MUS31350 Formal Analysis

Academic Year 2023/2024

*** Not available in the academic year indicated above ***

Seeking to understand musical structure can be one of the most deeply rewarding and illuminating ways to engage with music. Analysis of this type can enrich performance work, composition, and other kinds of musicological investigation. The purpose of this module is to provide tools for the analysis of musical structure, and to encourage and support the honing of analytical skills. The module is delivered in two parts. The first unit focuses on the formal models germane to late 18th-century and 19th-century Western art music, moving from theoretical frameworks towards musical exemplars. The second unit considers a diverse range of musical forms encountered in 20th- and 21st-century repertoires, beginning with discussion of case studies and reaching for theoretical frameworks as needed to aid analysis.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Students should be able to:
• define and recognise fundamental musical forms relevant to Western art music;
• engage in articulate formal analysis of substantial pieces of Western art music;
• discuss different aspects of musical structure across a range of diverse musical types;
• make a persuasive analytical study of a chosen piece of music, drawing upon diverse theoretical models as needed.

Indicative Module Content:

Unit 1: Analysis of form in late 18th-century and 19th-century Western art music
• review of conventional theme types
• sonata forms
• other full movement forms

Unit 2: Analysis of form in 20th-century and early 21st-century Western musics
• post-tonal forms
• atonal & sonoristic forms
• blues & song forms

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning




Seminar (or Webinar)




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Discussion-based seminars.
Reflective learning.
Critical writing.
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: Take home exam: analytical mark-up of a previously unseen score with an accompanying analytical commentary (1500 words).
Week 6 Yes Graded No


Essay: Essay: independent analytical study (3000 words), choosing one from a selection of set essay questions, each of which addresses a different issue arising in the second unit. Week 12 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Name Role
Ms Maddie Kavanagh Clarke Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.

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