MUSI 8303: Doctoral Seminar in Music Theory

Dr. Tim Koozin

Spring 2016

office: MSM 148  

phone: (713)743-3318

Friday 9:00 - 12:00, MSM 114


web page:

Course Description:  Through study of musical works and readings, the course explores how analytical perspectives may enrich and inform approaches to the performance of music. We will ask ourselves what uses music theory has for the performer, performer-teacher, and composer. Class meetings will take the form of a seminar (without formal lectures). Preparation and readiness to contribute in each class discussion is the student’s responsibility.

Required readings are available through Blackboard

Grading and Policies

  Presentations, class discussion, short assignments  40%  
  Short papers (2 x 15%)  30%  
  Term paper 30%  

Schedule  (subject to change)

  4 weeks   Schenkerian analysis and phrase rhythm   Cone, Rothstein, Beach, and others  
  4 weeks   Semiotic approaches to tonal repertoire Hatten, Agawu, Meyer, and others  
  4 weeks   Post-tonal analysis; popular music Straus and others  
  2 weeks   Synthesis    

I. Rhythm and Linear Analysis in Tonal Music

Edward T. Cone. Musical Form and Musical Performance, Ch 1. (Blackboard)

William Rothstein. Phrase Rhythm in Tonal Music, Ch 1 and 2. (Blackboard)

What questions do the authors pose concerning rhythm and meter? Be prepared to discuss their basic premises, terms, and methodology. What do the readings reveal about the authors?

Many pieces are discussed in the readings. Listen and study a score for any works you are less familiar with.

II. Schenkerian Analysis and Musical Form

Cadwallader and Gagné. Analysis of Tonal Music: A Schenkerian Approach, Ch 1 and 2 (Blackboard)

Assignment: Seven Variations on "God Save the King" (var. 1-5) (Blackboard)

Assignment: Suite II in D Minor for solo cello, Prelude (Blackboard)

The first movement of Beethoven's Op. 2, No. 1 is discussed in detail in chapter 1. Analyze the form of the full movement, using the terms of Hepokoski and Darcy. Be ready to discuss the piece in terms of form, structure, and phrase rhythm.

Be sure you have studied chapter 2. How are Schenker's ideas on melodic organization related to principles of species counterpoint?

Schenker. Selections from Five Graphic Music Analyses (Blackboard)

David Beach. Selections from Advanced Schenkerian Analysis (Blackboard)

(1) Be ready to discuss every graphic example in Beach's chapter 1, using the Schenkerian terminology Beach introduces in the chapter.

(2) Study Beach's chapter 10 and select one song he discusses. Prepare a 10-minute presentation for the class, in which you explain and interpret what Beach offers on the song, adding your own observations on treatment of the text, structure, and harmony in the song. Write up an outline and some notes on the main points of your presentation to turn in.

James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy. Selections from Elements of Sonata Theory (e-Book)

More excursions in sonata form:

Nicholas Cook. A Guide to Musical Analysis. Ch 8, "Analyzing Music in Sonata Form" (Blackboard)

Joseph Straus. Remaking the Past, Ch 5, "Sonata Forms" (Blackboard)

III. Analysis and Performance: Rubato Studies, Rhythm in Jazz

Chapter 7. William Rothstein. Phrase Rhythm in Tonal Music. "Chopin: Nocturnes, Mazurkas, and Etudes" (Blackboard)

David Rowland. "Chopin's Tempo Rubato in Context" in Chopin Studies 2. John Rink and Jim Samson, eds, 2006. (Blackboard)

William Rothstein. "Like Falling off a Log: Rubato in Chopin's Prelude in A-flat Major, Op. 28 No. 17" Music Theory Online, 11/1 (March 2005)

Assignment: Prepare analytical comments on Chopin's Prelude in D flat major ("Raindrop"). Score is avalable through Blackboard. Draw upon three of the previously assigned readings. Your objective is to explain your analysis as an application of ideas gleaned from the assigned readings. Be prepared to offer a ten-minute presentation and turn in an outline of your analytical comments on March 25th.

Matthew W. Butterfield. 2006. "The Power of Anacrusis: Engendered Feeling in Groove-Based Musics." Music Theory Online 12/4.  Study Questions

Lori Burns. 2005.“Feeling the Style: Vocal Gesture and Musical Expression in Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, and Louis Armstrong.” Music Theory Online 11/3:  Study Questions

Henry Martin. 2012. "Charlie Parker and 'Honeysuckle Rose': Voice Leading, Formula, and Motive." Music Theory Online 18.3.6.  Study Questions


A short analytical paper, about 4-5 pages in length (accounts for 15% of the grade).

Your analysis should focus on a specific analytical topic that could illuminate the performance of a selected musical work. Choose a single movement for detailed study.

As you study the piece, hone in on a particular analytical issue that you believe has bearing on interpretation of the work.

