Class Activity, MUS 211 Fall 2016


Students were given the prompt: "What advice would you give next year's students about the best way to analyze music?"


Summary of Responses:

Everyone recognized that there were steps to analysis (even the resistant student 1)


Of 9 responses . . .

6 mentioned looking for different concepts at different times

5 mentioned listening

3 mentioned coming to class

2 mentioned playing

2 mentioned revising or deepening previous work

1 mentioned asking peers for help (tutors and classmates)


Individual Responses

student 1

show up to class

know how to do music theory

that's pretty much it



student 2

listen to it a few times, sometimes with the score, sometimes without

mark where things stand out (modulation, etc.)

Roman numeral analysis

listen again and follow along with RN

contextual analysis

listen again



student 3

listen to the piece you are analyzing

show up (ON TIME) to class

give yourself time to spread the work out [as in, do small chunks over many days, I think]

always remember to write the key when writing Roman Numerals

check for accidentals and voice leading errors before you get too far


student 4

find out the key (look for accidentals that either indicate passing tones or leading tones to indicate minor)

circle other accidentals that might be chords out of the key

find Roman numerals

Listen to the song/piece if available? or try to play the chords on a keyboard or piano

Look at sequences, phrase structure, or repeating parts (melody can help recognize when parts come back)

note what you found/if there's anything worth talking about


student 5

show up to class to understand concepts and have a grasp on how to do the homework

utilize tutors in the piano lab, if/when necessary

listen to the pieces -- makes it easier to ID Materials 3 concepts (modulation, tonicization, phrases, sequences, structure)

talk through homework with friends to bounce off ideas and get a better understanding (don't copy though)


student 6

write out every note name

see where the weak and strong beats are

see what note is in the bass

see if there are accidentals

find the chord

effective if you can't see the notes right away, otherwise there is probably a quicker way


student 7

start with finding key

break it up into small chunks

select structure chords, take inverted chords into what they would be in root position

after Roman Numeral analysis, look for phrases, sentence structures, etc.

double check work


student 8

listen to the music on Naxos: hear key/sequences/chord progressions

mark on the score while listening

play out difficult chords/sequences

label keys/leading tones/non chord tones

label cadences

mark Roman numerals

finally add contextual analysis and check if you hear these progressions in the music


student 9

The best way to approach analysis is to take it step by step. The first thing to do is to recognize the key. With that begin a Roman Numeral analysis. After that, try to label some kind of progression for example tonic-predominant-dominant-tonic. Then using that try to decipher the phrasing. Once phrasing is figured out try to see if it fits part of a larger piece for example to figure out if the excerpt is a period or sentence. Even with just this amount of information is enough to make a detailed analysis.