Music theory: introduction to score reading and analysis

Course Dates: 22/09/21 - 01/12/21
Time: 18:30 - 20:00
Location: Online
Learn to navigate music scores and analyse basic structures. Learn to identify stylistic characteristics of music from different periods of music history, suitable for developing your understanding of music in its historical context, and to support the style identification elements of grade 5+ ABRSM exams.
NB: this course has a scheduled break on 27th October 2021
tutor: Dr Oliver Chandler [external website].
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Book your place
In stock
Full fee £159.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £97.00

This course has now started

Course Code: MG446A

Started Wed, eve, 22 Sep - 01 Dec '21

Duration: 10 sessions (over 11 weeks)

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2630

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

Through study of scores and listening to recordings develop your understanding of the stylistic hallmarks of musical styles and periods in Western classical music. Learn the key features of Baroque, Classical, Romantic and/or 20th Century musical periods and develop confidence in differentiating between styles and key composers (which forms an important strand of the Grade 6+ theory exams).

Extracts from the following pieces will be studied in this term's course:
- Strozzi: cantata L'Eraclito amoroso
- Handel: two arias from 'Orlando'
- Vivaldi: violin concerto in G
- Bach: Prelude and Fugue in C minor, BWV 847
- Haydn: Symphony 88 first movement
- Mozart: Piano concerto K488 1st movement
- Beethoven: Egmont, Op. 84
- Farrenc: Nonet op.38.

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.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

- Rhythmic and melodic characteristics from the different style periods
- Understanding musical textures and how they evolved over music history
- Understanding tonality and its context within different style periods: especially in terms of structure (eg. Sonata form)
- Background social and cultural context for changes and developments in musical styles
- Developments in instrumentation and the effect on other elements of music, e.g. dynamics, expression.

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 instruments in historical contexts
- Have greater confidence with style identification questions in ABRSM theory and aural exams.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is intended to bridge between music theory: grade5 and music theory: grade 6. It will consolidate basic figured bass, clefs, transposing instruments, harmonic progressions and cadences learned at grade 5 level by identifying them in set pieces.
Suitable for anyone with knowledge of music theory at Grade 5 standard or higher. You will need to be able to read music fluently (treble and bass clef) and have some confidence with the structure of major and minor scales and chords (e.g. do you know what is meant by chord I and chord V in G major?).

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

This is an online course:
Sessions will be held via video-conference (Zoom) and comprise combinations of lecture, discussion, quizzes, guided listening, video and score study. Course materials (handouts, scores, links to online videos) will be shared via google classroom.
You will be encouraged to do extra reading outside class.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Please bring a pencil and eraser for annotating the scores provided by the tutor, and some manuscript paper.
Many scores will be sourced from and links will be posted on google classroom. So you may work with your own laptop/tablet if you prefer or use the printed handouts in class.

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 5 and above. You may wish to progress to higher-level Music Theory classes, Studies in counterpoint, Composition Techniques etc. You may also be interested in City Lit's Music history courses, or one of our wide variety of practical courses in singing or playing an instrument.

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.

Oliver Chandler

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.