Music theory: introduction to score reading & analysis
Time: 18:30 - 20:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
This course has now started
Course Code: MG446C
Duration: 10 sessions (over 11 weeks)
What is the course about?
Through study of musical scores and sound recordings, develop your understanding of harmony, counterpoint, form, and interpretation in relation to Beethoven’s incredibly broad output, drawing on concepts from key music theorists, past and present. This course is suitable for students with roughly Grade-6 level music-theory skills; it will also explore harmonic material from the grade 7 and 8 music theory syllabus, referring to diatonic harmony in chord symbols, figured bass (eg. Chord ii6/5 in F major), intervals (e.g. major seventh), and basic species counterpoint, as well as phrasing, mood and texture. Study of stylistic characteristics will also aid you in identifying stylistic periods in post Grade-5 ABRSM performance exams.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- Rhythmic and melodic characteristics
- Understanding musical textures and how Beethoven exploits them
- Understanding tonality and its Beethovenian context: especially in terms of structure (eg. Sonata form)
- Background social and cultural context for changes and developments across the selected works
- Pianistic effects e.g., dynamics, expression, developments in organology (instrument building)
List of studied works:
Piano Trio Op. 1/2 (mvt ii)
Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 2/1 (mvt i)
Piano Sonata, No. 17, Op. 31/2
Violin Sonata No. 9, Op. 47
Piano Sonata No. 21, Op. 53 Waldstein (mvt i)
Symphony No. 3, Op. 55 (mvt i)
Leonore Overture No. 2, Op. 74
Egmont Overture, Op. 84
Missa Solemnis, Op. 123
String Quartet Op. 132 (mvt i).
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Identify the style period of a piece of music from key features in the score
- Identify the style period of a piece of music through aural analysis
- Have more confidence differentiating the different elements of music (rhythm, phrasing, tonality, dynamics, etc.)
- Have a broader understanding of piano and multi-instrumental scores and typical notational signs of Beethoven’s period
- Have greater confidence with the harmonic terminology of the ABRSM grade 6 theory syllabus.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
Suitable for anyone with knowledge of music theory at around Grade 6 standard or higher. You will need to be able to read music fluently (treble and bass clef) and have confidence with the structure of major and minor scales and chords (e.g. do you know what is meant by chord Vc in G major? And can you recognise a passing 6-4?).
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will be taught through tutor explanation, listening to recordings, studying and annotating scores, and class discussion.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
All scores will be sourced from IMSLP.org and links will be posted on google classroom for you to download your own copies. You will need to access these on your own laptop/tablet between classes. There will also be class handouts/notes provided in google classroom.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
This course is an excellent introduction to score reading for anyone studying music theory at higher levels (Grade 7 and above. You may wish to progress to higher-level Music Theory classes, Studies in counterpoint, Composition Techniques etc.
For more details about musicianship and music theory please visit our blog: Musicianship and music theory at City lit which lists our full sequence of musicianship and music theory classes.
To find out more about music history classes Music history courses in London and online which lists our full programme of classes ordered by term, and by day of the week. You may then click on each title to read the full course outline.
Oliver is a music analyst and guitarist. As well as teaching at CityLit, he is College Lecturer in Music at Keble College, University of Oxford, and a Visiting Lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London; he has previously worked at Anglia Ruskin, Goldsmiths, and King's College London. His published work has focussed on Elgar's late chamber music and early British serialism; it has appeared in journals such as _Music Theory Online_ and _Music & Letters_. He is currently finishing a monograph on the twelve-tone guitar music commissioned by, or dedicated to, Julian Bream; he is also co-authoring a further two books, on the music theories of Hugo Riemann and the music of Stephen Dodgson, respectively.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.