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MUS101: Introduction to Music

Unit 3: Musical Structure   This unit deals with formal elements of design—the shape, arrangement, relationship, or organization of the various elements of music.  Building on the basics of melody, harmony, and rhythm from Unit 1, we begin with a common variety of harmonic progressions—bass patterns consisting of simple chord progressions.  As we will see in musical examples taken from Mozart, Beethoven, the Beach Boys, the Dave Matthews Band, and Justin Timberlake, composers from both the classical and popular music worlds draw on the same bass patterns.  By analyzing longer works, we examine the large-scale forms used in popular and classical music: verse-chorus, sonata-allegro, fugue, and theme and variations form.  We will briefly explore the manifestations of some of these forms in literature, painting, and other disciplines.  This unit will end with a review of all the forms discussed in the lectures and readings.

Unit 3 Time Advisory
This unit should take about 14 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 3.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 3.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 3.3: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 3.4: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 3.5: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 3.6: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.7: 1.5 hours

☐    Assignments: 2 hours

Unit3 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Describe the phenomenon of texture, or the density and organization of musical colors.
  • Identify basic forms, or the arrangement of musical ideas, in music, including ternary, theme and variations, and rondo form.

  • Assignment: The Saylor Foundation’s “MUS101 Unit 3: Vocabulary Worksheet” and “MUS101 Unit 3 Learning Journal” Links: The Saylor Foundation’s “MUS101 Unit 3: Vocabulary Worksheet” (PDF) and “MUS101 Unit 3 Learning Journal” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Before you read this unit, refer to the MUS101 Unit 3 Vocabulary Worksheet and the MUS101 Unit 3 Learning Journal.  Please fill out both as you complete the unit. 

3.1 Bass Patterns   - Lecture: Yale University: Professor Craig Wright’s “Bass Patterns: Blues and Rock” Link: Yale University: Professor Craig Wright’s “Bass Patterns: Blues and Rock” (Adobe Flash, QuickTime or Audio mp3)
 
Instructions: Listen to the lecture (mp3) or view the video via Flash or QuickTime (approximately 48 minutes) to learn how to listen for bass patterns in order to understand harmonic progressions.  Professor Wright presents numerous musical examples from both popular music and classical music, showing the way that composers from both realms draw on the same chord progressions.  The musical examples are taken from Mozart, Beethoven, Rossini, Wagner, Gene Chandler, the Beach Boys, Badly Drawn Boy, the Dave Matthews Band, and Justin Timberlake.
 
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3.2 Introducing Form in Music   - Reading: Connexions: Anthony Brandt’s “Musical Form” Link: Connexions: Anthony Brandt’s “Musical Form” (HTML and Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please read both sections on music form: “Grasping the Whole Composition” and “Labeling the Parts,” as well as the conclusion.  Click on the links to hear the musical examples in Flash, and try to solve the problems by clicking choice A or B.   Listening for musical form is hearing the “big picture” of a piece of music.  Students learn to experience a musical composition as divided into sections, which Brandt compares to the layout of a city divided into neighborhoods.  In an A-type form, the focus is on continuity; in an A/B-type, the focus is on contrast. To access the PDF version of this article, click “Download” on the top right corner of the page.
 
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  • Web Media: Connexions: Anthony Brandt’s “Listening Gallery: Musical Form” Link: Connexions: Anthony Brandt’s “Listening Gallery: Musical Form” (Flash Audio)
     
    Instructions: In these five problems testing what you have learned about musical form, you will have the opportunity to label each section in a given musical form within compositions by Chopin, Schumann, and other composers, as well as to check your answers.  Note that you must have Flash player on your computer in order to complete these exercises.
     
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  • Web Media: Teoria.com: J. Rodríguez Alvira’s “Musical Forms: Binary Form and Ternary Form” Link: Teoria.com: J. Rodríguez Alvira’s “Musical Forms: Binary Form and Ternary Form” (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: Click on the tabs at left to view the analyses of binary, ternary, and compound ternary forms (minuet), and listen to each of the musical examples illustrating these forms.
     
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3.3 Sonata Allegro Form   - Web Media: Teoria.com: J. Rodríguez Alvira’s “Musical Forms: Sonata Form” Link: Teoria.com: J. Rodríguez Alvira’s “Musical Forms: Sonata Form” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Read the text and then click on the red right-facing arrow to move on to the next page.  On this next page, you will see an animated diagram of classical sonata form.   Press the play button to hear a sample of Daniel Veesey’s performance of Beethoven’s Sonata op. 49, number 2 in G major.
 