Incorporate elements of the assigned readings and class discussion into your study. Analytical charts and graphs are encouraged.

For Friday, February 19: Select your piece.

For Friday, March 4: Paper due.

IV. Gesture, Metaphor, and Meaning in Tonal Music

  1. Some excellent readings on performance and analysis, but not required:

Charles Burkhart. "Departures from the Norm in two songs from Schumann's Liederkreis" in Schenker Studies, Cambridge University Press (1990) MT6.S457 1990. (Blackboard)

Charles Fisk. "Performance, Analysis, and Musical Imagining, Part I: Schumann's Arabesdque" College Music Symposium 36 (1996) p.59-72. (Blackboard)

Janet Schmallfeldt . “Coming Home” Music Theory Online, 10/1 (February 2004)


Marion A. Guck. "Analysis as Interpretation: Interaction, Intintionality, Invention" Music Theory Spectrum 28/2 (2006) p.191-210. (Blackboard)

  2. Gesture and Topic Theory:

  Leonard Ratner. Classic Music: Expression, Form, and Style; Chs 1 & 2 (Blackboard)

Chapter 1. Ideas of Expression. Be ready to discuss: Ratner's examples and the concept of musical affect, as it was understood in the early 18th century. distinctions between ecclesiastical, chamber, and theatre styles, and between high, middle, and low styles. Be ready to cite some some examples that illustrate how these distinctions would continue to be important in later music.

Chapter 2. Topics What is a musical topic, as Ratner explains it?

Short assignments: Write one page on a Classic/Romantic piece you find that utilizes a dance topic (or several in combination). Explain essential traits of the dance and explain how it is employed in the composition. Include one photocopied page from the score. Do the same with one (or several) of the style topics covered in Ratner's chapter 2.

  Robert S. Hatten. "A Theory of Musical Gesture and its Application to Beethoven and Schubert" in Music and Gesture, Ashgate (2006) ML3838.M9494 2006. (Blackboard)

Study questions for the Robert Hatten reading:

1. What does Hatten mean in his use of these terms:
     imagistic perception
     intermodal synthesis
     dialogical function of a gesture
     rhetorical gesture
     gestural troping

2. In the musical passages Hatten discusses, how do gestures help define topics? Have some clear examples in mind. Is topical analysis useful in the paper you are writing?

  Hatten chapter, Metaphor In Music, from Eero Tarasti, Musical Signification: Essay in the Semiotic Theory and Analysis of Music. (Blackboard)

  Raymond Monelle. The Musical Topic: Hunt, Military and Pastoral. (e-book)
     Browse through this book and be ready to report on one chapter.

Term paper

An analysis paper on a work of your choice, with instructor approval. Length: 8-10 pages. Include a bibliography of at least six sources that provide a foundation for analysis and historical perspective. One paragraph abstract with two sources due: Friday, April 8. Paper due: Friday, May 6.

V. Post-Tonal Repertoires

Basic Post-Tonal Theory. Modernism and Postmodernism

Joseph Straus . Introduction to Post-Tonal Theory. Chs 1 & 2. (Blackboard)
Reading: Joseph Straus. Remaking the Past, Ch 5, "Sonata Forms" (Blackboard)

Assignment: Analyze all three movements of the Bartok piano sonata (score on e-Reserve), following the Straus readings as a point of departure. What traditional forms does Straus reference in the three movements? What set types are prevalent in the motivic material? Consider also what we have learned about topic theory in tonal music. Can you identify any musical topics at work in this music?

Jonathan Kramer . "Postmodern Concepts of Musical Time," Indiana Theory Review 17/2 (fall 1996), 21-62. (Blackboard)

Edward T. Cone. "Stravinsky: The Progress of a Method" Perspectives in New Music 1/1 (Autumn, 1962), 18-26. (Blackboard)
Jann Pasler. "Debussy, Jeux: Playing with Time and Form, Nineteenth-Century Music, 1982. (e-Reserve)

More Readings (not required, at least for now): Schif (Carter), Koozin (Takemitsu)

VI. Minimalism

Tim Johnson. "Minimalism: Aesthetic, Style or Technique?" (e-Reserve)
     Rebecca Leydon. "Towards a Typology of Minimalist Tropes," Music Theory Online 8/4 (2002).

Class discussion on seleced pieces by John Adams (China Gates, El Nino, Death of Klinghoffer)

Short paper #2

A short analytical paper, about 4 pages in length. Choose a piece from the post-tonal repertoire for your paper. Your analysis should focus on a specific analytical topic that could illuminate the performance of a selected musical work. Begin by choosing a single movement for detailed study. As you study the piece, hone in on a particular analytical issue that you believe has bearing on interpretation of the work. Incorporate elements of the assigned readings and class discussion into your study. One-paragraph abstract due: Friday, April 22. Paper due: Friday, April 29.

Selected Reading List
on reserve in the Music Library

For a more comprehensive list of readings in analysis of pop music: Study questions and audio links.


