Monday, April 24, 2017

Assignment for Wednesday, April 26

As we discussed in class today, please analyze the fourth movement of Mahler 2, from the beginning (which we did in class) up to rehearsal 3. You can just write Roman numerals on your score; I will go around the room to check your work.

Also, please compare this passage with the bar before rehearsal 6 and rehearsal 6 itself (two bars); the harmony is different in a unique and interesting way. At rehearsal 6, why does the cello part have B double flat and A double flat?

Mahler 2 - analysis of first movement

If you're interested, here is my motivic analysis of the first movement of Mahler's Symphony No. 2; this is in the new notation software Dorico, I'm pretty happy with it!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Mahler 2: two performances

Here are two remarkable conductors and orchestras. Claudio Abbado, with Lucerne Festival Orchestra, 2003:

and Simon Rattle, with City of Birmingham Symphony, 1998:

The sound quality is a little better for the first one, but they are both wonderful!

Mahler on Khan Academy

Here is an excellent video presentation from Khan Academy of the first movement of Mahler 2, presented by conductor Gerard Schwartz. I don't agree with all of his formal analysis, but it's great to see this combination of commentary, score following, and live performance. This would be an amazing video final project, but I think it would be pretty difficult to do!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Liszt sonata - complete form sketch

Here is a sketch of a complete formal breakdown of the Liszt, to spur discussion of the larger form.

m. 1 motive X - g minor
m. 8 motive a - b minor? (Leslie Howard says the Exposition starts here; double bar)
m. 14 motive b - definitely b minor
m. 18 sequences, building higher and higher
m. 25 return of a (Eb major)
m. 30 motive b - cadential 6-4 in b minor
m. 32 - Main theme (combining motives a and b)
m. 36 - repeat, iv
m. 40 fragmentation
m. 45 sequence, starting in Eb minor
m. 47 (F major)
m. 49 (Ab major)
m. 51 further fragmented
m. 54 seq is now just one beat
m. 55 motive a, Bb major, in canon
m. 67 repeat, now in Eb major
m. 71 the octave thing (ends w/ dim. 7)
m. 82 X - now on A (dominant of D major) - standing on the dom.
m. 93 scale motive in diminution
m.  105 motive c, D major, Grandioso
m. 120 motive a - recapitulatory, but now soft, transitional
Development? Second Group?
m. 125 motive a, now radically transformed into a lyrical theme - F major, period
m. 141 motive b, transition
m. 153 motive b, now radically transformed into another lyrical theme - D major, sentence
m. 171 motive b, variation
m. 179 motive a, with scale motive in R.H. - 4-bar sequence, rising 3x
[is this a sequence, or a repeat of a larger block?]
m. 191 motive b, 2-bar sequence
m. 197 motive a, very slow - F# major - RH trill; repeats in Eb major
Closing section?
m. 205 Triumphant motive a - C major (rising scale in LH)
m. 209 Rising scale - augmentation of preceding LH triplets
m. 213 Sequence - B major [again, is this a sequence or a repeat of a larger block?]
m. 221 new sequence - motive A, Bb minor, 3x - no longer triumphant; developmental
3rd x (m 225) is B dim7 - fragmentation
m. 239 motive a - D major, vivamente; (scherzando, light, upper register)
m. 247 - repeat; harmonically different
m. 255 - motive b, b minor (!); sequence with fragmentation
m. 263 - repeat
m. 270 - ultra fragmentation
m. 277 - motive X, followed by Scale
m. 297 - motive c, C# minor
m. 301 - recitativo V/C# minor
m. 302 - F minor
m. 303 - recitativo
m. 307 - new material
m. 309 - ascending dim 7 chords (octatonic scale)
m. 310 - motive b and ascending dim 7 chords
m. 315 - motive a fragmented
m. 319 - motive a (augmented) w/ motive b underneath
m. 334 - F# major, Chorale
m. 349 - motive b (sentence)
m. 363 - motive c (F# major)
m. 376 - motive c (g minor)
m. 385 & 389 - Motive a (common tone)
m. 394-396 - Ger aug. 6th
m. 397 - F# major (m. 334)
m. 441-433 - cadential
m. 433 - motive b (F# major)
THIRD MOVEMENT?? or recap?
m. 454 - recap, motive X + scale
m. 460 - motive a, fugue
m. 509 - dotted figure (motive A variation) LH inverted motive a
m. 523 - amplified m. 25
m. 533 - Recapitulation proper
m. 537 ( = m. 36, iv)
m. 541 ( = m. 40, fragmentation)
m. 546 ( = m. 45, Eb minor)
m. 555 X - in chords, not single octaves, with figuration (8th notes) from motive c
- sequence, 3x - Eb maj, E min, Fr. aug. 6th
m. 569 motive a, on the dominant, followed by Scale; sequence, 3x - climbing higher and higher
m. 582 - standing on the dominant, motive a, diminution; sequence -  climbing higher and higher
m. 590 - V9 - return of the octave thing
m. 595 - motive b - with silence! 3x
m. 600 - motive c - now in tonic, B major
m. 615 - transition - cresc. on whole note (!)
m. 616 - transformation (augmentation) of motive b, still in B major ( = m. 153)
m. 634 - variation ( = m. 171) - now the figuration is in 16ths instead of triplets
m. 642 - motive a, with scale motive in R.H. ( = m. 179)
m. 650 - motive b "stretta quasi Presto" ( = m. 255)
m. 665 - ultra fragmentation
m. 682 - motive a, diminution - apotheosis of B major
m. 690 - repeat, now with melody in LH
m. 711 - return of slow movement, now in B major (is this the start of the Coda?)
m. 729 ( = m. 319) - motive b in bass
m. 737 motive a
m. 748 - motive X, with scale
(760 bars total)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Theory journals

