground of the harmony, so Beethoven's Eighth Symphony is also an ideal work in which to start to consider the largest-scale stage of voice-leading analysis.

This course requires you to switch between several different formats of material. This reflects the particular nature of analysis, where you are constantly comparing what you write out, or see in the score or analytical graph, with what you can hear – a difficult job! So make every effort to work through these materials in the manner and order suggested.

Please note that you should have studied OpenLearn courses AA314_1 Voice-leading analysis of music 1: the foreground [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] and AA314_2 Voice-leading analysis of music 2: the middleground before attempting this course.

This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 3 study in Arts and Humanities.

The materials upon which this course is based have been authored by Robert Samuels.

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