Class Activity, MUS 211 Fall 2016


In class activity:

Students were placed in three groups and each was assigned a short passage of music to analyze (all pieces had harmonic sequences, the topic of the day). Groups were left alone to work, and I observed that no group played their excerpt at the piano, and no group asked me to play it (or used a device to find a recording themselves).


After about 15 minutes, groups gave presentations to the class describing their analysis and the process they'd used to arrive at that analysis (see below for rough notes). At the start of each group's presentation, I played a recording of their piece (pointing out that no one had listened or played the pieces). As they talked through their examples and the choices they'd made, I asked groups to play their excerpt on the piano, and to compare that to what they heard and felt when they played idealized versions of the concept they were trying to find. Throughout the presentations, the whole class discussed the details that distinguished one sequence type from another.




process notes from class assignment on sequences (19.1 IIA 19.3C; 19.1IIB, 19.3A; 19.2IIA+B)


no one played it at the piano, no one asked to listen to it


group 1

1st excerpt:

identified correctly as a descending fifth sequence


looked at root of bass notes

identified bass notes on score

looked at bracket that was given

where did the model begin? 2nd measure, or first measure -- looked at the melodic pattern to see where it repeated, and then compared to harmonic structure since it should be 2 harmonies per model/copy


2nd excerpt:

identified incorrectly as a descending 3rds sequence


bass line descends by step

model starts at 18 or 20?

            - melody goes 7-6, 7-6, 7-6

            - m.18-19 root position, then 4/2 that doesn't repeat

through discussion realized that roots weren't consistent with desc.3rds; realized the 7-6 was correct



group 2

labeled letter names of roots of the chords (and also inversions)

decided 1st measure was the model because of melodic/harmonic pattern

looked at model to figure out what sequence type was

first thought it was seconds 'we saw there was a pattern of first inversion harmonies'

            but model should be only 1 chord, and this wasn't

looked at roots again and saw it was going up a fourth which equals down a fifth


(I made them play it at the piano to notice the root pattern; they recognized it aurally but weren't sure if it was Pachelbel's version, or the desc. 5ths they'd played earlier; they looked at their hands and saw the 5ths)


group 3

looked at bass line roots

thought it was desc.3rd first

moving descending scale

every other root was a third, but the inversions are all first inversion so it has to be desc.2nd


down a fourth up a second = desc.thirds