Daniel Edwards asks an excellent question regarding theory journals to search for good articles about your subject. Here are some that I have found useful:

Music Theory Online - convenient, because it's a web journal
Music Theory Spectrum - also on JSTOR
Journal of Music Theory - also on JSTOR
19th Century Music - on JSTOR; a little more on the musicological side but lots of good stuff here

These four are probably the most prominent; but there are others, and excellent work can be found in all of them.

In Theory Only - University of Michigan graduate student journal, no longer published
Indiana Theory Review - from Indiana University
Intégral - from Eastman

Don't forget to ask your friendly reference librarian for help!

Leslie Howard on the Liszt Sonata

Here is the video Zhi Ru and I were talking about in class today; an informed and opinionated discussion (in other words, what I want for your final project) of Liszt's Sonata by Leslie Howard. Very interesting!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Liszt Sonata - analysis

1 x, g minor (Phrygian)
5 x, g harmonic minor (raised 4th)
8 x', motive a - B minor, vii°
14 motive b
18 sequential, cresc. (3x, extension on the 3rd x)
25 motive a, ff
30 motive b, cadential 6/4
32 motive a (RH), motive b (LH)
36 (repeat on iv)
40 ctd7 on e, then ctd7 on b
45 sequence, rising (sim. to 18)
55 motive a, Bb major, in canon
61 '', g minor
67 ", Eb major
73, brilliant octave passage
81 x, V of D
105, Grandioso, motive C (chorale) D major
120 a (p), b minor (but it's going to modulate to....
125 F major, motive a, dolce con grazia (radical transformation of character)
141 motive b, key=?
153 motive b, D major (radical transformation of character) cantando express.
171 motive b reprise, D major
179 motive a, fragment (E min/Bb maj), sequence
191 motive b, fragment and sequence
197 motive a, cad. 6/4, F# major; repeats in Eb major (little cadenza)
205 motive a, C major, big arrival point, ff; repeat in B major
221 motive a in LH, fragmented; big sequence, evaporates into:
239 motive a, scherzando, D major; repeats 8vb
255 incalzando; motive b fragment (V of B minor; sequences)
277 motive x, g minor; scale motive; sequence
297 motive c, 3/2, C# minor
301 Recitativo
302 motive c, F minor; another recitativo
SLOW MOVEMENT - development????
334 motive d, F# major

Assignment for Wednesday, April 5

Please listen to the Liszt B minor sonata, if you haven't done so already, and number all the bars in your Dover score. For Wednesday, as a comment to this post, please give a short answer (two or three sentences) about the form of the piece, which is famously controversial. The comment to the video below (Krystian Zimerman's recording) is illuminating, and gives us all a good starting point.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Assignment for Wednesday, March 29

For Tristan, I would like us to make a chart of the form of the Prelude; we will start it today in class. For Wednesday, please read the introductory essays in Robert Bailey's critical edition, up to page 48, and if you have a chance, get started on Bailey's analysis, pages 113-146. There is some good stuff here on third relations, similar to Cohn's hexatonic article. I'll ask you to turn in your form chart of the Prelude on Friday.

Wagner, Prelude and Transfiguration from Tristan and Isolde. 
Christian Thielemann, Vienna Philharmonic.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Spring break assignment: Bruckner and Tchaikovsky

As I've said in class, I am out of town next week conducting at the Arizona Chamber Music Festival - sorry I have to miss class!

In the meantime I'm giving you a couple of projects I've used for exams (both in class and take-home) in the past, on music by Bruckner and Tchaikovsky. Extra copies are in an envelope next to my office door if you weren't able to be in class today. Recordings below - but it's worth it to hear the whole Tchaik 5 if you don't know the piece!