Agawu, Kofi. Playing with Signs: A Semiotic Interpretation of Classic Music. Princeton University Press, 1991. ML3838.A317 1991

Beach, David. Advanced Schenkerian Analysis: Perspectives on Phrase Rhythm, Motive, and Form. Routledge, 2013.

Berry, Wallace. Musical Structure and Performance.  Yale University Press, 1989. MT6.B465M9 1989

Cadwallader, Allen and David Gagné. Analysis of Tonal Music: A Schenkerian Approach. Oxford University Press, 1998. MT6.C12 A53 1998

Cone, Edward T. Musical Form and Musical Performance. Norton, 1968. MT58 .C65

Epstein, David . Beyond Orpheus: Studies ion Musical Structure. MIT Press, 1980.  MT58 .E67 

__________. Shaping Time: Music, the Brain, and Performance. Schirmer Books, 1995. ML437 .E67 1995 

Everett, Walter , ed. Expression in Pop-Rock Music: A Collection of Critical and Analytical Essays. Garland, 2000. (Covach, Burns, Koozin, and others) ML3534 .E985 2000 

Hasty, Christopher. Meter as Rhythm. Oxford University Press, 1997. ML3850 .H37 1997

Hatten, Robert. Interpreting Musical Gestures, Topics, and Tropes: Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert.  Indiana University Press, 2004. ML3845 .H35 2004   

__________. Musical Meaning in Beethoven: Markedness, Correlation, and Interpretation.  Indiana University Press, 1994.  ML410.B4H28 1994    

Hepokoski, James and Warren Darcy. Elements of Sonata Theory: Norms, Types, and Deformations in the Late Eighteenth-Century Sonata. Oxford University Press, 2006. MT62 .H46 2006 (e-book)

Kerman, Joseph. Opera as Drama. University of California Press, 1988. ML3858.K4 1988 

Kopp, David. Chromatic Transformations in Nineteenth-Century Music. Cambridge University Press, 2002. MT50.K84 2002, UH E-Book 10069921

Krebs, Harald. Fantasy pieces: metrical dissonance in the music of Robert Schumann. Oxford Press, 1999. MT92.S24 K7 1999 

London, Justin. Hearing in Time: Psychological Aspects of Musical Meter. Oxford University Press, 2004.  ML3832 .L65 2004 

Meyer, Leonard B. Explaining Music. University of California Press, 1973. ML60.M616 E95 1978    

__________. The Spheres of Music. University of Chicago Press, 2000. ML60.M616S74 2000

McClary, Susan. Conventional Wisdom: The Content of Musical Form. University of California Press, 2000.  ML3795 .M35 2000, E-book 10053555

Middleton, Richard. Studying Popular Music. Open University Press, 1990. ML3470 .M5 1990 

Monelle, Raymond. The Musical Topic: Hunt, Military and Pastoral. Indiana University Press, 2006. (e-book)

Rahn, John. Basic Atonal Theory. Longman, 1980. MT40.R2   

Rothstein, William. Phrase Rhythm in Tonal Music. Schirmer Books, 1989 (out of print).  MT42.R84 1989 

Schachter, Carl. Unfoldings. Oxford University Press, 1999. MT6.S2824 U6 1999

Straus, Joseph . Introduction to Post-Tonal Theory (Prentice-Hall, 1990).  MT40.S96 1990      

__________. Remaking the Past: Musical Modernism and the Influence of the Tonal Tradition. Harvard University Press, 1990. ML197.S767 1990    

Selected Articles

Burkhart, Charles. “Mid-Bar Downbeat in Bach’s Keyboard Music.” Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 8 (1994): 3-26.

__________. “ Schenker’s Theory of Structural Levels and Musical Performance” in Aspects of Schenkerian Theory, ed. David Beach (Yale University Press, 1983), 95-112.

Cone, Edward T. "Stravinsky: The Progress of a Method" Perspectives in New Music 1/1 (Autumn, 1962), 18-26.

Graybill, Roger. “Towards a Pedagogy of Gestural Rhythm.” Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 4/1 (1990): 1-50.

Hatten, Robert. "Schubert the Progressive: The Role of Resonance and Gesture in the Piano Sonata," Integral 7 (1993), 38-81.

Kramer, Jonathan D. "Postmodern Concepts of Musical Time," Indiana Theory Review 17/2 (fall 1996), 21-62.

West Marvin, Elizabeth. “Integrating Music Theory Instruction into Studio Teaching,” College Music Society Newsletter, (November 1991).

Rowland, David. "Chopin's Tempo Rubato in Context" in Chopin Studies 2. John Rink and Jim Samson, eds, 1994.

Schachter, Carl. “Rhythm and Linear Analysis: A Preliminary Study.” Music Forum 4 (1976): 281-334.

__________. “20th Century Analysis and Mozart Performance,” Early Music 19/4 (November 1991), 620-626.