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  • Lecture: Yale University: Professor Craig Wright’s “Lecture 9: Sonata-Allegro Form in Mozart and Beethoven” Link: Yale University: Professor Craig Wright’s “Lecture 9: Sonata-Allegro Form in Mozart and Beethoven” (Adobe Flash, QuickTime or Audio mp3)
     
    Instructions: Please listen to the lecture (mp3) or view the video via Flash or QuickTime (approximately 50 minutes) for a foray into the formal characteristics of contemporary popular music.  After a discussion of the "verse-chorus" form often used in popular music, Professor Wright proceeds to take students into the realm of classical music, focusing particularly on ternary form and sonata-allegro form.  Throughout his detailed explanation of sonata-allegro form, he also elaborates upon some harmonic concepts describing, for example, the relationship between relative major and minor keys.  This lecture draws its musical examples from 'N Sync, Mozart, and Beethoven.
     
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3.4 Theme and Variations   - Lecture: Yale University: Professor Craig Wright’s “Lecture 10: Sonata-Allegro and Theme and Variations” Link: Yale University: Professor Craig Wright’s “Lecture 10: Sonata-Allegro and Theme and Variations” (Adobe Flash, QuickTime or Audio mp3)
 
Instructions:  Please listen to the lecture (mp3) or watch the video in QuickTime or Flash in its entirety (approximately 50 minutes).  Professor Wright delves into sonata-allegro form in some depth in this lecture.  He focuses especially on characterizing four types of music found within a sonata: thematic, transitional, developmental, and cadential.  He then moves on to discuss a different form, theme and variations, which is accomplished through the use of examples from Beethoven's and Mozart's compositions.  Professor Wright and guest artist Kensho Watanabe then conclude the lecture by demonstrating a set of theme and variations through a live performance of Arcangelo Corelli's La Folia.
 
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  • Assignment: Duke University’s “Theme and Variation Assignment” Link: Duke University’s “Theme and Variation Assignment” (mp3)

    Instructions: Please note this assignment is optional and is designed to challenge advanced students.  Four sample files of variations on the French folksong "Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman" are provided here, with an assignment for students to compose themes to a similarly structured piece.  Please follow the assignment instructions on the webpage.

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3.5 Rondo Form   - Reading: Teoria.com: J. Rodríguez Alvira’s “Musical Forms: Rondo Form” Link: Teoria.com: J. Rodríguez Alvira’s “Musical Forms: Rondo Form” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Read the text to see an animated diagram of classical rondo form and then use the red right-facing arrow to move on to the next webpage.  Then, click on the play button in the box to hear an example of rondo form—Jean-Philippe Rameau’s keyboard piece La Joyeuse.
 
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3.6 Fugue   - Lecture: Yale University: Professor Craig Wright’s “Lecture 13: Fugue: Bach, Bizet, and Bernstein.” Link: Yale University: Professor Craig Wright’s “Lecture 13: Fugue: Bach, Bizet, and Bernstein” (Adobe Flash, QuickTime or Audio mp3)
 
Instructions: Please listen to the lecture (mp3) or watch the video in Quick Time or Flash in its entirety (approximately 47 minutes).  In this lecture, Professor Wright briefly explores the manifestations of the fugue form in poetry, painting, and other disciplines, and then gives a detailed explanation of how fugues are put together in music.  Though he uses excerpts by composers as disparate as Georges Bizet and Leonard Bernstein to illustrate his points, he draws his main musical examples from J.S. Bach.
 
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3.7 Ostinato Form   - Lecture: Yale University: Professor Craig Wright’s Lecture 14: “Ostinato Form in the Music of Purcell, Pachelbel, Elton John, and Vitamin C.” Link: Yale University: Professor Craig Wright’s Lecture 14: “Ostinato Form in the Music of Purcell, Pachelbel, Elton John, and Vitamin C” (Adobe Flash, QuickTime or Audio mp3)
 
Instructions: Please listen to the lecture (mp3) or watch the video in Quick Time or Flash in its entirety (approximately 48 minutes).  This lecture begins with a review of all the musical forms previously discussed in class: sonata-allegro, rondo, theme and variations, and fugue.  Professor Wright then moves on to discuss the final form that will be taught in this course: the ostinato or persistently repeating pattern in music.  With the aid of music by Pachelbel, Purcell, and a few popular artists, Professor Wright shows the multitude of ways in which the ostinato bass has been used throughout the past several centuries.
 
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