Please email me if you run into trouble, and I will see you all after spring break. After the break we are on Wagner, Prelude and Transfiguration from Tristan. For this piece you need the Norton Critical Edition, as listed in the syllabus; please get the book, and start reading the introductory material on the genesis of the opera - it is quite the soap opera, no pun intended!

Bruckner, Christus Factus Est (with score)

Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 5 second movement;
London Symphony/Igor Markevitch

Tchaikovsky (with score), NY Phil/Bernstein

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Assignment for Wednesday, March 8

As I mentioned in class, please "Das verlassene Mädchen" by Hugo Wolf: this is probably enough for us to worry about, so I will present the other song in class, if there's time.

Please be prepared to hand in the Wolf - I *might* collect it, but I might not (sorry)!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Assignment for Monday, March 6

Please forgive me for not posting this earlier; tomorrow in class we will be looking at Scott Joplin's rag Solace. We will just go over the piece together, I won't ask you to hand it in or anything. Here is a  beautiful performance by Phillip Dyson. Right around 2:40 begins the most famous part of the piece, which appeared in the 1973 movie The Sting (and the video game Bioshock).

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Assignment for Friday, March 3; Brahms Intermezzi

Please choose one of the two pieces below to analyze:

Brahms Intermezzo in A major, Op. 76 No. 6

Brahms Intermezzo in B minor, Op. 119 No. 1

Try to find out a little about your chosen piece; when Brahms wrote it, what he was up to at the time, etc. Analyze as best you can with Roman numerals, but again, he is doing lots of weird stuff in these pieces. If there isn't a good Roman numeral, then try to describe what is happening as best you can, either with words, diagrams, etc. Be prepared to hand in your piece.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Assignment for Wednesday, March 1: Brahms Lieder

We are bumping up our schedule, so we have to leave the Chopin preludes unfortunately, and move to the wonderful composer Johannes Brahms. Look up his dates, and start assembling a chronology in your head of 19th-century composers. How do Brahms and Chopin compare? Brahms and Wagner, our next composer?

For Wednesday I would like us to analyze two of Brahms's lieder, "Wie Melodien zieht es mir" and "Meine Lieder." Please listen to both, and then choose one to analyze; as we did with Schubert and Schumann, find a translation and copy it into your printout. Analyze with Roman numerals, but look for "non-functional" passages: hexatonic cycles, chromatic progressions, etc. Please have your piece ready to hand in on Wednesday.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Assignment for Monday, February 27; Chopin continued

Let's continue with the Chopin Preludes; choose one or two from nos. 8-11, and be prepared to hand one of them in. I'm going to re-adjust the course schedule this weekend; we'll try to finish the Preludes quickly.

Also, please read these excerpts from Charles Rosen's wonderful book The Romantic Generation, on the Chopin Preludes. This is the kind of book that you can just dip into at random and learn something new; I highly recommend just browsing through it, looking for pieces you recognize. Or, you can also go to the index and look for your favorite composers & pieces - it's fun.

The entire book is available as an e-book from the Library:

Or you can download excerpts here:

Chapter 2, "Fragments" pt. 1 (p. 78-89)
Chapter 2, "Fragments" pt. 2 (p. 95-98)
Chapter 4, "Formal interlude" (p. 261-265)

One of the claims Rosen makes is that in 19th century music, "attention is deflected away from the bar and to the whole phrase as a unit." Does that ring true with your own experience? Please comment below; think of one example that might back up Rosen's claim, and one counter-example, from pieces that you already know.

Chopin Preludes, op. 28 - Ashkenazy

Assignment for Wednesday, February 22

Please choose one of Chopin's preludes no. 4, 5, or 6, and analyze it as best you can with Roman numerals; also write a sentence or two about the form of the piece (even though it's short). Be prepared to hand in your Prelude analysis.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Assignment for Monday, February 20

Please listen to the Chopin Preludes, op. 28, over the weekend. We'll be looking at the first three preludes on Monday; please try analyzing them, but you don't have to hand in anything for Monday. Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Assignment for Wednesday, February 8 - Berlioz

Sorry to be late with this - for tomorrow's class, please make an outline of the form of the first movement of the Berlioz Fantastic Symphony. Include at the minimum the following:

  • Introduction
  • Exposition:
    • first theme
    • second theme
  • Development
  • Recapitulation
    • (does it have first theme/second theme?)
  • Coda

And if you can, go into more detail, especially in the development, highlighting important sections.

Also, I have put some of the Norton Critical Score online here, a couple of essays on the piece's composition and premiere by the great Edward T. Cone. Please read this for tomorrow - I'm not going to test you on it, but it is fun reading and it will help you with the piece.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Berlioz, Symphonie Fantastique

Marriss Jansons with the London Proms, 2013

Chicago Symphony with Stéphane Denève

Assignment for Monday, February 6

I'm out of town for Wednesday and Friday this week; so in the meantime I'd like you to work on a larger project, chosen from one of the following:

  1. Compose your own song in the style of Schubert or Schumann, using a text that could have been set by them. You can set a poem already set by one of these composers, or something in another language (Shakespeare, Li Po, etc. - if you decide to compose in Chinese or Korean, please use pinyin or an alphabet that a non-speaker can read). Try to use some exciting harmonies, like Neapolitan and augmented 6th chords, appoggiatura chords, etc. that we have seen. The piano writing should be simple - something that we can play in class.
  2. Or, choose one of the Schwanengesang (any of the minor key songs) or Dichterliebe (songs 6, 9, 10, 12, 16)  to analyze; in addition to your Roman numeral analysis, please write a paragraph or two on the relation of the text to the music.

Have fun with this, especially if you compose a song! If you choose the analysis project, you can think of this as a dry run for your final project.

And finally - please get a score for Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, and listen to the entire piece - we start it next week.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Assignment for Monday, Jan. 30

If you haven't done so already, please listen to the entire Dichterliebe cycle (about a half hour). Also, please either print out or get from the library the score, so you have it for class. Then, read Berthold Hoeckner's article, "Paths through Dichterliebe" (19th-Century Music, 2006), available on JSTOR; we discussed part of it today in class.

Finally, I'd like you to consider the following quote from Hoeckner's article:

Since Schumann worried that the dissection of musical compositions would turn them into dead bodies, he sought to reconcile his respect for the living artwork with his keen interest in compositional structure. In his criticism, he combined analytical and poetic modes in order to remain close to the condition of making music. As the first major modern writer about music, Schumann knew that both hermeneutic analysis and performance involve feeling and understanding; that both strive to be captivating as well as plausible; and that interpretive conviction is more likely to persuade an audience than interpretive coercion.

What do you think this means? What is hermeneutic analysis, anyway? Do you agree with him? Please respond in a comment to this post. And don't forget to introduce yourself in the Course introductions post if you haven't already done so!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Assignment for Friday, January 27

Please analyze songs 2-5 in Dichterliebe, with Roman numerals; be prepared to hand in your choice of song 3, 4, or 5 on Friday. In other words, I'd like you to analyze all of them, but you only have to hand in one of them (but not 2, since it's so short).

Please write in a translation for the song you hand in, as well.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Assignment for Wednesday, January 25

Please listen to Schumann's Dichterliebe; here is a video with score, sung by the great Fritz Wunderlich. Also, find a translation for the first song, and think about the words. For Wednesday you don't need to analyze the music, but I would like to ask you: what is the key of the first song? We'll spend part of the day finishing the Schubert (and the Cohn article), but I also want to get started on the Schumann.

Update - here is the score.
Fritz Wunderlich, with Hubert Giesen (1965)

Ian Bostridge, with Julius Drake (1998)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Assignment for Monday, January 23

Please analyze Schwanengesang XIII, "Der Doppelgänger," I'm going to ask you to print this one yourselves, sorry for the inconvenience. As before, write in a translation - this song is one of Schubert's most emotionally intense. Harmonically, be on the lookout for augmented sixths, Neapolitans, etc. Lots of good stuff here.

I would also like you to read this article by Richard Cohn, "Maximally Smooth Cycles, Hexatonic Systems, and the Analysis of Late-Romantic Triadic Progressions" from Music Analysis, Vol. 15, No. 1. (Mar., 1996), pp. 9-40. This is a tough article with lots of math; but you can skip the math and still get the main point. It's a clear introduction to the hexatonic cycle, with some great examples from Brahms, Mahler, Wagner and others (not to mention some ingenious stuff about enharmonic spelling, which we've already encountered with Schubert).

If you have a question about the article please post it as a comment below, and I'll try to answer if I can (but you're not required to comment on this post).

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Assignment for Friday, Jan. 20

For Friday's class I'd like you to do two things:

1. In a comment to this post, please introduce yourself to the class. Say a few sentences about where you're from, what your major is, and what you're hoping to learn from this course. Any requests for repertoire?

2. Study Schubert's song "Am Meer," Schwanengesang no. 12. Research translations and write in your own, above the text; and analyze as much as you can with Roman numerals. Be on the lookout for non-chord tones, especially appoggiaturas. I will collect this on Friday.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The LiederNet Archive

Here is a good source of translations for Schubert lieder; try using this plus tools like Google Translate to figure out the words for these songs; the words are just as important as the music.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Schubert, "Ständchen" (Serenade) from Schwanengesang

Here are a couple of performances of Schubert's late song "Ständchen," the fourth song in his final collection Schwanengesang.

Christopher Maltman, with Philip Thomas (1997)

The incredible singer Nana Mouskouri